Create and Use Formulas in Tables in Word 2010

Printer Friendly
Text Size: A A A A


A lot of people know that you can create and use tables in Word 2010, but not everyone knows that there are some formulas you can use to manipulate the data in the cells of the table you create similar to what you can do in a spreadsheet.

To learn how this works, start with a blank document in Word, then click the Insert tab on the main ribbon, then click on the Table icon:

Table Icon

For this demonstration we’ll create a simple 2×3 table:

Empty 2 by 3 table

Next, we’ll narrow the cell width and add some data to the top four cells.
data added
Now we’re ready to start adding formulas.

Click on an empty cell, then click on the Layout tab.

Table Tools 0 Layout Tab

Click on the Formula icon all the way on the right side of the ribbon.

Formula Icon

You should get the following popup:

Formual Popup

The top box is for the formula you want to use, the middle box is for the format you would like to have and the bottom box is if you wish to choose from a list of canned functions. The default function above will add up the contents of the cells above it. Note: The equals sign must be used in order for formulas to work.

Formulas are limited to the legal arguments left, right, above & below and apply to either all of the cells in the direction indicated or to just those that have been highlighted.

Clicking on the OK button creates the following:
SUM example
The function has added the two numbers above it and the result appears in the bottom cell.

To learn how to use a different function, click in the empty cell above, then click on the Formula icon again; this time, however, click the Paste function down arrow; you should see the following dropdown box:

Paste dropdown

Scroll down to the Count function and click on it; you should see the following dropdown box:

count example

Not very pretty, so you’ll have to revise it to make it work right; edit it so it looks as follows:

Fixed count

Now click the OK button to insert the function; you should see the following:

count results

Which is correct, the Count function counts how many cells have something in them, in this case, it’s two because there are two cells with data above the answer cell. For a complete list of all the functions available and all the parameters you can use with them, go to Microsoft’s Use a formula in a Word table page. Finally, you can use the Number format dropdown to format the results of your functions.

Number Format

Following we’ve used the money (third) option:
Money Format
The Microsoft Word 2010 table formulas are clearly not nearly as powerful as those in Excel, but if you just have simple math you’d like to represent in your Word documents, table formulas are hard to beat.

This Tech Tip is brought to you by the Business and Technology Section ... IT solutions for today's CPAs. For more information and to view an archive of previous Tech Tips, please visit us here.

Do you have specific topics you would like to see covered in Tech Tips? Email any suggestions to