Create Calculations in Word Tables Using Formulas
by Avantix Learning Team | Updated May 1, 2021
Applies to: Microsoft® Word® 2013, 2016, 2019 or 365 (Windows)
You can insert formulas in Word tables to perform calculations. These formulas can include functions such as SUM or AVERAGE or basic operators. When you insert formulas in Word tables, you are really inserting fields so the fields will need to be updated if the data in the table changes. For more complex calculations, it’s usually best to create formulas in Excel where they will update automatically.
Formulas and functions in Word tables only work with numbers. You can’t perform text calculations or output text.
Recommended article: 3 Simple Ways to Copy or Import Excel Data into Word (Linked or Unlinked)
Note: Buttons and Ribbon tabs may display in a different way (with or without text) depending on your version of Word, the size of your screen and your Control Panel settings. For Word 365 users, Ribbon tabs may appear with different names. For example, the Table Tools Design tab may appear as Table Design.
To insert a formula in a cell in a Word table, you’ll need to use the Function command on the Table Tools Layout or Table Layout tab in the Ribbon:
Do you want to learn more about Microsoft Word? Check out our virtual classroom or live classroom Word courses >
Understanding formula syntax
When you insert a table in Word, each column and row are identified like cells in Excel worksheets and each cell is assigned a cell reference. In a Word table, the first column would be column A and the first row would be row 1 so the first cell would be identified as A1. Therefore, you can create calculations that refer to cells (such as =A1+A2).
In Word and Excel, you can use the same basic operators:
- addition (+)
- subtraction (-)
- multiplication (*)
- division (/)
Typically, formulas in Word tables are created using common functions such as SUM, AVERAGE, MIN, MAX or COUNT and refer to a range. They must start with an equal sign (=).
You can refer to ranges of cells using ABOVE, LEFT, RIGHT or BELOW as the arguments for functions. If you’re trying to sum the cells at the bottom of a column, the formula would be =SUM(ABOVE). You can also combine these arguments. For example, you could enter a formula =SUM(ABOVE,LEFT) and it would sum all cells that are above and to the left of that cell. Functions can also refer to cell references such as =SUM(C1:C10). You can also refer to individual cells such =SUM(B1,C1,D5).
Word tables can also perform more complex calculations using the IF function with the syntax =IF(test,true,false). For example, =IF(A5>=1000,0,50) could be used to calculate a shipping cost of 50 if orders are less than 1000. You can also use the AND and OR functions with the IF function.
Inserting a formula in a table
To insert a formula in a table:
- Click in the cell where you want to enter a formula.
- Click the Table Tools Layout or Table Layout tab in the Ribbon.
- Select Function (fx) in the Data group. A dialog box appears. Word will typically insert a function and arguments in the Formula box.
- If you want to accept the suggested formula, click OK. If you want to change the formula, click in the Formula box and enter a formula (starting with =). You can also choose other functions from the Paste Function drop-down menu.
- If necessary, select a format from the Format drop-down menu.
- Click OK. Word inserts the formula as a field and displays the results.
The Function dialog box appears as follows with a formula and a format selected:
Updating a formula
If the original data changes, you can right-click the Formula field and select Update from the drop-down menu or press F9. If you want to update all formulas in a table, select all of the cells in the table and press F9. To select the entire table, click the four arrows on the top left of the table.
Changing a formula
To change a formula in a table:
- Right-click the formula or error. A drop-down menu appears.
- Select Edit field.
- Make the desired changes.
- Click OK.
Updating all fields
To update all fields in all tables:
- Press Ctrl + A to select all.
- Press F9.
Formula fields are just one type of field you can use in Word. There are many other fields that can insert variable information in Word documents.
Did you find this article helpful? If you would like to receive new articles, join our email list.
Our instructor-led courses are delivered in virtual classroom format or at our downtown Toronto location at 1 Yonge Street, Suite 1801 (Toronto Star Building), Toronto, Ontario, Canada (some live classroom courses may also be delivered at an alternate downtown Toronto location). Contact us at email@example.com if you'd like to arrange custom training on a date that's convenient for you.
Copyright 2021 Avantix® Learning
You may also like
You can enter Greek letters or symbols (such as Gamma, Omega, Pi, Sigma or Theta) in Microsoft Word documents in several ways. In this article, we’ll look at different ways to insert Greek symbols.
In Microsoft Word 2010 and later versions, you can have word speak or read a document aloud to you. You will need to add the Speak command to your Quick Access Toolbar or the Ribbon to use this feature. Once you’ve added the command, simply click Speak and Word will read the selected text aloud.
You can stop Word from changing formatting automatically in your documents by turning off AutoFormat As You Type settings in the AutoCorrect dialog box. If text or formatting is changing, there are several options you can turn off.
Microsoft, the Microsoft logo, Microsoft Office and related Microsoft applications and logos are registered trademarks of Microsoft Corporation in Canada, US and other countries. All other trademarks are the property of the registered owners.
Avantix Learning | 1 Yonge Street, Suite 1801 (Toronto Star Building), Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5E 1W7 | firstname.lastname@example.org