Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016. 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: Conditional Calculations in Word.

Conditional Calculations in Word

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated October 28, 2017)

One big benefit of using a spreadsheet program like Excel is the ability to create formulas that define results based on other information within the spreadsheet. Word is not Excel, but it does allow you to perform simple arithmetic based on the contents of a table. This can come in very handy in many instances.

What if you want to perform a conditional calculation, however? For instance, let's assume you have the following calculation field in a table cell:

{ = (B2-B1) }

What if you want to display the result only if B2 is not equal to zero? If B2 is zero, then you want the result displayed by the calculation to be zero.

To create conditional calculations, you use the IF field. This field causes Word to do a comparison, and then choose different results based on the outcome of the comparison. In this case, you want to test if B2 is equal to zero. If it is, then you want to return a value of zero. If it is not, then you want to do the subtraction. This is how such a compound field calculation would appear:

{ =IF (B2=0,0,B2-B1) }

The key factor in this IF formula is the comparison it performs. The comparison is the first element within the parentheses, in this case B2=0. The result of this comparison determines which of the following elements are used in the field. If the comparison is TRUE, then the first element (0) is used. If the comparison is FALSE, then the second element (B2-B1) is used. You can easily change the comparison to some other operation, if desired. For instance, if you want to make sure that zero was returned anytime that B2 was 0 or less, then you could use the formula B2<=0.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (9828) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Conditional Calculations in Word.

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. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Changing the Way Endnotes Are Numbered

Word is flexible on how it numbers your endnotes. This tip shows how easy it is to make the changes to the numbering system.

Discover More

Adding an Ellipsis to the Beginning of Some Paragraphs

The Find and Replace feature of Word is very powerful. You can even use it to add a unique character to the beginning of ...

Discover More

Strange ATAN Results

You may use Excel's trigonometric functions to do some quick calculations, and suddenly notice that the results in your ...

Discover More

The First and Last Word on Word! Bestselling For Dummies author Dan Gookin puts his usual fun and friendly candor back to work to show you how to navigate Word 2013. Spend more time working and less time trying to figure it all out! Check out Word 2013 For Dummies today!

More WordTips (ribbon)

Inserting Custom Properties with Fields

If you define a group of custom properties for a document, you may want a way to display the contents of those properties ...

Discover More

A Quick-and-Dirty Word Count

Word provides a tool that counts the number of words in a document. Here's an alternative method of calculating the a ...

Discover More

Starting Chapters on Odd-Numbered Pages

Want to start a new heading on an odd-numbered page? You can do it with section breaks, obviously, but you can also do it ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is six minus 0?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)


This Site

Got a version of Word that uses the ribbon interface (Word 2007 or later)? This site is for you! If you use an earlier version of Word, visit our WordTips site focusing on the menu interface.

Newest Tips
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.