
We'll use this simple budget table for the examples in this article
 How tables work
 Using tables as minispreadsheets
 Using tables to create professionallooking forms
Simple Word formulas
If you've used Excel very much, you're familiar with the concept of a formula that allows you to perform calculations based on information in your spreadsheet. A Word table provides you with similar capability, but nowhere close to the extent provided by Excel. In Excel, for example, you can create complex formulas that references information from multiple spreadsheets and manipulate the output so that it appears the way you like. Word can't. Bear in mind that Word is a word processor and Excel is a spreadsheet, so you shouldn't expect the tools to have features that stray into the other's area. With that said, Word does provide you with some capability to perform calculations based on information in your table.
Suppose, for example, you have the following budget table (above) that you want to include in a Word document.
Notice that there are two totals areas in the table shown here. One runs down the righthand side of the table and the other runs underneath the table. The column at the right will hold values that indicate the total spending in each category while the row at the bottom of the table will hold values that indicate the total spent each month. 
The formula window is simple but has quite a bit of functionality

For these formulas, I left the Number format box empty

The Count function just counts the number of cells while the Max function locates the largest value

Word can't always figure out what you want

Columns get letters and rows get numbers

I've provided both the formula and the result. The shaded cells indicate which cells are involved in the formula for a particula
 Word has a fraction of the functions provided by Excel.
 Excel calculates changes onthefly.
For many, Word tables are more than sufficient. If you need more, but also need the power of Word's documentcreation capabilities, a future article in this series will detail how you can combine the best of both products into a single document.
The formula window is simple but has quite a bit of functionality
But why dig out the calculator, punch in the numbers, and type the totals into the cells when you can have Word do the work for you?To make Word do the work, position your cursor in one of the month cells in the last row of the table and choose Table  Formula. You will get a window similar to the one shown here.
When you first open the window, the Formula box will read =SUM(ABOVE), as long as you have positioned your cursor in the bottom row of the table. If you place your cursor in one of the cells in the righthand total column, the Formula box will instead read =SUM(LEFT). Word is smart enough to take a look at your data to figure out which formulas make the most sense.
Immediately below the Formula box, you see the Number format box. As you might expect, the options in this box allow you to indicate how you want to format the result. In the example shown here, the output would be formatted with a leading dollar sign.