How to Use the REDUCE Function in Google Sheets


Google Sheets is a powerful tool for organizing and analyzing data. One of the functions that can greatly enhance your data manipulation capabilities is the REDUCE function. In this article, we will explore what the REDUCE function is and how you can effectively use it to streamline your data processing tasks.

We will learn the REDUCE formula and how it works in Google Sheets. This function is meant to be used with the LAMBDA function. The REDUCE formula process each value in a selected range through the LAMBDA function and returns the total cumulative number in a cell. So, the REDUCE function is similar to the SCAN function. The difference between the two formulas is that the REDUCE function only shows the total cumulative figure in a cell. In contrast, the SCAN function presents the total and intermediate cumulative numbers in a range.

When the REDUCE Function is Used

The REDUCE function in Google Sheets is employed when you want to perform a series of operations on a range of data and consolidate the results into a single value.

How to Insert the REDUCE formula in Google Sheets

  1. Type “=REDUCE” or go to “Insert” → “Function” → “Array” → “REDUCE”.
  2. Choose a range that includes input values.
  3. Enter a LAMBDA function with placeholders and logic.
  4. Press the “Enter” key.
How To Insert The Reduce Formula In Google Sheets
How To Insert The Reduce Formula In Google Sheets


REDUCE(initial_value, array_or_range, LAMBDA)

  • initial_value: The initial accumulator value.
  • array_or_range: An array or range to be reduced.
  • LAMBDA: A LAMBDA that’s applied to each value in array_or_range to reduce it.
  • Syntax: LAMBDA(name1, name2, formula_expression)
  • Requirements:
    • The LAMBDA must have exactly 2 name arguments along with a formula_expression which uses those names. The name1 resolves to the current value in the accumulator and name2 resolves to the current_value in array_or_range, when applying the LAMBDA. The accumulator is updated in each step to the intermediate value obtained in the previous step.


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:

Limit the Use of Array Formulas:
  • While array formulas can be powerful, they can also slow down your spreadsheet, especially if used excessively. Try to use them only when necessary.
Avoid Blank Rows and Columns:
  • Having too many empty cells or entire rows/columns can significantly impact the performance of your spreadsheet. Keep your data compact and organized.
Use Named Ranges:
  • Instead of referring to cells by their coordinates (e.g., A1:B10), assign names to specific ranges. This makes your formulas more readable and easier to manage.
Minimize External References:
  • If your spreadsheet contains a lot of links to external data sources or other sheets, it can slow down calculations. Use external references sparingly.
Use Conditional Formatting Thoughtfully:
  • While conditional formatting is a great way to highlight specific data, too many rules can lead to sluggish performance. Keep the number of rules to a minimum.
Avoid Excessive Calculations in Cells: C
  • omplex formulas with many nested functions can slow down your spreadsheet. Break down complex calculations into smaller, manageable steps.
Turn Off Automatic Calculation:
  • If your spreadsheet contains a large dataset and complex formulas, consider switching to manual calculation mode. This way, you can control when calculations are performed.
Utilize Pivot Tables:
  • Pivot tables are a powerful tool for summarizing and analyzing data. They can help improve the performance of your sheet by reducing the need for complex formulas.
Optimize Data Importing:
  • If you’re importing data from external sources, make sure to clean and structure it properly before bringing it into Google Sheets. This can prevent unnecessary processing.
Archive Old Data:
  • If your sheet contains historical data that is no longer actively used, consider archiving it in a separate sheet. This can help reduce the size and complexity of your main sheet.
Update Add-ons and Extensions:
  • If you use add-ons or extensions, ensure they are up-to-date. Outdated or incompatible add-ons can lead to performance issues.
Regularly Audit Formulas and Functions:
  • Periodically review your formulas to ensure they are still relevant and efficient. Remove any redundant or unnecessary calculations.

Real-World Application:

Financial Planning and Budgeting:
  • Individuals and businesses use Google Sheets to manage their finances. By optimizing their spreadsheets, they can track income, expenses, and investments more efficiently.
Sales and Inventory Management:
  • Retailers and e-commerce businesses use Google Sheets to monitor sales, track inventory levels, and manage orders. Optimization ensures accurate and up-to-date information.
Project Management:
  • Project managers use Google Sheets for task tracking, resource allocation, and progress monitoring. An optimized sheet helps in streamlining workflows and improving team collaboration.
Data Analysis and Reporting:
  • Data analysts and marketers rely on Google Sheets to organize and analyze large sets of data. Optimized sheets enable faster data processing and more accurate reporting.
Student Grade Tracking:
  • Educators and parents use Google Sheets to keep track of students’ grades and performance. Optimization ensures that the grading process is efficient and error-free.
HR and Employee Records:
  • Human resources departments use Google Sheets to manage employee information, track attendance, and monitor performance. Optimization improves HR processes.
Content Editorial Calendars:
  • Content creators and marketers use Google Sheets to plan and schedule content releases. Optimization helps in managing content pipelines effectively.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM):
  • Small businesses often use Google Sheets as a cost-effective CRM solution. An optimized sheet allows for smoother customer interactions and lead tracking.
Event Planning and Guest Lists:
  • Event planners use Google Sheets to manage guest lists, RSVPs, and logistical details. Optimization ensures that events run smoothly and guest information is accurate.
Survey and Feedback Collection:
  • Organizations collect survey responses and feedback in Google Sheets. Optimization helps in quickly processing and analyzing the data for actionable insights.
Nonprofit and Volunteer Management:
  • Nonprofit organizations use Google Sheets to track volunteer schedules, donations, and project progress. Optimization aids in efficient resource allocation.
Academic Research and Data Collection:
  • Researchers and academics use Google Sheets to collect and analyze data. Optimization streamlines the research process and ensures data integrity.


In conclusion, mastering the REDUCE function in Google Sheets can be a game-changer for anyone working with data. Its ability to consolidate and process information efficiently opens up a world of possibilities for organizing and analyzing datasets.

By understanding the syntax and examples provided, users can harness the power of the REDUCE function to streamline their data manipulation tasks. Whether it’s calculating totals, finding averages, or performing custom operations, the REDUCE function offers a versatile solution.

Optimizing your Google Sheets further enhances the experience. By following best practices, such as limiting array formulas, using named ranges, and minimizing external references, you can ensure that your spreadsheets operate smoothly even with large datasets and complex calculations.

Remember, Google Sheets is not just a tool; it’s a powerhouse for data management and analysis, and the REDUCE function is just one of its many gems waiting to be explored.


1. How do I apply the REDUCE function to my data?
  • To apply the REDUCE function, use the syntax =REDUCE(function, range, start), where “function” is the operation you want to perform, “range” is the data range, and “start” is the initial value. Customize it according to your specific needs.
2. Can I use custom functions with the REDUCE function?
  • Yes, you can use both built-in and custom functions with the REDUCE function. This allows for a wide range of operations, from basic arithmetic calculations to more complex custom functions.
3. What are some common mistakes to avoid when using the REDUCE function?
  • One common mistake is not specifying the correct syntax for the REDUCE function. Make sure to use the proper format and ensure that the function, range, and start values are appropriately defined.
4. How can I optimize my Google Sheets for better performance?
  • Optimizing your Google Sheets involves practices like limiting array formulas, using named ranges, and minimizing external references. Additionally, keeping formulas concise and organized can contribute to improved performance.
5. Where can I find additional resources to learn more about Google Sheets functions?
  • For more in-depth knowledge, Google’s official support and learning resources are invaluable. Online tutorials, forums, and communities are also excellent places to seek advice and learn from experienced users.
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Deepak Vishwakarma


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