Groups and Subtotals

In Excel groups and subtotals let you can hide data and summarize groups. Use groups and subtotals in Excel to better read data too.

Creating subtotals

The Subtotal command allows you to automatically create groups and use common functions like SUM, COUNT, and AVERAGE to help summarize your data. For example, the Subtotal command could help to calculate the cost of office supplies by type from a large inventory order. It will create a hierarchy of groups, known as an outline, to help organize your worksheet.

Your data must be correctly sorted before using the Subtotal command, so you may want to review our lesson on Sorting Data to learn more.

To create a subtotal:

In our example, we will use the Subtotal command with a T-shirt order form to determine how many T-shirts were ordered in each size (Small, Medium, Large, and X-Large). This will create an outline for our worksheet with a group for each T-shirt size and then count the total number of shirts in each group.

  1. First, sort your worksheet by the data you want to subtotal. In this example, we will create a subtotal for each T-shirt size, so our worksheet has been sorted by T-shirt size from smallest to largest.
    Screenshot of Excel 2013The worksheet sorted by t-shirt size
  2. Select the Data tab, then click the Subtotal command.
    Screenshot of Excel 2013Clicking the Subtotal command
  3. The Subtotal dialog box will appear. Click the drop-down arrow for the At each change in: field to select the column you want to subtotal. In our example, we'll select T-Shirt Size.
  4. Click the drop-down arrow for the Use function: field to select the function you want to use. In our example, we'll select COUNT to count the number of shirts ordered in each size.
  5. In the Add subtotal to: field, select the column where you want the calculated subtotal to appear. In our example, we'll select T-Shirt Size.
  6. When you're satisfied with your selections, click OK.
    Screenshot of Excel 2013Creating a subtotal
  7. The worksheet will be outlined into groups, and the subtotal will be listed below each group. In our example, the data is now grouped by T-shirt size, and the number of shirts ordered in that size appears below each group.
    Screenshot of Excel 2013The outlined and subtotaled data