Create SUBTOTAL Formulas with the AutoSum Button or Keyboard Shortcut

Bottom line: Learn how to use the AutoSum feature and keyboard shortcut to create SUBTOTAL formulas.

Skill level: Beginner

Use AutoSum to Create SUBTOTAL Formulas in Excel

AutoSum Typically Creates SUM Formulas

Excel's AutoSum feature is a great shortcut that automatically creates a formula with the SUM function.  It's pretty smart at figuring out the range we want to sum up.  We can select a blank cell below a column of data, press the AutoSum button, and the entire formula will be created for us.  Huge time saver!

AutoSum Typically Creates a SUM formula in Excel

AutoSum also works by selecting a blank cell to the right of a row of data.

The keyboard shortcut is Alt+=.  Hold down the Alt key and press the equal sign.

How to use AutoSum to Create SUBTOTAL Formulas

We can also use the AutoSum feature to create formulas with the SUBTOTAL function.

Auto Subtotal with AutoSum Feature in Excel

The trick is to first apply a filter to the column that you want to subtotal.

AutoSum Create SUBTOTAL Formula with Filters Applied

Here are the steps:

  1. Apply a filter to the range.
  2. Select a cell in the column or the blank cell below the filtered range.
  3. Press the AutoSum button or keyboard shortcut (Alt+=).  The SUBTOTAL formula will be automatically inserted in the cell.
  4. Press Enter.

The range reference in the SUBTOTAL formula will include all the cells in the column of the filtered range, even if they are hidden by the filter.

Auto Subtotal Shortcut Top and Bottom Rows Included

The advantage of using the SUBTOTAL formula is that is only displays the calculation (sum) of the visible rows.  It allows us to quickly see the sum, average, count, min, max, etc. of the visible rows after filters are applied.

Checkout my article on the Excel SUBTOTAL function for more details.  I also have an article on how to create a SUBTOTAL summary report with a macro.

If you are using Excel Tables, then you don't have to worry about this because the Total Row uses the SUBTOTAL function by default.  When you press the AutoSum button or keyboard shortcut in the Total Row of a Table, the SUBTOTAL function will be created.  Checkout my article on how to sum all columns in the Total Row of a Table.  I also have a video on a beginner's guide to Excel Tables.

This is a bonus tip from my Excel Pro Tips eBook.  The eBook is a free download, so make sure you grab a copy.

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  • This is actually awesome on my database I created on excel. With my losses register I can now efficiently subtotal on my types on losses and amounts.


  • I am also know This shortcut key. But you explained so good. I’m so happy because i am touch you.

  • Sir I have 100 ledgers in excel I want to sum of all ledgers in one click can this is possible?
    Plz sir I am waiting of your answer thanx

    • Imran Ali,
      I have no affiliation with Jon or Excel Campus, but I’d assume anyone who wants to help you would need additional information. Are all the “ledgers” in one file? When you say you want to sum them in one click, what do you mean exactly? So you need a consolidated (the resulting sum of the 100 ledgers) as a new sheet in your worksheet or in a new file?. If that is what you want, and if you still need help, I can help you so please reply to this posting with more information.

  • Jon, with your lessons, I’ve been able to convert my worksheets to automatically update each month, as soon as I load the new information. The PROBLEM with your lessons is that, even though I’ve been given additional assignments, I am BORED OUT OF MY MIND while at work!!

  • I am looking for a Auto Sum to add the subtotals in the column. I set it somehow by happy accident once. Now, I need that function and cannot find it. Should work like a grand total on a calculator. Do you have any idea? Please. Thanks

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