# Excel: SUM(B1:B5) is Better Than =B1+B2+B3+B4+B5

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Problem: You have an intern working in the Accounting department who likes to add up short columns of numbers using =B1+B2+B3+B4+B5. You try to convince him that the correct formula is =SUM(B1:B5). He looks at you like you are insane, pointing out that his formula returns the exact same answer.

Strategy: Explain the story of the ad agency for Microsoft who plastered millions of dollars of billboards across America with ads for the new Surface tablet. The person who created the spreadsheet in the ad used a formula of =B1+B2+B3+B4+B5+B6 instead of =SUM(B1:B6) and ended up with a calculation error in all of the ads.

1. The real total is \$9500, not \$9000.

Here is what likely happened.

When the ad was created, they forgot to put the car in the ad. The total was \$9000. The figure on the left shows the right way to do the formula and the figure on the right shows the wrong way to do the formula.

2. Right way.

3. Wrong way.

I am not sure why someone at the ad agency decided a car had to be included in the ad. But for whatever reason, someone went back after the spreadsheet was created and inserted row 3 with a \$500 car rental.

Here are the results after adding row 3: