By Stephen L. Nelson, E. C. Nelson

The DSUM function is useful when using Excel to manage your database. The DSUM function adds values from a database list based on selection criteria. The function uses the syntax:

=DSUM(database,field,criteria)

where database is a range reference to the Excel table, field tells Excel which column in the database to sum, and criteria is a range reference that identifies the fields and values used to define your selection criteria.

The field argument can be a cell reference holding the field name, the field name enclosed in quotation marks, or a number that identifies the column (1 for the first column, 2 for the second column, and so on).

Check out this simple bank account balances worksheet that illustrates how the DSUM function works. Suppose that you want to find the total of the balances that you have in open accounts paying more than 0.02, or 2 percent, interest. The criteria range in A14:D15 provides this information to the function. Note that both criteria appear in the same row.

This means that a bank account must meet both criteria in order for its balance to be included in the DSUM calculation.

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The DSUM formula appears in cell F3, as shown here:

=DSUM(A1:C11,3,A14:D15)

This function returns the value 39000 because that’s the sum of the balances in open accounts that pay more than 2 percent interest.