Quickly Sum a Series of Numbers: MS Word

Dennis Faas's picture

There are plenty of tools you can rely on to perform sophisticated or complex calculations, but MS Word offers a command that can be handy when you just need to sum a few numbers without opening another software application.

The command is Tools | Calculate, and although it doesn't appear on any toolbars, it's very easy to add.

  1. Choose Tools | Customize (or double-click an empty spot on any tool bar) to open the Customize dialog box.
  2. Click the Commands tab and choose All Commands from the Categories list box.
  3. Click in the Commands list box and scroll down to select ToolsCalculate
  4. Drag the ToolsCalculate item to the toolbar where you want it to appear.
  5. Click Close to close the Customize dialog box.

Once you have access to the Calculate command, here's how you use it:

Simply highlight a series of numbers (either horizontally or vertically) and click your ToolsCalculate icon. Word will display the sum in the status bar. 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.

It's important to note that the Calculate command works differently from the AutoSum button on the Tables and Borders toolbar.

To use AutoSum, you have to be in an empty cell (usually in a table) and then click the button to insert a formula that will add the numbers in the cells above or to the left of the current cell. It's a sort of light-duty version of Excel's =Sum() function. By contrast, the Calculate command gives you a quick total without requiring you to make a place for the results in your document.

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