Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Microsoft 365. 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: Adding a Dynamic Total in Your Document.

Adding a Dynamic Total in Your Document

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated March 6, 2023)
This tip applies to Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Microsoft 365


You can use Word to easily create a document that dynamically reflects changing values. For instance, you may have a document in which you have several figures mentioned. This might be a collections statement you are sending to a customer. Later you need to total these figures so you can show a total amount due. You can use bookmarks and a field to calculate the total due automatically. This is done in the following manner:

  1. Select the first amount that you want included in the total.
  2. Assign a bookmark to the selected amount; give it a name such as Amount1.
  3. Repeat steps 1 and 2 for each of the other amounts in your document, providing different bookmark names each time.
  4. Position the insertion point where you want the total inserted.
  5. Press Ctrl+F9 to insert a pair of field braces. Make sure the insertion point stays between the braces.
  6. Type =Amount1 + Amount2 + Amount3, and so on, where these are bookmark names. Make sure you include the names of all the bookmarks you defined and that you want included in the total.
  7. Press F9 to update the field.

Now, any time you change the amounts that you bookmarked, the field you inserted in step 6 will automatically be updated to the correct total. (You may need to print the document to update the fields, or you may need to select the field and press F9.)

You should note that this technique will not work properly if the amounts are formatted. For instance, if the amounts you want to sum include dollar signs and commas, then these will interfere with getting a valid sum with your formula.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (11406) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Microsoft 365. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Adding a Dynamic Total in Your Document.

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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