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Office challenge: What's the quickest way to sum a series of numbers in Word?

In this week's challenge, test your Office skills by explaining how to sum numbers in Word without using table formulas.

In a recent challenge, we discovered that Excel displays the number of selected cells (storing data) in the Status bar. You can use this same trick to display the sum of currently selected values. Word has a few mathematical tricks of its own, but most users don't know about them. For a permanent summing solution, use a table, as discussed in Add calculating rows and columns to a Word table. But what if you just have a quick summing task - is there anything in Word similar to Excel's Status bar quick calculation? How would you quickly add a series of values in a Word document, without using table formulas?

About

Susan Sales Harkins is an IT consultant, specializing in desktop solutions. Previously, she was editor in chief for The Cobb Group, the world's largest publisher of technical journals.

7 comments
mail
mail

Just to add more detail to msphoto comment. Highlight a series of numbers (either horizontally or vertically) and click the ToolsCalculate icon that you have added from the Customise list. Word will display the sum in the status bar at bottom left for about 5 seconds. It will also place that sum on the clipboard, so if you need to paste it into a document, just click in the desired spot and press CTRL +V or right-click and select Paste. I have the command added to my Quick Access toolbar.

rmsphoto
rmsphoto

Use the "Calculate" [custom] command to sum any highlighted set of numbers, or complete a properly formatted calculation. The result will be in your clipboard. (The command must be added from the "more commands" option, as it is NOT part of any standard toolbar.)

zimmerwoman
zimmerwoman

You can add other operators and it will calculate that as well. I entered "5*5" and it returned the result of 25. I don't know what the utility is yet, but it's a new toy and I usually find out what those are good for by playing with them.

intlnet
intlnet

How does one find the contents of the Clipboard quickly?

dexterg3
dexterg3

Pressing Ctrl+C twice will bring up the clipboard (shortcut may need to be activated in the clipboard options).

zimmerwoman
zimmerwoman

The clipboard is on the Home tab of the ribbon. There is actually a "Clipboard" section and if you click on the arrow in the lower right corner, it toggles the clipboard on or off. The keyboard commands are Alt, H, FO (or Alt, H, F,O - they work the same) . The deal is, that takes you back to the Home tab and that's great if that's where you want the menu focus. If you use multiple clipboard entries a lot, or don't want to leave the current ribbon tab you are using to view the clipboard, it makes more sense to add it to the Quick Access Toolbar. To see the clipboard quickly with maximum information and minimum disruption: Right click on the Quick Access Toolbar (QAT), select "customize the QAT". Where it say "Popular Commands" ignore it and select "All Commands". In that list, add "Clipboard" with the office logo on the icon. Then click the OK button and the clipboard is on your QAT. You can see the last 24 clipboard entries and paste or delete any of them. It also leaves the ribbon with the focus you had before you activated/deactivated the clipboard. The only thing I think is a pain (a very minor one) is that you can't access anyting but the latest clipboard entry without taking your hands off the keyboard. The formula suggestions here are great. I didn't know the possibilities.

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