How to Sum Values In a Range Specified By Indirect Cell References in Excel

In this article, we will learn How to Sum Values In a Range Specified By Indirect Cell References in Excel.

Sum values in specific part of range 

Cell reference and array reference is the most common usage for an excel user. It means picking up the value using the cell address so as to just change the value in the cell to get the new result. For example if you need to find the sum of the first 20 numbers in column A, you would use =SUM(A1:A120) . Now if you need for next 20. You have to edit the whole formula. Now you know the INDIRECT function which will help you understand the efficient use excel formula.

SUM formula in Excel

=SUM( INDIRECT ( "A"&B1&":A"&B2 )


  • "A"&B1  matches the values in Column A from the value referred by cell B1 which is 2 using the indirect function.
  •  ":A"&B2  matches the values in Column A upto the value referred by cell B2 which is 5 using the indirect function.
  • Sum function sums the value from 2nd to 5th values in Column A.

Example :

All of these might be confusing to understand. Let's first understand how to use the INDIRECT function using an example.

Here If value in cell B1 contains 500, A1 contains D1 & we use INDIRECT function in D1 cell =INDIRECT(B1), then result would be 500

So the function returns the value in the D1 cell which is 500.

Different usage

You can use it in many forms as shown here.

Here & operator is used for joining the text to get a full address of the cell. So A1 has D and 1 is added to D, get D1 cell ref.

You can directly refer to any cell.

Here D1 is directly supplied to get the return from D1 address.

SUM values in range using INDIRECT function

You can use it with other functions to get the sum of the range given by cell reference. Here given a range from A1:A6. But we only need the sum from start(B1) to end (B2). Follow the below steps.

  • In cell D2, the formula would be
  • =SUM(INDIRECT("A"&B1&":A"&B2))
  • Press Enter on your keyboard.
  • The function will return the total values to range specified by indirect cell reference.

Here Range is provided to Sum functions referring to A2 : A5 range.

The above shown formula will add the sum of values as specified in column B. If we change the value in cell B2 from 3 to 4 then the formula will calculate the result accordingly.

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

  1. The formula only works with only to sum up the exact match.
  2. Use date references carefully before use. Use the DATE function if the dates are fixed.
  3. The function considers non-numeric values as 0s.
  4. The function considers the logic value TRUE as 1 and False as 0.
  5. The argument array must be the same size else the function returns an error.
  6. The function returns the value corresponding to the TRUE values in the returned array after taking individual products in the corresponding array.
  7. Operators like equals to ( = ), less than ( < ), less than equal to ( <= ), greater than ( > ), greater than equal to ( >= ) or not equals to ( <> ) can be performed within a formula applied, with numbers only.

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    • If you want to sum from Sheet2 then use this formula.


      where B1 and B2 can have any row number. If B1 has 2 than and B2 has 5 than range sheet2!B2:B5 will be summed up.
      You can take help of this article too for summing across different sheet.

  1. Good day,
    I tried this formula in a workheet and the result I got was volatile. There are no blanks between the row range. What went wrong please?
    Thank you

    • If you have data numbers in A1:E1 and column letters (A and E) in A2 and A3 you want to sum in same fashion as above. use this formula

      • How can I change the offset starting reference so that it can change for every row in formula? For example,

        • The starting reference will change automatically when you copy down your formula. This is called relative referencing and it is default in Excel Formulas.

          You can read about it here:

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