How to Use the DSUM Function in Google Sheets


Google Sheets is a powerful spreadsheet tool that offers various functions to help users manipulate and analyze data. One such function is DSUM, which stands for “Database SUM.” DSUM allows you to perform calculations on a range of data that meets specific criteria. In this article, we will explore when to use the DSUM function, its syntax, provide examples, and guide you through the step-by-step approach. We will also explain the output, offer some tips, and conclude with frequently asked questions.

When to Use the DSUM Function

You can use the DSUM function in Google Sheets when you need to:

  • Sum values in a database based on specific criteria.
  • Calculate subtotals for a particular category within a dataset.
  • Perform more advanced calculations on your data, such as finding the average, maximum, or minimum values that meet certain conditions.

How to use DSUM function in Google Sheets

  1. Type “=DSUM” or go to the “Insert” tab ➝ “Function” ➝ “Database” ➝ “DSUM”.
How To Use Dsum Function In Google Sheets
How To Use Dsum Function In Google Sheets


=DSUM(database, field, criteria)

  • database – The array or range containing the data to consider, structured in such a way that the first row contains the labels for each column’s values.
  • field – Indicates which column in database contains the values to be extracted and operated on.
    • field may either be a text label corresponding to a column header in the first row of database or a numeric index indicating which column to consider, where the first column has the value 1.
  • criteria – An array or range containing zero or more criteria to filter the database values by before operating.


Step 1: Open Your Google Sheet

Open Your Google Sheet
Open Your Google Sheet

Step 2: Select a Cell and Enter the Function

Select A Cell And Enter The Function
Select A Cell And Enter The Function

Step 3: Press Enter: Hit the Enter key to apply the function

Hit The Enter Key To Apply The Function
Hit The Enter Key To Apply The Function

Tips for Optimization

Optimizing the DSUM function in Google Sheets can help improve the performance and efficiency of your spreadsheet. Here are some tips for optimizing the use of DSUM:

  1. Limit the Database Range:
    • Define the database range as precisely as possible. Avoid selecting entire columns or rows if they contain a large amount of unnecessary data.
  2. Use Named Ranges:
    • Define named ranges for your database and criteria ranges. This makes formulas more readable and helps avoid errors.
  3. Avoid Array Formulas:
    • While DSUM is not an array formula, avoid using it within larger array formulas, as they can significantly slow down calculations.
  4. Sort Data for Faster Processing:
    • Sort your data based on the criteria you’re using with DSUM. This can make the function process data more efficiently.
  5. Use Index-Match Instead of DSUM:
    • For some scenarios, using a combination of INDEX and MATCH functions may be more efficient than DSUM, especially if you’re dealing with very large datasets.
  6. Keep Criteria Simple:
    • Try to keep your criteria simple and avoid overly complex logical expressions. Complex criteria can slow down the calculation process.
  7. Limit the Use of Wildcards:
    • If you’re using wildcard characters like asterisks (*) in your criteria, be aware that they can slow down the calculation process. Use them sparingly.
  8. Use Helper Columns for Criteria:
    • Sometimes, creating helper columns with intermediate calculations can simplify your criteria and improve the performance of DSUM.
  9. Avoid Circular References:
    • Ensure that your DSUM formula doesn’t inadvertently create circular references, as they can cause errors and slow down calculations.
  10. Update Data Periodically:
    • If your dataset is constantly changing, consider updating the database range periodically to include only the relevant data.
  11. Use Pivot Tables for Complex Analysis:
    • For more complex data analysis tasks, consider using pivot tables. They can often provide faster results than DSUM for certain types of calculations.
  12. Minimize External Data Retrieval:
    • If your database is linked to external data sources, try to minimize the frequency of data retrieval, as this can impact the performance of DSUM.
  13. Keep Formulas in Moderation:
    • While formulas are powerful, an excess of complex formulas can slow down your spreadsheet. Use them judiciously.

Real-World Application

The DSUM function in Google Sheets finds its real-world application in various scenarios where you need to perform specific calculations on a subset of data based on certain criteria. Here are a few practical examples of how DSUM can be used:

  1. Sales and Revenue Tracking:
    • Imagine you’re managing sales data for a company. You can use DSUM to calculate the total revenue for a specific product category or for sales made during a particular time period.
  2. Inventory Management:
    • In a retail setting, DSUM can be used to track the total quantity of a particular product in stock, based on different criteria like location or product type.
  3. Student Grade Calculation:
    • In an educational institution, DSUM can help in calculating the total marks scored by students in a specific subject or within a particular grade range.
  4. Expense Reports and Budgeting:
    • For personal or business finance, you can use DSUM to calculate total expenses for a specific category, such as groceries or transportation, within a given time frame.
  5. Project Management:
    • DSUM can be utilized to calculate the total hours worked by a specific team member on a particular project, or to track costs associated with specific project phases.
  6. Customer Data Analysis:
    • In a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system, DSUM can be used to find the total value of purchases made by a specific customer or within a certain region.
  7. Attendance Tracking:
    • For schools or businesses, DSUM can help in calculating the total attendance for a particular class or department over a specific time period.
  8. Survey and Feedback Analysis:
    • If you’re collecting survey data, DSUM can assist in finding the total number of responses that fall into specific categories or have specific ratings.
  9. Event Registration and Participation:
    • In event management, DSUM can be used to tally the total number of registrations from specific demographics, or to calculate revenue from different ticket types.
  10. Website Analytics:
    • DSUM can be used to analyze website traffic, for example, finding the total number of pageviews or clicks for a specific page or category.


In conclusion, the DSUM function in Google Sheets is a valuable tool for performing targeted calculations on specific data within a dataset. By understanding its syntax and employing optimization techniques, you can efficiently extract meaningful insights from your data. Whether you’re managing finances, analyzing survey results, or tracking inventory, DSUM proves to be a versatile function with real-world applications in various fields.


Q1: Can DSUM be used with other functions in Google Sheets?

Yes, DSUM can be combined with other functions in Google Sheets to perform more complex calculations. For instance, you can use it in conjunction with IF, SUM, AVERAGE, and other functions to further refine your data analysis.

Q2: Is there a limit to the number of criteria I can use with DSUM?

There isn’t a strict limit to the number of criteria you can use with DSUM, but keep in mind that as the number of criteria increases, the formula may become more complex and potentially slower to calculate.

Q3: Can I use DSUM with dates in different formats?

Yes, DSUM can work with dates in different formats, but it’s important to ensure that the criteria you use match the format of the dates in your database.

Q4: Is DSUM available in other spreadsheet software?

The DSUM function is specific to Google Sheets and may not be available in other spreadsheet software like Microsoft Excel or Apple Numbers. However, these programs have similar functions like SUMIF, SUMIFS, and database functions that can achieve similar results.

Q5: Are there any alternatives to DSUM for data analysis?

Yes, Google Sheets offers a range of other functions like SUMIF, SUMIFS, AVERAGEIF, AVERAGEIFS, and database functions like DGET, DCOUNT, and DAVE, which can also be used for data analysis depending on your specific requirements. Each function has its own strengths and is suited for different types of calculations.

Avatar Of Deepak Vishwakarma
Deepak Vishwakarma


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