Professor said HAS to be done with SUMIF function. Combine Salary of those named Steve. NO IDEA here

Copper Contributor

Excel sheet looks like this:


       A                            B

1 Name                      Salary

2 Steve M.               $1,000

3 Mary J.                  $2,800

4 Joe R.                    $3,000

5 Steve P.                 $1,000

6 Steve H.                $1,500

7 Tina M.                 $1,000

8 Joseph R.              $2,200

9 Larry M.                $1,400

10 Larry P.                $1,200

11 Joe T.                  $3,100

12 Lisa M.                $2,800

13 Lisa P.                  $2,150

14 Lina J.                 $2,100

15 Mary R.              $1,175

16 Mary S.              $2,000

17 Joe P.                 $1,175


19 Steve

20 Mary

21 Larry

22 Joe

23 Lisa



Using the SUMIF or AVERAGEIF function accomplish the following:

  • In cell B19 calculate the combined salaries of all employees with the first name Steve (2 points)
  • In cell B20 calculate the combined salaries of all employees with the first name Mary (2 points)
  • In cell B21 calculate the combined salaries of all employees with the first name Larry (2 points)
  • In cell B22 calculate the combined salaries of all employees with the first name Joe (2 points)
  • In cell B23 calculate the AVERAGE salaries of all employees with the first name Lisa (2 points)

You must have a SUMIF formula is cells B19, B20, B21, B22 to derive answer to get credit for the element.



I have tried so many combinations with SUMIF/SUMIFS and nothing but error messages. It is due at midnight tonight.

I just need an example or SOME idea of how the SUMIF formula will/can/does work for this?

Because the regular way of doing SUMIF (like I did with the last homework where I had NO issues whatsoever doing this) is resulting in nothing but a 0 or error message.

Apparently most/all of our class is having trouble with this.


Any help is greatly appreciated.

Thank you very much.

15 Replies



Thank you for honestly acknowledging that it's homework. We generally don't do homework for people, but a pointer in the direction of how to solve might be OK. So it seems to me that don't want (nor are required) to ONLY use SUMIF.  Part of a good SUMIF formula is the criterion that serve as the basis for selecting--in this case--those whose names begin with "Steve" -- which would include "Steve M." and 
"Steve R." and all the other Steves, right?


So you need a way to select the part of the name string that is "Steve". for that you'll need the LEFT function.

I'm not asking for a straight up answer, haha, just an example of something like this or as you said, a pointer in the right direction. I like and want to learn excel, I'm kinds simple sometimes and figure I'm messed up and need to fix it is all. Not trying to cheat or anything of the sort.

Thank you insanely much for the help.
Very much appreciated.
Thank you as well.
There is so much to this and I enjoy finding out, learning, and hunting down answers doing my own thing.
Even though it frustrates in greatly, haha.

Is there any way to learn ALL of Excel, such as becoming a master at it in a year or two on your own besides the only route I can think of: Buying books, MANY hours of practice and exercises, tutors, etc.
There any useful/helpful tools, sites, or anything/anyone that anyone can recommend to help someone like me learn all about this to master it?
Probably take me a few years or decades, but I'm persistent.

Thanks to you both, greatly.
Very much appreciated.
Thanks again to you both.
You steered me in the right direction and that was all I needed.
I got it.
You guys helped me learn something new with Excel, this is the information I was looking for to help me the last few hours, I just didn't know the name of it or where to find it.

Thanks again, so much.
You're awesome.





In those 12 hours you have never looked at the Microsoft documentation? It is all there.



@Detlef Lewin 

I am usually pretty fast and good at finding out solutions to things like this, but this one stumped me.

I couldn't find much of anything to help me, or if I did, I'm too new to Excel and didn't notice.

Sometimes I'm a simple person.

I try to be exceedingly thorough and read over things multiple time and spend a lot of time making sure of things.

I don't know all of the resources/help that is offered. I think I was around, maybe even on that page, but this stuff is all kinda similar to me.

Some things like this confuse me and look like something else.


Thanks for sharing that, you have helped this dummy (me) out with more info.

Thank you much.

Learning all of Excel in a year or two is asking a lot. I'd estimate it may take several thousand hours of study and with Excel there's always something more to learn.

It helps if you have access to instructors and resources that really know the application. Did your professor happen to mention 'wildcard' at any point during class?



The resource that @Patrick2788 pointed you to,, is a good one to bookmark.

Microsoft's own documentation, which @Detlef Lewin pointed to, is also good, though generally written more for the person who knows what he/she is looking for.


During the days that I was learning to use spreadsheets (back in the 1980s, long before you were born), I would make it a practice to read through the printed manuals that came with the software discs (I said it was a long time ago). And I'd always find a better way to do something that I'd already done in a more convoluted way. With Excel, as even this thread has shown, there are almost always two or three different ways to resolve a problem, two or three different ways to manipulate text strings in this case.


My real recommendation to you would be to get a book like Excel for Dummies, which actually is a very good starting point, and read it through, trying things out. The other helpful approach is to set yourself a task that you want to do--e.g., set up a personal budget tracking system--and then figure out how to do it. It'll take trial and error, but that's one of the best ways to learn--doing something you care about.

I got the sites y'all provided bookmarked and looking into them already.

I was trying to look on Microsoft to find anything to help but I was probably looking in the wrong area/place to find the answer I was needing. Like I said, I'm usually great at finding answers to things I don't know or need more on, but couldn't with this. Or perhaps I did and just needed it put more simply to understand it. Some of the terminology and way it works confuses me, but I keep trying. I don't like to quit.

I'm old school myself, even though I'm 37. I prefer books over digital materials. I got the paper book for this class a week or two into the class and figured things out myself relatively quickly just from my own logic as to where and how and why, etc.

I see there are multiple ways to do something with excel like this. I thought of one way, but didn't know how to go about it/write it in correctly. So perhaps I found an answer just didn't know the right way to write it. You guys helped me figure that out with the sites you provided which clarified it for me greatly. Sometimes I just need an example or a visual to fully understand something, like in this case.

I'll take your advice and do that.
OJT is usually how most people learn things.

Thanks again, the help was greatly appreciated.
I figured, haha. People probably spend 5-10 years to maser Excel.

He did not mention Wildcard. What is that?

@Andymunchin You can often use two special characters in searches and criteria:


? stands for any single character.

* stands for any number of characters, including none.



"J?m" will find "Jam", "Jem", "Jim", "J3m", "J!m" etc.

"H*e" will find "He", "Hue", "Here", "House", etc.


? and * are called wildcards.

That is quite useful information to know. That will come in handy in the future.
Thank you very much.
Andy, as long as you have a way to APPLY and USE excel constantly, you will pick it up and build your foundation and grow. You cant take a class and never use the skills or practice and expect to be proficient, so being able to apply what you are learning on an ongoing basis is KEY, just my opinion.

With that being said, sure Microsoft has available documentation and there are forums like this but I have found the most valuable resource to be You Tube University. Theres a gajillion videos on use case specific needs that take you through and show you step by step how to accomplish your need.

Additionally you can pick up a lot of quick tips, tricks and shortcuts from Tik Tok! Somehow the algorithm showed me a couple Power BI and Excel posts and I followed them and soon after I started seeing all sorts of 1-2 minute videos on daily time/life saving hacks/tips/tricks!

Just keep at it and you will get there :)
I agree with you and I have been using youtube videos to help me understand.
The changing language/terms (or unspecific and confusing language from teachers) for assignments messes me up half the time.

I don't use tiktok but good to know.

Thanks for the info, always helpful and appreciated.