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If you need to total values in a Word table, you can do so without breaking out the calculator or entering the data into Excel and then copying it back. Word can do simple calculations such as summing, multiplying, and averaging.

Let’s say you have a table something like the following. You have the units sold and the per unit cost, and you want to multiply those to get a total.

table of sales figures in word

Start by placing your insertion point into the blank top cell in the “Total” column.

Next, switch to the new “Layout” tab that appears toward the right end of the Ribbon (there’s a separate Layout tab just for tables) and then click the “Formula” button.


In this example, we are going to multiply the value in the “Units” column by the value in the “Unit Cost” column. To do this, type the following into the “Formula” field to multiply the values in the two cells to the left of the current cell:


Select an option from the Number format drop-down list to specify the format for the result of the formula.

Click “OK” to accept the settings and insert the formula into the cell.

The result of the formula displays in the cell.

the total now appears in the cell

Unfortunately, Word doesn’t let you select a bunch of cells at once and create a formula for all of them in one step, so you’ll have to perform these same steps in each of the other cells in the “Total” column.


When you’re done, you’ll have a fully formed table.

This technique works pretty much the same way for columns as it does for rows. Say, for example, that we wanted to add all the values in the “Total” column to figure out our total overall sales.

Place your insertion point in an empty cell at the bottom of the “Total” column (insert an extra row if you need to). Head to the “Layout” tab and click the “Formula” button again.

This time, we’ll use the following formula:


The “ABOVE” parameter tells Word to add all the values above the current cell.

Select an appropriate Number format and click “OK.”

The total of all the values in the “Total” column displays in the cell.

Note: If you add new rows or columns of values to a table in Word, the formulas you’ve got in place will not automatically update. To update a formula, right-click on the formula and choose “Update Field” from the popup menu.

When it comes to managing data in tables, Word offers nowhere near the power of Excel. It’s fine for small tables like this where you don’t expect values to change much and you don’t need to view your data in different ways. If you need more functionality, you’re much better off inserting an actual Excel spreadsheet into your Word document.

Profile Photo for Hayley Milliman Hayley Milliman
Hayley Milliman is a former Teach for America teacher turned curriculum developer and writer. Over the past five years, she's written hundreds of articles on everything from Microsoft Office to education to history. She's co-author of the book .
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