Microsoft Word

Use Formula in Tables and Paragraphs

In this tutorial, you’ll learn how to perform calculations with the numbers in a Word table and how to perform calculations with the bookmarked numbers in paragraphs by using the Formula field.

Use Formula in a Table

If you want to perform calculations in a Word table, you can create a formula by using the commands in the Formula dialog box:

Video: Creating a Formula in Word Table

To calculate the sum, click in the cell at the bottom of the column into which you want to place the total of the values in the cells above it:

  1. Click the Layout tab
  2. Click Formula button in the Data group.
  3. The Formula dialog box will display.
    The Formula text box already filled with =SUM(ABOVE) formula:
    • =SUM represents add up values.
    • (ABOVE) represents calculate the values in the column above the current cell.
  4. Edit the formula if you want to calculate the cells other than the ABOVE cells. For example:
    ABOVE: Calculate the cells above from the current cell.
    BELOW: Calculate the cells below from the current cell.
    RIGHT: Calculate the cells to the right of the current cell.
    LEFT: Calculate the cells to the left of the current cell.
  5. Click on OK.

Explaining the Formula dialog box:

Formula dialog box


Use this text box to create a formula started with the equals sign = in the Formula text.

A formula consists of an equal sign =, followed by a function name (SUM, COUNT, MIN, MAX, etc.), followed by parentheses containing the address of the cells you want to use for the calculation. For example, the formula =SUM(ABOVE) totals the cells above the current cell.

Number format

Choose a number format from the drop-down list to display the formula result, for example, 100 can be 100.00.

Paste function

Use a pre-defined function from the drop-down list, for example, use AVERAGE function for averaging a set of values, use COUNT function for counting the number of values, MAX or MIN functions for finding maximum or minimum values in cells.

Paste bookmark

If you’ve bookmarked some text in the document you can use these bookmarks inside the formula to calculate them. See, Use Formula in Paragraphs.

Cell Address or Reference

Formulas in Word commonly refer to the cells above, below, left, or right of the current cell, you can also use the cell reference (address) as you use in Excel worksheets.

  • =SUM(LEFT)
    Add the numbers in the rows left to the cell you are in.
    Add the numbers in the row right to the cell you are in.
    Add the numbers in the column above the cell you are in.
    Add the numbers in the column below the cell you are in.

A cell address is a combination of the column letter and row number. The first column is A, the second column is B, the third column is C, and so on. So similar to Excel cell addressing, a cell on the A column and 1st row will be called A1 cell, a cell on the B column and 2nd row will be called B2 cell:

Cell Address Examples

A colon mark (:) denotes a series of cells, for example, A1:E1 means cells in the 1st row of columns A, B, C, D, and E. The B1:B5 represents B column and rows 1 to 5, the formula =SUM(B1:B5) totals the values in column B of rows 1 through 5.

Update Formula

A formula is actually a Field that tells Word what to display. The formula fields do not evaluate automatically, you must update them explicitly. If you change any of the table values, which will have an impact on any formula in the table, do one of the following:

  • Select the table and press F9 on your keyboard.
  • Right-click on the formula cell(answer), and click Update Field from the contextual menu.
    Note: If you click outside the formula result, the Update Field command will not display.
Update Formula using Update Field command

Use Formula Field in Paragraphs

You can use the Paste bookmark dropdown in the Formula dialog box to calculate your bookmarked values. To insert bookmarks:

  1. Select the number which you want to calculate.
  2. Click Insert tab and in the Links group click Bookmark.
  3. The Bookmark dialog box will open.
  4. Write a unique name in the Bookmark name box.
  5. Click Add button.
  6. Repeat the above steps for each number.

After bookmarking the numbers, click on the document location where you want to display the formula result and then:

  1. Click Insert tab and in the Text group click Quick Parts icon.
  2. Click Field from the Quick Parts drop-down menu.
  3. Click Formula button to open the Formula dialog box.
  4. Click Paste function drop-down and choose SUM function.
  5. Click Paste bookmark drop-down and select a bookmark.
  6. Repeat the step 5 to insert more bookmarks in the formula.
    You must manually separate the bookmarks by inserting a comma between them in the Formula box. For example: =SUM(bookmark1,bookmark2,bookmark3).
  7. Click OK to add the formula.

See video tutorial:

Video: Insert bookmarks and use the Paste bookmark feature in the Formula text box

To simply multiply, subtract, or divide in the formula, you can use *, -, / and +. For example, =bookmark1 + bookmark2 will add the values of two bookmarks.

More “Working with Word Tables” Tutorials

  1. Insert Tables
  2. Insert and Delete Rows, Columns and Cells
  3. Wrap text around the table
  4. Table Borders and Shading
  5. Select Table, View Gridlines, Use Table Properties
  6. Resize tables, rows, columns, and cells
  7. Repeat heading rows on next pages
  8. Break, Split & Merge Cells, Rows, and Tables
  9. Set Table & Cell Alignment and Change Text Direction
  10. Use Formula in Tables and Paragraphs