How to Tally in Google Sheets?

A tally is when you’re keeping track of the current amount of score. It involves calculating the total number of something, like when you’re tallying the individual votes for the presidential election (which typically numbers by the millions).

When making a tally in Google Sheets, it isn’t just about knowing how to use the SUM or AVERAGE function on the spreadsheet. You’ll also need to make a tally sheet and whatnot to make it all work.

How to Tally in Google Sheets

There are two parts to making a tally in Google Sheets, and it involves setting up a tally sheet first and foremost then doing the tallying itself. This makes for a cleaner tally later on.

Part 1: Setting Up the Tally Sheet

Step 1: Open or create a blank Google Sheets spreadsheet. Click the plus sign on the lower-left corner of the screen in order to create a new tab or sheet. That’s where we’ll put the tally.

How to Tally Part 1 Step 1A - Open new spreadsheet

You can also insert a new sheet through the “Insert” menu and by selecting “Sheet“. Or you can use the “Shift + F11” shortcut.

How to Tally Part 1 Step 1B - Add new sheet

Step 2: Rename your new sheet—Sheet2—as “Tally”. It’s because you’re going to use it for tallying, naturally.

How to Tally Part 1 Step 2 - Rename sheet

Step 3: Select the entire sheet by clicking on the gray pan on the upper-left corner of your spreadsheet or pressing “Ctrl + A“.

How to Tally Part 1 Step 3 - Select whole tally sheet

Step 4: Click on the “Insert” menu then choose “ticker box” or “checkbox“.

How to Tally Part 1 Step 4 - Click Insert and Checkbox or Tick box

Step 5: The tick boxes or checkboxes should appear in every cell of this sheet. If you want, you can increase their font size.

How to Tally Part 1 Step 5 - All your tally sheet_s cells should have checkboxes now

Step 6: With all the cells still selected, double-click on the line between any two columns in the headers to resize all the columns to fit their content.

How to Tally Part 1 Step 6 - Double-click between column headers to make the cells fit the size of the checkboxes

Step 7: Now click on the line between the row numbers then drag to increase the row height. This will make the sheet more readable.

How to Tally Part 1 Step 7 - Adjust the row height for readability

After setting up the tick boxes, check on one checkbox every time you wish to add a tally mark. For instance, if counting an inventory, just click the checkbox for every time located.

Part 2: Summing Up the Tally

After your tally is done, add up the count this way.

Step 1: In the first tab, click on the cell you wish to sum up the tally counts. Type the formula for it as:

<em>=COUNTIF(Tally!A:Z, TRUE)</em>
Code language: HTML, XML (xml)
How to Tally Part 2 Step 1 - Enter the formula to sum up the tally

Step 2: As you check the checkboxes on Tally (thus marking them as TRUE instead of FALSE), the COUNTIF formula will directly count the number of checked checkboxes on your Tally tab.

How to Tally Part 2 Step 2 - Check the boxes in the tally and see it reflect on the other sheet

When you delete columns on the tally sheet or change its name to something else, you’ll need to update the reference on the Tally!A:Z part of the formula.

Step 3: This auto tally can be used for things like checking who’s present in the classroom, who among your students passed the test, which district finished their voting, and so forth.

How to Tally Part 2 Step 3 - The first sheet_s formula references the checks on the tally sheet

You can also use the tick boxes to represent a case of items or a specific number of items. Every checkbox can represent 5-10 items. This depends on how many items you have. It also applies to votes or scores.

Final Thoughts

Google Sheets is quite versatile, but only if you know how to use its many different tools. You’ll have to, for example, make it easier to enter your tally data. To tally with Google Sheets, you should create a separate tab to enter your tally data by checkboxes or tick boxes.

From there, you can do all the math required on the remaining sheet. Focus on making an efficient tally sheet and the rest should follow.


  1. See the sum & average“, Support, Retrieved July 23, 2022
  2. How To Tally In Google Sheets“,, Retrieved July 23, 2022
  3. Prolific Oaktree, “Google Sheets – Count Cells Containing Specific Text“, YouTube, December 2, 2017
  4. Pencru, “How to count/tally specific responses with COUNTIF (2020) | Google Docs/Sheets Tutorials“, YouTube, May 27, 2020

Andy Avery

I really enjoy helping people with their tech problems to make life easier, ​and that’s what I’ve been doing professionally for the past decade.

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