Quick, clean, and to the point

Data validation don't exceed total

Excel formula: Data validation don't exceed total
Generic formula 

To allow only values that don't exceed a set sum, you can use data validation with a custom formula based on the SUM function. In the example shown, the data validation applied to B5:B9 is:


Data validation rules are triggered when a user adds or changes a cell value.

In this case, we need a formula that returns FALSE as long as entries in C6:C9 sum to a total equal to or below 1000. We use the SUM function to sum a fixed range and then simply compare the result to 1000 using less than or equal to. Note the range C6:C9 is entered as an absolute reference to prevent the reference from changing automatically for each cell that data validation is applied to.

Each time a number is entered, the validation is triggered. As long as the sum remains less than 1000, validation succeeds. If any entry causes the sum C6:C9 to exceed 1000, validation fails.

Note: Cell references in data validation formulas are relative to the upper left cell in the range selected when the validation rule is defined, in this case B5.

Dave Bruns

Excel Formula Training

Formulas are the key to getting things done in Excel. In this accelerated training, you'll learn how to use formulas to manipulate text, work with dates and times, lookup values with VLOOKUP and INDEX & MATCH, count and sum with criteria, dynamically rank values, and create dynamic ranges. You'll also learn how to troubleshoot, trace errors, and fix problems. Instant access. See details here.

Download 200+ Excel Shortcuts

Get over 200 Excel shortcuts for Windows and Mac in one handy PDF.