How to sum last n columns in Excel

In this article, we will learn How to sum last n columns in Excel.


In simple words, while working with long values in dataset. Sometimes given a condition i.e. when we need to get the sum of the last 5 or n numbers from the column. You can perform the solution to this problem easily using the excel functions as explained below.

How to solve the problem?

For this article we will be required to use the SUM function & INDEX function. Now we will make a formula out of these functions. Here we are given a range and the value of n. We need to find the SUM of the range from last n columns from the range.

Generic formula:

= SUM ( INDEX ( ( data , 0 , COLUMNS (data) - ( n - 1 ) ) : INDEX ( data , 0 , COLUMNS (data)) )

data : range of values where sum is calculated

n : value of n to get the last n number of columns


All of these might be confusing to understand. So, let's test this formula via running it on the example shown below.

Here we have some data of numbers and we need  to find the sum of the data from the last 4 columns using the above explained formula.

Firstly,  we need to find the values corresponding to the text values, extract numerical values and then sum operation be performed over those values. Now we will use the following formula to get the sum.

Use the Formula:

= SUM ( INDEX ( ( data , 0 , COLUMNS (data) - ( J12 - 1 ) ) : INDEX ( data , 0 , COLUMNS (data)) )


  • COLUMNS (data) returns the number of columns in the data which is 10  And COLUMNS(data) - (4-1) returns 7 as result which shortens the formula to = SUM ( INDEX (data,0,8) : INDEX(data,0,10))
  • Now INDEX function extracts all the values of the given argument column num.
  • " : " this operator makes the values into array range from the column index.
  • SUM function gets the array range from the required column to the last column and  performs the sum operation over those values and returns the sum as shown below.

Here the table array and value of n is given as named range and cell reference as shown in the above image.

As you can see in the above snapshot that sum of { 54 , 69 , 56 , 50 ; 92 , 54 , 51 , 30 ; 69 , 51 , 30 , 30 } comes out to be 636.

You can check the results in the snapshot given below.

Now we will perform the formula over a list of numbers instead of a table for given different values of n.

Use the Formula for the list1:

= SUM ( INDEX ( ( list1 , 0 , COLUMNS (list1) - ( M6 - 1 ) ) : INDEX ( list1 , 0 , COLUMNS (list1)) )

The sum of the last 3 values from the range comes out to be 175. Now for the last 5 values and lst 8 values. Now copy the formula into other cells using the Ctrl + D or dragging down the cell option in excel.

As you can see in the above snapshot we obtained all the sum by extracting from the last n columns.

Here are some observational notes shown below.


  1. The formula only works with numbers.
  2. The COLUMNS function returns a number as col_index.
  3. The INDEX function takes 0 as an argument to get the return all values in the column.
  4. Value of n cannot be greater than the number of columns in the table.
  5. The list array length must be of the same as the code length else the function.

Hope this article about How to sum last n columns in Excel is explanatory. Find more articles on SUMPRODUCT functions here. Please share your query below in the comment box. 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 us at

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