Software

Office solution: How to quickly add numbers in Word without a table

This week, learn the solution to last week's Office challenge: What's the quickest way to sum a series of numbers in Word?

Last week, we were looking for a quick and easy way to add values in a Word document, without resorting to a table and table formulas. It would be nice if Word displayed the sum in the Status bar, similar to Excel. Well, it does!

Msphoto was the first to mention the Calculate command, which is the solution I had in mind. It isn't readily available, so some users don't know about it. You can use Calculate to sum a series of values when you don't need a more complicated solution, such as a table or linking to Excel. Fortunately, it's easy to add the command to the QAT (or Quick Access Toolbar):

  1. Choose More Commands QAT dropdown.
  2. In the resulting dialog, choose All Commands from the Choose Commands From dropdown.
  3. Select Calculate from the resulting list.
  4. Click Add and then click OK. Word will add the command to the QAT.

If you're using Word 2003, do the following to add the Tools Calculate command:

  1. Choose Customize from the Tools menu.
  2. Click the Commands tab and choose All Commands from the Categories list.
  3. Choose ToolsCalculate from the Commands list.
  4. Drag ToolsCalculate to the toolbar.

To use the Calculate (Tools Calculate) command, you'll need a series of numbers. Simply separate values with a comma, select the values, and then click Calculate to display their sum in the Status bar (which temporarily usurps the other indicators). You can also press [Ctrl]+V to paste the sum into your document.

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
wob
wob

Often you want to sum a column of numbers in Word which are not in a table. You can select the numbers -- which don't even have to line up perfectly -- by holding down the Alt key before dragging down the column, then select calculate. FYI you can hold down the Alt key while dragging in this way to select an undefined column of text you want to copy and paste.

TCribb
TCribb

This works sometimes but other times it says "!Syntax Error" :(

jbenton
jbenton

if you type out a formula eg "2+ 3.5* 4 ^2/(11-4)" it will correctly calculate this (as 10 - it obeys BODMAS too!)

jbenton
jbenton

but I might not want to type in all the numbers and operators when I could just highlight and click and, although you can paste a formula into Calc, it doesn't do BODMAS (well, the standard view doesn't, the scientific view does but it still doesn't recognise the ^ operator) that said, I'd still be lost without it JB

ssharkins
ssharkins

I use the Windows Calculator a lot -- thanks for the reminder!

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