As you analyze your data in a worksheet, one common task is to look for ways to simplify the amount of data need to work with. One way to do this is to “merge” several consecutive cells together in an Excel worksheet, leaving only the sum of the original cells as a value. For instance, if you have values in the range B3:F3, how would you collapse the range into a single cell that contains just the sum of that range?
The easiest way I have found to accomplish this task is as follows:
- Select the cell just to the right of the range you want to collapse. (In the above example, you would select cell G3.)
- In this cell, enter a SUM formula that adds up the range. For instance, the cell could contain the formula =SUM(B3:F3).
- Copy this formula down to other cells, if necessary.
- Select all the cells that contain the SUM formula.
- Press Ctrl+C to copy the cells to the Clipboard. The cells should all still be selected.
- Make sure the Home tab of the ribbon is displayed.
- Click the down-arrow under the Paste tool (at the left side of the ribbon) and choose Paste Special from the resulting drop-down list. Excel displays the Paste Special dialog box. (See Figure 1.)
- Make sure the Values option is chosen.
- Click on OK.
- Delete the original range of cells. (For example, B3:F3.)
Figure 1. The Paste Special dialog box.
When you clicked the down-arrow under the Paste tool (in step 7), you may have noticed a number of different choices you could make. If you don’t want to display the Paste Special dialog box, you could instead click the Values option in the Paste Values section of the drop-down list. The Values option is the left-most option in the Paste Values section; it looks like a clipboard with the number 123 on it.