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How can we improve Excel for Mac?

Just click individual cells to sum

Excel 2011 had the possibility to sum individual cells by typing "=", and then just clicking on individual cells across the workbook that you want to sum, and "return" when done. This functionality is no longer available in Excel 2016 (you have to type "=sum(", then clicking on the individual cells while holding down the command key, "return". I would be happy if the old functionality is brought to Excel 2016.

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Saskia Aldershof shared this idea  ·   ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →

Update – thanks for the continued support of this feature. We’ll keep this request open for voting, but we’ll need to consider modifying the behavior slightly if it is to be brought back. For this suggestion, we would want to enable such behavior on both Mac and Windows, but we would need to do it in a way that does not cause problems for people who don’t want this behavior. For example, it may be that you would type =, then hold the CMD key as you click the cells to be added. Or perhaps you would need to enable a preference to get the old behavior. Please comment on these options or offer other ideas.

We’ve been working to make Excel more consistent between Mac and Windows, as can be seen by the updates over the past several months, which have satisfied several thousand votes on this forum (multi-thread calculation, PivotCharts, modern chart types, new functions, slicers for tables). I mention that to be clear that we are listening to the suggestions, comments and votes.

Steve K [MS Excel]


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  • Anonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    I was also really surprised Microsoft would make it harder to add specified cells by just typing = and clicking on the cells you want to add up. Having to key in '+' for each cell made it a much longer process and one that I do often - 20 extra steps for a list of 10 numbers!

    However, I now realise I can just use the autosum function and hold down the cmd key while I click on the cells I want to add - almost as easy I think.

  • Eveningclouds commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    I've just deleted my comment about being able to use this function on the update just received from Microsoft. I can't reproduce it this evening, although it was working yesterday. I do not have the older 2011 version installed on my laptop, and was definitely using the latest Excel. I simply can't explain how this feature worked yesterday. All I know is that it doesn't work today, so I'm back to the same very frustrating Excel experience I had grown used to. Apologies to all who got their hopes up!

  • Alan commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    I am using Excel 2019 and just updated with "Office Insider Fast" and the feature is still missing.

  • Anonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    Frustrating non action by Microsoft and a downright dumb excuse by Steve K., who probably stopped reading this or has no pull at Microsoft.
    Maybe already fired.
    NOBODY EVER requested that this feature be removed. If that is stated it is a LIE!
    People who used it just would and users who didn't just didn't.(Or, may not have known about the convenience)
    Certainly no compelling reason to remove it.
    Back to 2011for me also, no updates or security risk is accepted.

  • Anonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    Just an update to my October 17 posting.
    We are still reverted to Microsoft office Excel 2011, and it’s going great! So far the bogeyman has not infected my computer and Excel is working as it should!
    Just saying.
    I hear that the 2019 version is no better than the 2016 version.
    Also, Steve has not commented since March of this year. So that update is pretty stale.

  • Anonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    What a weak update comment from Mr Steve K on the Excel Team. We all know you can easily create an option in the Preferences to have this operate the "old" way or the "new" way. The arrogance of Microsoft never ceases to amaze. A great example of this arrogance and lack of true listening to consumers is The Ford Sync fiasco: Microsoft failed to even listen to their customer Ford and ended up losing the entire business allowing their competitor to step in and thrive by providing a useable fun product. Get with the program Steve!

  • Anonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    Well, to all and sundry.

    Patience has worn thin. Tension high. Nerves frayed. Can no longer "make do" with the lack of "click cell addition" AND the issues of incredible slow calc, slow cursor and cell transition, etc.

    2016 was removed 20 minutes ago. yes, 2016, gone, deleted. And Excel 2011 has returned.

    The number of issues are shocking. And my maxed out, late 2016 MBP is not a slow machine....

  • Bob commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    just noticed this basic functionality (i wouldn't even call it a feature) missing after an "upgrade". i also vote to bring it back. i'd be perfectly fine with having to enable a preference.

  • Anonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    from Anonymous saying (you can first ...) to all others on this list: I agree 100% that just typing = and then clicking many cells is WAY better and when I upgraded this past week I was VERY DISAPPOINTED that this was lost (I used it very often) "you don't know what you've got til its gone..."

  • Anonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    To anonymous: The whole point is to do away with the extra steps. It is much, much faster to type "=" and then just start clicking. This comes up so often that the fix needs to be made. If you don't use Excel with a lot of summing of disparate cells, then you don't understand. Many of us do. I tried your solution a long time ago, and found that is just as cumbersome as typing a plus for each cell for most calculations.

  • Anonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    you can first manually type in =sum( and then start ctl-cmd-click on many cells then type the close paren) OR (easier) you can on the Formulas ribbon click on AutoSum and that will insert the equation ready for a cell selection giving you =sum() with the cursor in the parens, then start doing the ctl-cmd-click anywhere you like to put in A1,B7,C3 etc to sum those cells. So instead of = you have to click twice and hold down two modifiers. Not as good as 2011, but better than manual plus signs.

  • Don D commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    SF commented that one can just hold down both Control and Command to sum cells, but this does not work (on my Mac, at least). Doing that just puts commas between the cell references, not + signs as desired.
    Microsoft, PLEASE make this a user preference!! You've seen that hundreds of people are asking for this functionality back, so what's wrong with giving the user the option to turn this back on? Why the delay in implementing this??

  • SF commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    I might be missing something but can’t you just hold down both Control and Command to sum cells?

  • ED commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    If I could get my money back, I would certainly do so. Using "=" and point and click to sum cells was what I have used for 15 years. Bring it back. Also, if I copy a list of numbers from a document and paste them in EXCEL, I could use them in calculations. This no longer works either.

  • Barbara commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    I just upgraded to Excel 2018 for Mac from a very old version, and I am SERIOUSLY missing the simple ability to enter "=" and then just click on different cells to get a sum. This was the one and only reason I was still using Excel over Google Sheets.

    There are so many improvements in this new version of Excel, but this one issue makes the program significantly more cumbersome. It used to be that if I wanted to add 10 different numbers from different locations I could get a sum with just 12 movements. Now the exact same task takes 22 movements with a lot of back-and-forth between the keyboard and the mouse. That's basically more than double the work, which is twice as time consuming. And you'd be amazed at how often my spreadsheets are setup for this exact sort of task.

    Microsoft - Steve - please let us know what's going to happen -- otherwise I will finally bail from Excel after 33 years of use (seriously, I was an early Mac and Microsoft adopter).

  • Nikki commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    I agree...bring back the old feature to type = and then click cells to have it automatically put a + in between each cell. It's a pain to have to click shift+ between every cell.

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