Calculating Formulas with Microsoft Word

February 16, 2011, By Christian Cawley

Could Microsoft Word 2010 be the most versatile of all of Microsoft’s applications? With the ability to be formatted for different uses such as writing scripts for stage, TV or radio, and the functionality to size pages, insert shapes, decorate pages, perform spelling, grammar and other review checks which can all be brought together with the standard word processor tools to create books, posters, reports and more, the additional use of tables and formulas could be said to infringe on the functions offered in Microsoft Excel.

However this isn’t true, of course. While there might be some overlap, the majority of table- or chart-based functions reside in Excel. But this doesn’t mean that there is no need to have numbers in Word documents.

For instance, you might require and auto calculation feature in an invoice, or simply be creating a small table for illustrative purposes that you would like to display the correct total based on the input figures rather than spending time working it out with a calculator.

Creating an invoice is a common task in Microsoft Word, so let’s have a look at how this might be done with the added bonus of adding the SUM formula to create a total.

Calculating formulas in Microsoft Word

Creating a Formula-Based Invoice in Microsoft Word 2010

To begin you will need your own invoice document creating. This can be done in two ways. First, you might open Word and go to File > New to browse through the Invoices to find something suitable, or else you might create your own.

If you do opt to create your own invoice, you will need to include:

  • Your name/ company name
  • Your address
  • Your contact details: phone, email, etc
  • The recipient’s address
  • An invoice number
  • A description of the service or product
  • A footer advising where to make cheques payable to, and a due date, finishing off with a note of thanks.

In addition to this, you should include a table with four columns. The first should be headed “Description”, the second “Hours”, the third “Rate” and the final column should be headed “Amount”. You can build a table using the Insert > Table function, choosing to either create a table based on selecting a number of cells, using the Insert Table tool to specify a layout framework or using the Draw Table tool to create something with an unusual shape.

With your table created, you’re ready to add information to it.

Adding a Formula to a Table in Microsoft Word 2010

With the data entered into the table (for instance a description of the job done might be the baking of a cake, which might have taken 4 hours at $10 an hour) you will be ready to start totalling this up using the formula tools in Word 2010.

With the insertion point in the amount column (at the end of each row that you have entered figures for) look for the Table Tools > Layout tab on the ribbon toolbar and select Formula; by default the formula window that opens should read =SUM(LEFT). Add the Number format of your preference and click OK to add this. Then in your total row (used to display a total of all amount subtotals) again add a formula; this time, the formula window should read =SUM(ABOVE).

And that’s it – a formula-based invoice document that will auto-calculate!

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