Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, and 2013. If you are using an earlier version (Word 2003 or earlier), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for earlier versions of Word, click here: Entering Calculations in a Form Field.

Entering Calculations in a Form Field

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated September 23, 2015)


Word allows you to create all sorts of forms, and even provides form fields that you can add to your documents. These form fields—known now as legacy form fields—are how you create and design your form. Exactly how you add legacy form fields has been covered in past issues of WordTips.

You may want to define a form field to contain a calculation. For instance, you might want a particular form field to contain the sum or the product of two other fields. Let's say you have two fields in your document; one of them is named Principal and the other is named Interest. If you wanted to create another field that shows the result of the two fields when multiplied by each other, you can follow these steps:

  1. Insert the result field as you normally would. (You would use the tools on the Developer tab of the ribbon.)
  2. Right-click the form field you just entered and click on the Properties option from the resulting Context menu. Word displays the Text Form Field Options dialog box. (See Figure 1.)
  3. Figure 1. The Text Form Field Options dialog box.

  4. Using the Type drop-down list, choose Calculation.
  5. In the Expression field of the dialog box, enter the following expression:
     =Principal * Interest
  1. In the Bookmark field of the dialog box, enter the name for this field (Result).
  2. Click on OK.

Now, whenever the form fields are updated, the Result field will contain the result of your principal multiplied by your interest.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (7838) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, and 2013. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Entering Calculations in a Form Field.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He  is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...


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What is 1 + 8?

2016-07-29 14:46:24


I have wonky trouble with adding two calculation fields together. i.e.

field "Text151" returns a calculated subtotal of 10.
field "Text 172" returns a calculated subtotal of 10.

field "Text 174" with the formula of "=Text151 + Text172" returns a calculated total of 1010.

Hope someone can solve this for me as I am creating a large financial affidavit form which has many of these subtotal and total calculations

2016-06-21 02:00:39


I have 2 drop down lists:
Dropdown 1 is a list of Study Areas.
Dropdown 2 populates with a list of books, depending on which study area is chosen in Dropdown 1.

I would like to add a field that populates the cost of a book chosen in Dropdown 2.

Can anyone help at all. Thanks in advance.


2016-05-24 11:36:14


I had the same problem as my calculation was to total three fields. I got it to work by ticking 'fill-in enabled' for the first field. I then ticked both 'fill-in enabled' and 'calculate on exit' for the second and third fields and finally for my results field I just ticked 'calculate on exit'. This seemed to solve the problem.

2015-09-30 14:46:49


Seeing I did not see the earlier tip, so this meant nothing to me.

2015-09-23 19:01:49


Try clicking on Calculate on exit

2014-12-17 16:23:29


I'm having the same problem.

2013-10-01 12:35:37


For some reason the result is not updating after I tab away from the result cell.

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