How To Add in Google Sheets [Easy Guide]

Using Google Sheets is the way to go when you have to deal with numbers — it’s useful too, even if you just want to add a couple of numbers. And more often than not, it’s a lot more convenient to use than your calculator app.

If you’re just beginning to integrate Google Sheets into your projects and want to find a quick way to add some of your digits, you’re indeed on the right page. Follow along as we explore two easy methods on how to add in Google Sheets with step-by-step guides.

Method 1: Basic Google Sheets Add Equation

You can use your spreadsheets as you would a calculator, quite literally. Recalling arithmetic basics, we have the plus sign (+) as one of the most common mathematical operators, which we can use to add numbers in Google Sheets.

Here’s what you can do:

  1. To get started, select a cell on your spreadsheet
  2. Next, put an equal sign (=) and type a number (one of your addends)
  3. After that, place a plus sign and input your second number
  4. Your addition equation should look something like this
using plus sign to add in google sheets
  1. Finally, hit the Enter or Return key once you’re done, and you should see the sum on your selected cell.
results of addition formula in google sheets

While this method is easy, typing the numbers manually as you’re creating your basic addition equation is prone to human error. Notice that you won’t be able to see the two numbers that you’ve entered prior to the sum.

This prevents visual ease in finding which part of your equation is wrong. For example, you intended to sum up 520 and 143, but you happened to type 529 instead. So, quite apparently, you’re bound to see a wrong result.

How To Add Cells Together in Google Sheets

To solve such a potential issue in the first method, you can try inputting the two numbers you want to add in separate cells. Then, you can start making your addition equation.

Here’s how to do it:

  1. On the first cell, put your first addend
  2. Then, select another cell and place the second addend
  3. Next, click another cell and put something following this syntax: =B2+C2
adding two cells using plus sign
  1. After that, press Enter or Return to see your results

Your sum would automatically change as you modify the addends entered on your cells. This way, not only did you create a pretty fool-proof formula, but you also made an automatic calculator.

Method 2: The Google Sheets ADD Formula

Another way to sum up your numbers is to use the ADD formula. It’s no different from using the addition operator, but it can enhance your data’s consistency and integrity. On top of that, it also ensures that you use the right operator, especially when the minus sign (-) is just beside the plus sign on a standard QWERTY computer keyboard.

Basic Syntax and How to Use It

The addition formula in Google Sheets uses the following syntax:

=ADD(value1, value2)

Notice that this function only accepts two arguments, which are simply the two values that you want to add. Here’s how you use it.

  1. First, select a cell and type =ADD( in it
  2. Next, type your first number, such as 214, and insert a comma after
  3. Input your second number, like 38 in this example, and close the function with a parenthesis
adding two numbers using add function
  1. After that, toggle the Enter or Return key, and you should see your results

Alternatively, you can also add two cells instead of raw values for better value integrity. Just ensure to put your addends in two separate cells and use them as your arguments. For example, you can type =ADD(B2, C2) instead of entering =ADD(214, 38).

adding two cells using add function

How to Add in Google Sheets Using the ADD Function via the Functions Menu

Another way you can use the ADD function is through the Functions menu that you will see on the toolbar of Google Sheets. It’s located at the rightmost position beside the Create a Filter button.

To use the ADD Function on Google Sheets, simply follow the steps below:

  1. First, click on a cell anywhere on your spreadsheet
  2. Next, toggle the Functions button and locate Operator
  3. Hover over the Operator option to display all functions under it
  4. Then, locate the ADD function and click on it
using add function in the function menu
  1. Input your two addends and ensure to separate them with a comma
example of add function
  1. After that, hit Enter or Return, and you’re done.

Limitations of the Google Spreadsheet Addition Formula

As you may have observed, the ADD function is a built-in formula that comes with a couple of limitations. The most noticeable one is that it can only accept two arguments, which can hinder your goals in case you want to add more than two values.

This function also limits the types of arguments — it only accepts numbers — that you can enter. Since it rejects other inputs like cell ranges (e.g., A1:A3), it becomes unsuitable for adding up a column in Google Sheets.

Instead, you can try the manual input of the plus sign and selection of the cells you want to add one by one, like =A1+A2+A3+…+A[N]. Alternatively, you may also want to try the more versatile SUM function.

What Is the SUM Function and How Does It Differ from ADD?

If you’re looking for easy methods on how to add up a row in Google Sheets, you may find the SUM function useful. It’s a predefined formula in Google Sheets that accepts more than two numbers and ranges, which makes it much more powerful than the ADD function. It uses the following syntax.

        =SUM(value1, [value2, ...])

For better visualization, here’s an example of how to add up a row in Google Sheets using the SUM function.

  1. To get started, click on a cell and type =SUM(
  2. Next, select your cell range, such as B2:E2, and close the function with a parenthesis
example of sum function in google sheets
  1. Finally, press Enter or Return, and you’ll see your results

The SUM function also accepts a maximum of 30 arguments, as per Google’s documentation about it. By arguments, we mean the values separated by a comma. If you prefer, you can use it to your advantage by selecting multiple ranges, e.g., =SUM(A1:A5, B1:B5, C1:C5).

Can You Add Strings of Text in Google Sheets?

If you’re thinking of combining two pieces of text into one value using the addition operator or the ADD function, expect Google Sheets to prompt you for the wrong formula. This is because it doesn’t work like Python, a coding language that allows you to add two strings with a plus sign.

Instead, you may want to check out the CONCAT and CONCATENATE functions when thinking of combining texts in a spreadsheet. Then, read our full-blown tutorial on How to Append Text to Each Cell in a Column in Google Sheets to know more about adding strings.

Wrapping Up

We hope we have answered your question about how to add in Google Sheets thoroughly. From simply using the plus operator to the ADD function, you can now sum up your numbers without trouble.

For more Google Sheets tips and tricks, don’t forget to browse our other blogs too.

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Emma Collins

Emma Collins

Emma Collins is a tech writer for Spreadsheet Point. She's been writing tech tutorials & how-to guides on Windows, Android, iOS, Social Media, Data Recovery, Cybersecurity, Gaming, and more as a tech writer for over 6 years. You can find her work on many established tech websites, including Productivity Spot,, MakeUseOf, Help Desk Geek, Online Tech Tips, HandyRecovery, Cleverfiles, and more.
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