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How to Use Excel Formulas in Word Documents (Step-by-step)

How to Use Excel Formulas in Word Documents

Although you can easily use Excel data in a Word document, it’s usually unnecessary when all you need is a small table. 

It’s quite easy to create a table and integrate Excel formulas into a Word document. Still, the number of formulas that can be used is limited.

For example, if you’re trying to input sales data in a table, you may add a column for sales, another one for the total cost, and the third one for estimating profit with a formula. You can also calculate a maximum or an average for each column.


1. Paste the Spreadsheet Data Into Word

In case you already have data populated into a spreadsheet, you just have to copy it into your Microsoft Word document.

Copy the cells that have the data and open a Word document.

Click on the arrow under the Paste button From the top ribbon, and click on Paste Special.

Now you’ll see a new window appear where you’ll need to select what you want to paste the copied content as. Select Microsoft Excel Worksheet Object and select OK.

Your data should now appear in the Word document, and the cells should have the formulas as well.

In case you want to make any edits, you just have to double-click on the pasted content, and your Word document will change into an Excel document, and you’ll be able to do everything you want on a normal spreadsheet.

2. Include Formulas in a Table Cell in Word

Include a table in your Word document and add up data to the table.

Go to the cell where you want to make your computations with a formula. After you’ve selected the cell, switch to the Layout tab from the ribbon at the top and select Formula from the Data group.

You’ll notice that there are two tabs called Layout. You need to select the one that appears under Table Tools in the ribbon.

After clicking on Formula, a small window will appear.

You have to enter the formula you want to use into the first field in the box. In addition to formulas, you may also perform basic arithmetic operations here. 

For example, assuming you want to compute the profit, you could just use the formula:


B2 represents the second cell in the second column, while C2 represents the second cell in the third column.

The second field lets you set the Number Format. For example, if you ever want to calculate profit down to two decimal places, you just have to select a number format accordingly.

The Paste Function field outlines the formulas you can use in Word. In case you can’t remember the name of a function, you could choose one from the dropdown list, and it will be added to the Formula field automatically.

After entering the function, click OK, and you’ll see the computed figure in the cell.

Positional Arguments

Positional arguments either above, below, left, or right can sometimes make things easier, most especially if your table is quite large. 

For example, if you have 20 or more columns in your table, you may use the formula =SUM(ABOVE), instead of referencing each cell inside the parenthesis.

You can use positional arguments with the following functions:

  • SUM
  • MIN
  • MAX

For instance, we could estimate the average sales for the above example using the formula:


If the cell is at the center of the column, you can use a combination of positional arguments. For example, you could add up the values above and below a specific cell using the following formula:


In case you want to add up the values from both the row and the column in a corner cell, you can use the following formula:


Although Microsoft Word offers only a few functions, still, they are quite robust regarding functionality and will easily help you create most tables without running into issues like lack of functionality.

Updating Data and Results

Microsoft Word does not update formula results in real-time like Excel. Still, it will update the results once you close the document and re-open it. You may want to keep things simple, simply update the data, close, and re-open the document.

However, if you want to update the formula results as you’re working on the document, you’ll need to select the results and not just the cell, then right-click on them, and select Update Field.

After clicking Update Field, the formula’s result will update instantly.

Cell References

We have different ways to reference a cell in a Word document.

Bookmark Names

Let’s assume you name your average sales value average_sales, which is a bookmark name. In case you don’t know how to give a cell a bookmark name, choose the cell and navigate to Insert > Bookmark from the ribbon at the top.

Assuming the average sales value is a decimal value, and you want to convert it to an integer. Just reference the average sales value as ROUND(average_sales,0), and it will round the value down to its nearest integer.

RnCn References

The RnCn referencing convention lets you reference a row, column, or a certain cell in a table. The Rn represents the nth row, while the Cn means the nth column. When you want to refer to the fifth column and second row, for example, you’d use R2C5.

You can also choose a range of cells with the RnCn reference, similar to how you would in Excel. For instance, selecting R1C1:R1C6 selects the first six cells of the first row. To select all the rows in which you’re using the formula, just use R (or C for a column).

A1 References

We’re familiar with this convention that Excel uses. The columns are represented by the letter, while the numbers represent the rows. For example, A3 represents the third cell in the first column.


Word tables now easy to use

We hope the next time the need comes for you to use data on a Microsoft Word document, you’ll be able to do it so much faster without first creating a spreadsheet and then importing it into your Word document.