WD97: How to Set Up a Table as a Spreadsheet in Word

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This article describes how to create simple spreadsheets in Microsoft Word, using tables and the Formula (=) field. In these spreadsheets, you can add, subtract, multiply, and divide values entered in cells.

More information

Referencing Cells

Individual cells are referenced by column letter and row number in the form of "A1" where A represents the column and 1 represents the row. For example, A2 refers to the cell located in the first column second row. To select a row only, the syntax would be "2:2," and to select a column the syntax would be "A:A."

NOTE: All of the examples in this article refer to the following table and can be placed in any blank cell in the table:
   Row        Column
   ---       ---------
             A   B   C
    1      | 2 | 5 | 4 |
    2      | 7 | 3 | 6 |
    3      | 8 | 1 | 0 |
    4      |   |   |   |
When you use this example, you can enter the sum of column A into the blank cell A4 by following these steps:
  1. Place the insertion point into the blank cell A4.
  2. On the Table menu, click Formula.
  3. Under Formula, an automated formula (=SUM(ABOVE)) is shown. You can delete that entry and enter any type of formula as shown in the next section of this article.
  4. You can either leave the Number Format box blank or select an item on the list.
  5. Click OK.

Operations You Can Use to Manipulate Values in Cells

                               Use a formula      Result from
   To do this                  similar to this    the sample
   Add a number to a cell      =(A1) + 3          5

   Add two adjacent cells      =SUM(A1:A2)        9

   Add two non-adjacent cells  =(A1+A3)           10

   Add a range of cells        =SUM(B:B)          9

                                 Use a formula      Result from
   To do this                    similar to this    the sample
   Subtract a number from a cell =(A1)- 3           1

   Subtract two cells            =(A3-B2)           5
                                    Use a formula      Result from
   To do this                       similar to this    the sample
   Multiply a number by a cell      =(A1)* 3           6

   Multiply two adjacent cells      =PRODUCT(A1:A2)    14

   Multiply two non-adjacent cells  =PRODUCT(A1,A3)    16

   Multiply a range of cells        =PRODUCT(B:B)      15
                                   Use a formula    Result from
   To do this                      similar to this  the sample
   Divide a number by a cell       =(A1)/3         .67

   Divide two cells                =C2/A1           3

Referring to Cells


Unlike earlier versions of Word, individual cell references do not need to be enclosed in brackets and parentheses. However, cell ranges, which are separated with a colon such as (A1:A6), must be enclosed in parentheses.

Referencing Cell Ranges:

If the cells are in a contiguous block (they cover a rectangular area), you can shorten the reference to them. For instance, the eight-cell area from A1 to D2 can be referenced as A1:D2.

Referencing Nonadjacent Cells:

When you add or multiply nonadjacent cells, you can refer to each cell individually, or you can separate the references themselves with commas.

NOTE: You can use commas only with the Sum and Product functions.

For example, these formulas are equivalent:
   Sum Example
      {=SUM(A1) + SUM(C2) + SUM(B2)}

   Product Example
      {=PRODUCT(A1) + PRODUCT(C2) + PRODUCT(B2)}

When you subtract or divide nonadjacent cells, you must refer to each cell separately (that is, you cannot use commas), as in the following examples:

      {=SUM(A1) - SUM(C2) - SUM(B3)}
      {=SUM(A1) / SUM(C2) / SUM(B3)}


Relative Rererences

Relative references are useful when you want a generic formula that doesn't refer to specific cells. You can add and delete rows and maintain a correct result. Relative references are also useful when you don't want to retype a formula. For instance, if you want each cell in the fifth column to contain the sum of the numbers of the first four columns in the same row, you can use a relative reference. In this example, the field would resemble the following:
You can also combine relative references with absolute references (references to a specific cell).

Bookmark References

You can apply a bookmark to the contents of any cell or field and use that bookmark in a calculation. This can often simplify the construction of other fields and can save typing.

For example, if you apply a bookmark called "Quantity_Sold" to the contents of cell A3, you can refer to it in another cell.


References to Avoid:

If you refer to an entire row or column and place the field within that range, Word includes the field result in the calculation. Each time you update the calculation, it will include itself in the result. This produces a different result (even if none of the other numbers in the row or column have changed) and yields unreliable results.

   Examples of the Type of Field to Avoid
   {=SUM(C:C)} adds the entire column, including the result. Each time
   you update this field, the result is the sum of the column plus the
   field's previous total. To prevent this behavior, use an absolute
   reference instead, and place the field in another column.

For additional information, please see the following articles in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
185404 WD97: Incorrect Value/Table Cell Inserted Referencing Bookmark
185402 WD97: Calculation in Form Field Shows Wrong Result
185398 WD97: How to Modify a Calculation Field to Appear Blank


Article ID: 185400 - Last Review: October 26, 2013 - Revision: 2.0
Applies to
  • Microsoft Word 97 Standard Edition
kbnosurvey kbarchive kbfield kbinfo kbtable KB185400

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