Excel Data Analysis – Subtotals with Ranges

If you have a list of data that you want to group and summarize, you can use Excel Subtotal and Outline to display summary rows or columns. You can use PivotTable also for this purpose, but using Subtotal and Outline is the quickest way to analyze a range of data. Note that Subtotal and Outline can be used only on a range and not on a table.

You can create an Outline of up to eight levels, one for each group. Outer Levels are represented by Lower Numbers and Inner Levels by Higher Numbers. Each inner level displays detailed data for the preceding outer level.

To understand how to use Subtotal and Outline, consider the following example wherein the sales data of various items are given salesperson-wise and location-wise. In total, there are 1891 rows of data.


You can obtain the sum of sales location wise using Subtotal.

First, sort the data location wise.

  • Click anywhere on the data range.
  • Click the DATA tab.
  • Click Sort.

Data is selected. The Sort dialog box appears.

In the Sort dialog box,

  • Select Location for Sort by
  • Select Values for Sort On
  • Select A to Z for Order

Click OK. The data is sorted location wise.

  • Click anywhere on the Data Range.
  • Click DATA tab.
  • Click Subtotal in the Outline group. The data gets selected and the Subtotal dialog box appears.

In the Subtotal dialog box,

  • Select Location under At each change in:
  • Select Sum under Use function:
  • Select Unit and Amount under Add subtotal to:
  • Select Replace current subtotals
  • Select Summary below data

Click OK. The data is grouped with three levels and the subtotals are calculated location wise.

Note − The data that is displayed is of Level 3 – i.e. entire data.

Click the Outline Level 2. The Totals will be displayed location wise for units and amount.

Click Outline Level 1. The Grand Totals will be displayed for units and amount.

You can zoom-in or zoom-out the data by clicking the Outline Levels or by clicking the + Symbols to the left of the data.

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