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How to Fix Excel SUM Formula Not Working, Function Returns 0



Microsoft Excel is an incredibly powerful piece of software, forming the backbone of many a mathematical database. For many people, while it can be complicated to learn, the sheer functionality that comes with it is insane. Not only can it be used to automate tons of different tasks, but it can also automatically calculate complex sums via its SUM formula feature.

Of course, with such a complex and complicated program comes a plethora of possible issues and glitches. One of the most problematic of them all is when MS Excel SUM formula stops working, the numbers don’t add up correctly, resulting in a huge hit in productivity.

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When this Excel problem happens, the SUM function will always show or return a 0, even when there are numbers involved, which is inaccurate and also incredibly frustrating to see. So, what can you do to fix this issue when it happens for you?

How to Troubleshoot the Issue & Fix Microsoft Excel SUM Formula Not Working, Function Returns 0

Generally, whenever your Microsoft Excel SUM formula function returns nil or giving you 0 as a calculation result with numbers, there are few possible reasons for the issue to get triggered. We’ve addressed them down below, along with simple solutions for each one. If you follow these guides accordingly, you’ll get Microsoft Excel working how it should again in no time. So, without further ado, let’s get right into it.

Solution #1: Store Numbers as Numbers Instead of Text

  • More often than not, Excel won’t recognize typed numbers as actual numbers with numerical value.
  • To change this, highlight the cells containing the numbers you want to calculate.
  • An error icon should appear.
  • Click on the error icon.
  • Select “Convert to Number” from the context menu.

Solution #2: Change Calculation Options to Automatic

  • Go to the “Formulas” tab on the Microsoft Excel ribbon.
  • Search for the Calculation Options.
  • Switch the setting from Manual to Automatic.

Solution #3: Paste as Special Text

  • Pasting numbers as special text allows you to make Excel recognize things as numbers.
  • First, cut from the cells you want to calculate.
  • Then, right click on the highest cell and select the option “Paste Special”
  • Select “All” from the Paste list, followed by the mathematical operation you want.
  • Paste and allow Excel to calculate the sum as it normally would. 


Now, we’ve reached the end of our guide! If you’ve followed all of our solutions properly, you should be back on top of your productivity without much of a fuss. We hope these step-by-step guides helped you with your issue, and stay tuned for more fixes and guides just like this.



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