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Microsoft Word 2003/2004

Calculations within Tables

Rather than performing calculations by hand, you can do basic calculations within your Word table. If your table contains several calculations, a worksheet like Excel may be a better option. The same principles of doing calculations in worksheets are used in Word. Instead of entering the actual value you want to use for the calculation, you will be referring to the cell containing the value. The cell reference is in the form of "Column ID, Row ID." The columns are referred to by letters starting at "A." The rows are referred to by numbers starting at 1. The first cell of the table (i.e., first column, first row) is referred to as A1.
Rows and Columns

This document explains how to use calculations within tables.

return to topFormula Examples

Like pressing addition or multiplication keys on a calculator, you need to designate the appropriate actions when writing formulas. These actions are referred to as operators; the following comprise the basic formula operators:

Addition + Multiplication *
Subtraction - Division /

The following table is an example of a completed travel budget that may be included in a proposal for attending a conference. Following the first table is a description of the formulas used to perform the calculations within the table (indicated by the gray shading).
Travel Budget Table

Formula for Actual Formula About the Formula
Hotel =69.95*3 Computes the total cost for the hotel stay by multiplying 69.95 by 3
Meals =50*4 Computes the total cost of the meals by multiplying 50 by 4
Total Conference
=sum (above) Calculates the total of the costs by adding the values above the formula (B2 through B6)
=b6-b7 Calculates the department contribution by subtracting the grant request from the total conference budget

return to topInserting Formulas

To insert a formula, determine the values or cell references required for the formula and then follow these instructions:

  1. Place your insertion point in the cell where you want to place the formula

  2. From the Table menu, select Formula...
    The Formula dialog box appears.
    HINT: Similar to Excel, based on the numbers in the table and the location of the cell in which you want to place the formula, Word will guess what type of formula you may want (e.g., to add all cells to the left of the formula, =SUM (LEFT) may be placed in the Formula text box).
    Formula dialog box

  3. In the Formula text box, type the desired formula

  4. If necessary, from the Number format pull-down list, select the desired format for the result

  5. Click OK
    The formula is inserted.

return to topRecalculating Formulas

To update values in a table, recalculate the formula(s) using one of the following methods.

Recalculate the Value of an Individual Cell: Keyboard Option

Windows only:

  1. Place your insertion point in the cell, before the numerals

  2. Press [F9]
    Press [Alt] + [Shift] + [U]
    The formula is recalculated.

Recalculate the Value of an Individual Cell: Mouse Option

  1. Place your insertion point in the cell, before the numerals

  2. Windows: Right click the cell » select Update Field
    Macintosh: Press [control] + click the cell » select Update Field
    The formula is recalculated.

Recalculating the Values of the Entire Table


  1. Place your insertion point within the table

  2. From the Table menu, select Select » Table
    The entire table is selected.

  3. Press [F9]
    Press [ALT] + [Shift] + [U]
    All formulas are recalculated.


  1. From the Edit menu, select Select All

  2. Press [control] + click anywhere within the table » select Update Field

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