How to consolidate lists in Excel

In this article, we will learn How to consolidate lists in Excel.

Why Consolidate?

Whenever we have the same type of data over different sheets. Like Add all the Daily amounts of milk, coffee and tea to get the total of all amounts having milk, coffee and tea. Consolidate means to join things together into one. So consolidate the whole data using Consolidate in excel.

Consolidate in Excel

Select the new sheet where you need the consolidated data be. Then Go to Data > Consolidate.

Choose the aggregate function > select and add all data reference > Tick Top row & Left label > Click Ok.

Example :

All of these might be confusing to understand. Let's understand how to use the function using an example. Here we have products data from different categories having sales, quantity and Profit. We need to sum all sales, quantity and profit for all three sheets.

Sheet1 :

Sheet2 :

Sheet3 :

These tables are named as data1, data2 and data3 as seen clearly from the top left Name box. Use this for efficient use of consolidating tables

Now we use the consolidate option. Insert a new sheet And Go to Data > Consolidate.

Consolidate dialog box appears.


Choose the Function from the list. List has Sum, Count, Average, Max, Min, Stdev, Var to calculate the fields. Here we choose SUM function.

In the Reference box, select the table and click Add to merge it. If using named ranges, just type data1 > Add > type data2 > Add > type data3 > Add.

Similarly add all data in sheet1, sheet2, sheet3 one by one. Tick the top row box, tick the left column box and tick Create link to source data box.

Now click Ok to get the whole sum sales, quantity and Profit based on Category column.

This is Level of grouped data. Switch to Level 2 for detailed sum.

As you can see clearly the SUM of values with different categories. Isn't it easy. Selecting all data by reference may be hectic. So just name the table as data1, data2 and data3 as used in the explained example.

You can also use the SUMIF function. It works with one criteria and SUM values based on the criteria. But Consolidate option allows user to choose from various aggregate function

Here are all the observational notes using the formula in Excel
Notes :

  1. Use the named ranges to add data. Like dataset1, dataset2, dataset3 and goes on.
  2. The Consolidate option sometimes throws an error. So check and follow the steps again to get the result
  3. You can aggregate functions like SUM, COUNT, AVERAGE, MAX, MIN, PRODUCT, STDEV and VAR functions. Select any one from the function list.
  4. If we don't check the Top row and Left column in the Consolidate option, Excel sums all cells that have the same position. This is only important when the selected references are not in order. we want Excel to sum cells that have the same labels.

Hope this article about How to use the ... function in Excel is explanatory. Find more articles on calculating values and related Excel formulas here. If you liked our blogs, share it with your friends on Facebook. And also you can follow us on Twitter and Facebook. We would love to hear from you, do let us know how we can improve, complement or innovate our work and make it better for you. Write to us at

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