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Excel SUBTOTAL Function - Microsoft Excel SUBTOTAL Function Tutorial

Excel SUBTOTAL Function - Microsoft Excel SUBTOTAL Function Tutorial

Microsoft Excel SUBTOTAL Function Tutorial

The SUBTOTAL Function takes the subtotal of the values you give it but gives you the option to pick what math operation you want to perform and whether you want to leave out hidden cells. A workhorse in data processing and dashboards.

What is the Microsoft Excel SUBTOTAL Function?

The SUBTOTAL function is a computer program that you run from a worksheet cell formula. It takes the subtotal of the ranges you give it. You run the SUBTOTAL function by typing its name in a formula then followed by the information it is suppose to use. The SUBTOTAL worksheet function is capable of looking at thousands of cell values at once. The SUBTOTAL function can perform numerous different type calculations, average, count, sum...etc, and has the capabilities of ignoring hidden rows either created manually or by a filter like AUTOFILTER.


When to Use SUBTOTAL Function

se the SUBTOTAL worksheet function when you have to exclude hidden rows in a basic calculation like taking the sum, average, max, min...etc of a group of cells. It is ideal for using with a filter like AutoFilter or Advanced Filter or on worksheets where rows are hidden and you do not want to include them in your calculations.


How Do You Type the SUBTOTAL Worksheet Function in a Formula?

Whenever you type a formula in a worksheet cell, this is called syntax or grammar. The general SUBTOTAL function syntax has a format like this when you type it in a worksheet cell:

=SUBTOTAL(function_num, ref1, [ref2], ...)

Where function_num, ref1, [ref2], ... are called the function argument list. Remember, you are running a computer program at this point so the program needs information to operate and that is why there is an argument list. When you see an argument list and you see square brackets [ ] around the argument name, this means the argument is optional and you do not have to include it when typing unless you need it. So for the syntax above, you need to include 2 arguments for the SUBTOTAL function when typing it in a worksheet cell formula in order for it to calculate correctly. How many arguments can be placed in the list is dependent upon the Excel version you are using. What argument values can be used are discussed below. Remember functions expect certain things in their argument lists, if you do not put the correct information in the list they will generate an error when run.


SUBTOTAL Function Argument Definition

  • function_num: This argument can be the numbers 1 to 11 which means that it will include hidden worksheet row values when calculating or 101 to 111 which means it will ignore hidden row values when calculating. The numbers indicate what type of calculation it will perform like a sum or an average. The list below specifies the what type of calculation is associated with which number.
function _ num ( include hidden values ) function _ num ( exclude hidden values ) Function
1 101 AVERAGE
2 102 COUNT
3 103 COUNTA
4 104 MAX
5 105 MIN
6 106 PRODUCT
7 107 STDEV
8 108 STDEVP
9 109 SUM
10 110 VAR
11 111 VARP
  • ref1, ref2: These arguments can be cell or range references.

How Do You Run the SUBTOTAL Function?

Since the SUBTOTAL function is a computer program, it runs when you press Enter to enter the formula that contains it. If any of the arguments are wrong, the function will return an error. An error begins with the # sign.


What Do I Type for a SUBTOTAL Function Argument?

When typing the SUBTOTAL function in a worksheet cell formula, you need to replace the function_num, ref1, [ref2], .. argument list with arguments separating each one with a comma (,). Some typical arguments you can use are:

Argument Type Cell Formula Example Explanation
Range References, SUM (9) =SUBTOTAL(9, A1:A10) Sum the values in the cell range A1 to A10 and do not ignore hidden rows unless a filter like AUTOFILTER is being used
Range References, SUM (109) =SUBTOTAL(109, A1:A10) Sum the values in the cell range A1 to A10 and ignore hidden rows
Name, SUM (109) =SUBTOTAL(109, Sales) Sum the values in the cell range named Sales and ignore hidden rows *

* It is possible to name a cell or group of cells on a worksheet and use that name in place of a range reference or cell reference. Consult Excel help on how to name a cell.

Additional SUBTOTAL Function Examples

The worksheet seen below contains some typical worksheet formulas that run the SUBTOTAL worksheet function. Pay close attention to the argument list and the syntax used to write the formula.

A B C
1 Quantity = SUBTOTAL( A1:A7, 109 ) Returns the sum value from the range A1 to A7 and ignores the hidden row 4
2 100    
3 200
5 400    
6 500    
7 600    

Things to Know About the SUBTOTAL Function

  • If there are other subtotals within ref1, ref2,… (or nested subtotals), these nested subtotals are ignored to avoid double counting.
  • For the function_num arguments 1 to 11, the SUBTOTAL function includes the values of rows hidden by the Hide command. Use these numbers when you want to subtotal hidden and non-hidden numbers in a range.
  • For the function_num arguments 101 to 111, the SUBTOTAL function ignores values of rows hidden by the Hide command. Use these numbers when you want to subtotal only non-hidden numbers in a range.
  • The SUBTOTAL function ignores any rows that are not included in the result of a filter like AUTOFILTER, no matter which function_num value you use.
  • The SUBTOTAL function is designed for columns of data, or vertical ranges. It is not designed for rows of data, or horizontal ranges. For example, when you subtotal a horizontal range (row) using a function_num of 101 or greater, such as SUBTOTAL(109,A1:G1), hiding a column does not affect the subtotal. But, hiding a row in a subtotal of a vertical range does affect the subtotal.
  • If any of the references are 3-D references, SUBTOTAL returns the #VALUE! error value.
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