How to Total a Column in Word: A Step-by-Step Guide

Adding up numbers in a column in Microsoft Word is a cakewalk once you get the hang of it. All you need to do is insert a formula into the cell you want the total to appear in, specify the cells you’re adding up, and voilà! The total appears as if by magic. No need for a calculator or tedious manual addition.

Step by Step Tutorial: How to Total a Column in Word

Before diving into the steps, let’s understand why we’re here. Totalling a column in Word comes in handy when you’re dealing with tables that include numbers. It saves you time and reduces the risk of errors that can occur when adding up numbers manually. Ready? Let’s get started.

Step 1: Insert a Table

Insert a table into your Word document where you want the numbers to be totaled.

Inserting a table is as simple as clicking the ‘Insert’ tab on the toolbar, then clicking on ‘Table’. You can choose how many rows and columns you want by highlighting the squares in the grid that appears.

Step 2: Enter Numbers into the Column

Type the numbers you want to total into the column of the table.

Just click into each cell in the column and type in your numbers. Make sure you’re consistent with your formatting – if you’re dealing with currency, for instance, format each cell to reflect that.

Step 3: Click on the Cell for the Total

Click on the cell at the bottom of the column where you want the total to appear.

This is where the magic happens. This cell will soon display the sum of all the numbers above it.

Step 4: Insert the Formula

Go to the ‘Layout’ tab, click on ‘Formula’ in the ‘Data’ group.

Once you click on ‘Formula,’ a dialog box will pop up. This is where you’ll tell Word what you want it to do.

Step 5: Type in the Formula

In the Formula dialog box, type =SUM(ABOVE) and click ‘OK’.

The word ‘ABOVE’ in the formula tells Word to add up all the numbers in the cells above the one you’re currently in. If you want to total a row instead, you would use =SUM(LEFT).

Once you click ‘OK’, the total of the column should appear in the cell you selected. If it doesn’t, double-check that you’ve typed the formula correctly and that your numbers are entered correctly.

After you complete the steps above, the cell you selected for the total will display the sum of all the numbers in the column above it. If you make any changes to the numbers in the column, the total will automatically update to reflect the new sum. It’s that easy!

Tips: Perfecting the Art of Totaling a Column in Word

  • Always double-check to make sure your numbers are entered correctly before totaling.
  • If you’re using decimal numbers, ensure that the decimal places are consistent to avoid errors in the total.
  • Want to total multiple columns? No problem. Just repeat the steps for each column.
  • If your table spans across multiple pages, the =SUM(ABOVE) formula will still work.
  • Customize the appearance of your total by using the font and paragraph formatting options in Word.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I total a column in Word on a Mac?

Yes, the steps to total a column in Word are the same for both Windows and Mac users.

What if I want to sum only specific cells in a column?

You can modify the formula to include only the cells you want by specifying the cell range (e.g., =SUM(B1:B5)).

Can I use other formulas in Word like in Excel?

Word offers a variety of formulas similar to Excel, but the list is not as extensive. For complex calculations, consider using Excel.

How do I update the total if I add more rows to the table?

The total should update automatically. If it doesn’t, click on the cell with the total, then click ‘Update’.

Can I format the total to show a currency symbol?

Yes, you can format the cell to show a currency symbol by selecting the cell, right-clicking, choosing ‘Number Format,’ and then selecting your desired format.


  1. Insert a table.
  2. Enter numbers into the column.
  3. Click on the cell for the total.
  4. Insert the formula.
  5. Type in the formula.


Totaling a column in Word is a super handy trick that can save you time and prevent errors. Whether you’re creating a financial report, an invoice, or just keeping track of numbers, knowing how to total a column will make your life easier. Remember to double-check your numbers and formulas to ensure accuracy, and don’t be afraid to play around with different formulas to see what works best for your needs. With these steps and tips, you’ll be a Word table whiz in no time. So go ahead and give it a try—let the power of Word do the math for you!

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