2D SUMIF with two variables – one on column and one on row

Excel Tips - 2D sumif

SUMIF is a commonly used function to give you sum of a range that meets a specific criterion.  For the example above, if you want to know the total expense of Department 1 in Jan, you can use SUMIF:

The Syntax


This is the formula used in the above example:

=SUMIF($B$3:$B$16,"Department 1",$C$3:$C$16)
  • where B3:B16 is the range with the criteria;
  • “Department 1” is what you look for;
  • C3:C16 is the range of the data you need to add

Altogether, it means please give me the total expense of Department 1 in Jan.

Instead of “hard-coding” the Department, we can substitute “Department 1” with the cell reference $G$3 where the department will be input to:


With this modification, we can get the result for different departments by changing the value in G3. That is easy.

Excel Tips - 2D sumif 1

Could we also add the second variable for Month, so that we can get the answer for different month according to the value input in H3?

The answer is YES!  Thanks to the interesting characteristic of the sum_range argument.

The sum_range argument does not have to be the same size and shape as range. The actual cells that are added are determined by using the top, left cell in sum_range as the beginning cell, and then including cells that correspond in size and shape to range.

For example:

If range is And sum_range is Then the actual cells to be summed are
A1:A5 B1:B5 B1:B5
A1:A5 B1:B3 B1:B5
A1:B4 C1 C1:D4
A1:B4 C1:C2 C1:D4

Now look back at our example. The range is B3:B16, we may input C3 as the sum_range for the month of Jan; D3 for Feb; and E3 for Mar.


The actual cells to be summed for the above formula are C3:C16 (which is the same size of the range).

Now with this “simplified” sum_range, we may make it dynamic by using INDEX and MATCH:


where MATCH is used to identify the position of the Month input in H3.

When H3 is Jan, Feb or Mar, it returns 1, 2 or 3 respectively.

Wrapped with INDEX,

  • INDEX(C3:E3,1) returns a cell reference of C3
  • INDEX(C3:E3,2) returns a cell reference of D3
  • INDEX(C3:E3,3) returns a cell reference of E3

Thanks to the reference form syntax of INDEX.

By putting all together, this is the final formula to make the SUMIF dynamic with 2(D) variables (G3 for department; H3 for month):


Excel Tips - 2D SUMIF 3          Excel Tips - 2D SUMIF 4

What do you think? Please leave your comment. 🙂

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10 Responses to 2D SUMIF with two variables – one on column and one on row

  1. Laura Wood says:

    Very useful, thank you. Excuse me if this is silly question, but can this formula be adapted to capture a range of months? So for example, I want to look up the cumulative expenses for Department 2 to Feb. As before I want to look up the department in the vertical list and the month in the horizontal list, but I want to say sum that month and x many months before. I think it might be an OFFSET, but I’m utterly confused. Amazing if you can help.


    • MF says:

      Hi Laura,
      Yes. Offset can do what you want… but you will also need SUMPRODUCT.
      Based on the layout in the example, you may try the following formula:


      • Laura Wood says:

        That’s excellent thank you. Sumproduct has always been a mystery to me. I’ve applied the formula to my data, and the only issue is that I want to be able to specify how many months are picked up in the solution. So if I’ve got 100s of months across the top of my data set, and departments down the side, in my formula I want to pick up the last 12 months of data for a selected department ending in a selected month. So my formula needs to have the potential to pick up all the months, but then depending on the month I select, I want to sum just the 12 months to that month. Is that possible? Thank you so much for your help, this is a godsend.


  2. Excel Analyst says:

    Thank you for the detailed walkthrough! You just save me a few hours.


    • MF says:

      You are welcome. Glad it helps


      • Gergana says:

        Hi Thank you for your excel support I would like to ask you if I have to sum by 3 criteria For example I have 1st column month second column project number 3td column accounts number and 4th column sum In another worksheet I have to fill in the sum for defined accounts (which I should take from 3th column) and match by month and project number Thanks for your help


        • MF says:

          Perform VLOOKUP with 2 lookup values | wmfexcel
          If you get this, you may try to do it with additional value (column)
          Alternative Pivot Table maybe an easier way.


          • Gergana says:

            Hi – Thank you for your really fast answer. I know for the pivot table, but it is not working for me unfortunately. VBA will, but I would like to do it for now with excel functions. In fact I have 2 files – one is with the data I already explained – columns: month, project number, accounts, 4-th column sum. In the second file I have more columns: 1st column month, 2nd column project number, 3th column external cost (there I should have the sum of some of the accounts in the 3thd column from the 1st file), 4th row internal costs (sum of some of the accounts from the 3th column from the 1st file) etc… (something like transposing sum of rows) One decision is to use helper column in the first file – where to sum of the accounts I need – but I try to learn now to use complex formula and think that with sumifs and index match I could make it – but somewhere I’m doing wrong and didn’t get it I really appreciate if you help for syntax the formula


          • MF says:

            Hi Gergana,
            It’s a bit difficult for me to “visualize” your data and understand your request… Perhaps you may give an example with some dummy data and state the layout you want as output?
            Alternative, you may put your question to MrExcel forum http://www.mrexcel.com/forum/forum.php (my all time favourites), where lots of Excel experts are willing to help unconditionally. 🙂


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