How to Sum a Row in MS Word

By Jackie Johnson

Microsoft Word has functions built into it that help users sum numbers in tables, whether the data are entered in rows or columns. The math functions built into Word use syntax similar to Excel, Microsoft's spreadsheet program. The Word math functions are not as complex as what can be accomplished using Excel, but for users who are creating numerical tables, the ease of Word's commands to add or subtract help Word users quickly and accurately enter numerical summaries in the tables in Word documents.

Step 1

Open a new or existing Word document. If you are creating a new document, press "Enter" a few times before you create the table to give you space above the table to enter text that describes your data once you have finished the data entry, formatting and addition tasks.

Step 2

Calculate how many columns you need for your table and add two more, one for the data labels and the other to enter the sum of the numbers in the row. Place your cursor where you want to create the table and pull down the "Table" menu, choosing the table of your choice, typing in the number of rows and columns you need. When assigning data labels, capitalize the first letter of each word that describes the numbers.

Step 3

Enter the data you are using inside the table, either by using the 10-key pad on most keyboards or the numbers at the top of the keyboard. You can copy and paste numbers from Internet sites or data from spreadsheets for your table, but you will have to count the number of cells these numbers occupy to paste them. Use the mouse to select the exact number of cells within the row in your table and then paste the numbers you have selected from the data you are using. If you are pasting copied data that are three cells across and four rows down, you will have to select the exact number of cells and rows in the Word table to paste them accurately.

Step 4

Click on the last cell in the row and pull down the "Table" menu once you have entered or pasted the data in the table and select "Formula." A text box appears that automatically detects numbers in either rows or columns. If the text box says "=sum(left)," click "OK." The "left" in this instance will sum up all the numbers it detects to the left. If you are summing multiple rows, select all the cells in the column and Word will automatically calculate the sums.The second line of the text box for entering formulas lets you format the number before you click "OK." The choices include the number of decimals you want for either whole numbers or percentages. By selecting one of these options before you click "OK," Word will automatically add and format the sum.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you change a number once you have used the sum command, you will have to reenter the function. Unlike Excel, Word does not change totals automatically. If your table has blank cells, put zeros in the cells so Word calculates the whole row.