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How to total rows and columns in microsoft word

In this article, we want to offer you 4 effective ways to distribute rows and columns evenly in your Word table.

How to total rows and columns in microsoft word

By default, when you insert a table, row height and column width are distributed evenly. But as you input texts and numeric data into table cells, each row and column takes different height and width. This diminishes visual effect more or less. Therefore, we are delighted to show you approach to distribute tows and columns evenly.

Method 1: Distribute Rows and Columns with Command in the Ribbon

How to total rows and columns in microsoft word

  1. First of all, put cursor inside the target table.
  2. Then click on the plus sign on the upper left corner of the table to select it.
  3. Next click “Layout” under “Table Tools”.
  4. In “Cell Size” group, click “Distribute Rows” to set row height equally. And then click “Distribute Columns” to set column width evenly.

Method 2: Distribute Rows and Columns with Contextual Menu

How to total rows and columns in microsoft word

  1. Repeat the first 2 steps in method 1 to select table.
  2. Next right click and click “Distribute Rows Evenly” and “Distribute Columns Evenly”.

Method 3: Distribute Rows and Columns by Specifying Height and Width

How to total rows and columns in microsoft word

  1. Similarly, repeat first 2 steps in method 1 to select table.
  2. Then right click on table to choose “Table Properties” on contextual menu.
  3. In the box open, click “Row” tab first.
  4. Then check the “Specify height” box and enter a value.
  5. Remember to choose “Exactly” for the row height.
  6. Next click “Column” tab.
  7. Likewise, check “Preferred width” box and then enter a width value.
  8. Lastly, click “OK”.

Method 4: Distribute Rows and Columns in All Tables in the Document via VBA

Above 3 methods all focus on distributing rows and columns in a single table. This way below shall allow you to batch process all tables in a document at one time.

  1. To start off, press “Alt+ F11” to trigger VBA editor.
  2. Next click “Normal” project on the left column.
  3. Then click “Insert”.
  4. And choose “Module” on its drop-down menu.How to total rows and columns in microsoft word
  5. Double click on new module to open it and paste following macro there:
  1. Last but not the least, click “Run”.How to total rows and columns in microsoft word

Then you can find rows and columns in all tables in this document are distributed evenly.

Address Word Errors

Now and then, we run into Word issues, such as corrupt word and broken documents. Under such circumstances, we must take action immediately to fix problems as to minimize the downtime and economic cost. And our best choice is to purchase an excellent repairing tool.

Hayley Milliman
How to total rows and columns in microsoft wordHayley Milliman
Writer

Hayley Milliman is a former Teach for America teacher turned curriculum developer and writer. Over the past five years, she’s written hundreds of articles on everything from Microsoft Office to education to history. She’s co-author of the book Museum Hack’s Guide to History’s Fiercest Females. Read more.

How to total rows and columns in microsoft word

If you need to total values in a Word table, you can do so without breaking out the calculator or entering the data into Excel and then copying it back. Word can do simple calculations such as summing, multiplying, and averaging.

Let’s say you have a table something like the following. You have the units sold and the per unit cost, and you want to multiply those to get a total.

How to total rows and columns in microsoft word

Start by placing your insertion point into the blank top cell in the “Total” column.

Next, switch to the new “Layout” tab that appears toward the right end of the Ribbon (there’s a separate Layout tab just for tables) and then click the “Formula” button.

How to total rows and columns in microsoft word

In this example, we are going to multiply the value in the “Units” column by the value in the “Unit Cost” column. To do this, type the following into the “Formula” field to multiply the values in the two cells to the left of the current cell:

Select an option from the Number format drop-down list to specify the format for the result of the formula.

How to total rows and columns in microsoft word

Click “OK” to accept the settings and insert the formula into the cell.

How to total rows and columns in microsoft word

The result of the formula displays in the cell.

How to total rows and columns in microsoft word

Unfortunately, Word doesn’t let you select a bunch of cells at once and create a formula for all of them in one step, so you’ll have to perform these same steps in each of the other cells in the “Total” column.

When you’re done, you’ll have a fully formed table.

How to total rows and columns in microsoft word

This technique works pretty much the same way for columns as it does for rows. Say, for example, that we wanted to add all the values in the “Total” column to figure out our total overall sales.

Place your insertion point in an empty cell at the bottom of the “Total” column (insert an extra row if you need to). Head to the “Layout” tab and click the “Formula” button again.

This time, we’ll use the following formula:

The “ABOVE” parameter tells Word to add all the values above the current cell.

How to total rows and columns in microsoft word

Select an appropriate Number format and click “OK.”

How to total rows and columns in microsoft word

The total of all the values in the “Total” column displays in the cell.

How to total rows and columns in microsoft word

Note: If you add new rows or columns of values to a table in Word, the formulas you’ve got in place will not automatically update. To update a formula, right-click on the formula and choose “Update Field” from the popup menu.

When it comes to managing data in tables, Word offers nowhere near the power of Excel. It’s fine for small tables like this where you don’t expect values to change much and you don’t need to view your data in different ways. If you need more functionality, you’re much better off inserting an actual Excel spreadsheet into your Word document.

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How to total rows and columns in microsoft word Hayley Milliman
Hayley Milliman is a former Teach for America teacher turned curriculum developer and writer. Over the past five years, she’s written hundreds of articles on everything from Microsoft Office to education to history. She’s co-author of the book .
Read Full Bio »

To add up a column or row of numbers in a table, use the Formula command.

Click the table cell where you want your result to appear.

On the Layout tab (under Table Tools), click Formula.

How to total rows and columns in microsoft word

In the Formula box, check the text between the parentheses to make sure Word includes the cells you want to sum, and click OK.

=SUM(ABOVE) adds the numbers in the column above the cell you’re in.

=SUM(LEFT) adds the numbers in the row to the left of the cell you’re in.

=SUM(BELOW) adds the numbers in the column below the cell you’re in.

=SUM(RIGHT) adds the numbers in the row to the right of the cell you’re in.

Tip: If you change any of the numbers you’re adding, select the sum and press F9 to update the total.

You can use more than one formula in a table. For example, you can add up each row of numbers in the right-hand column, and then you can add up those results at the bottom of the column.

Other formulas for tables

Word includes other functions for tables—for example, AVERAGE and PRODUCT.

Click the table cell where you want your result.

On the Layout tab (under Table Tools), click Formula.

How to total rows and columns in microsoft word

In the Formula box, delete the SUM formula, but keep the equal sign (=). Then click the Paste function box and click the function you want.

How to total rows and columns in microsoft word

Between the parentheses, type which table cells you want to include in the formula, and then click OK:

Type ABOVE to include the numbers in the column above the cell you’re in.

Type LEFT to include the numbers in the row to the left of the cell you’re in.

Type BELOW to include the numbers in the column below the cell you’re in.

Type RIGHT to include the numbers in the row to the right of the cell you’re in.

For example, to average numbers in the row to the left of the cell, click AVERAGE and type LEFT:

To multiply two numbers, click PRODUCT and type the location of the table cells:

Tip: To include a more specific range of cells in a formula, you can refer to specific cells. Imagine each column in your table has a letter and each row has a number, like in a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet. For example, to multiply the numbers from the second and third columns in the second row, type =PRODUCT(B2:C2).

Lori Kaufman
How to total rows and columns in microsoft wordLori Kaufman
Writer

Lori Kaufman is a technology expert with 25 years of experience. She’s been a senior technical writer, worked as a programmer, and has even run her own multi-location business. Read more.

How to total rows and columns in microsoft word

If you’re working in Word and you need to total values in a table, you can do so without having to enter the data into Excel and then copy and paste it into Word. Word can do simple calculations such as summing, multiplying, and averaging.

NOTE: When you add new rows or columns of values to a table in Word, the formulas will not automatically update. To update a formula, right-click on the formula and choose Update Field from the popup menu.

To enter a formula into a cell in a table, put the cursor in the cell and click the Layout tab under Table Tools.

How to total rows and columns in microsoft word

Click Formula in the Data section of the Layout tab.

How to total rows and columns in microsoft word

In this example, we are going to multiply the Units by the Unit Cost and then total the Total column. To do this, we enter the following in the Formula edit box on the Formula dialog box to multiply the two number to the left of the current cell:

Select an option from the Number format drop-down list to specify the format format for the result of the formula.

NOTE: For more information about the formulas available and how to use them, see Microsoft’s Office site.

How to total rows and columns in microsoft word

Click OK to accept the settings and insert the formula into the cell.

How to total rows and columns in microsoft word

The result of the formula displays in the cell.

NOTE: If you right-click on a cell containing a formula and select Toggle Field Codes from the popup menu, the actual formula displays in the cell, as shown in the first image at the beginning of this article. Right-click again and select Toggle Field Codes again to display the result.

How to total rows and columns in microsoft word

We followed the same steps to multiply the Units and Unit Cost in each of the other rows.

How to total rows and columns in microsoft word

Now, make sure there’s an extra row at the bottom of the table so we can total the costs. Put the cursor in the empty cell at the bottom of the Total column. Click Formula in the Data section of the Layout tab again to access the Formula dialog box. Enter the following formula in the Formula edit box (the formula might default to the SUM formula with ABOVE as the argument):

Select an appropriate Number format and click OK.

How to total rows and columns in microsoft word

The total of the Total column displays in the cell.

How to total rows and columns in microsoft word

If you want to try out this feature, we’ve included the SampleWordTable we used. The totals in the Total column are just numbers. Replace those with the PRODUCT formula and then add a row at the bottom to total the Total column.

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How to total rows and columns in microsoft word Lori Kaufman
Lori Kaufman is a technology expert with 25 years of experience. She’s been a senior technical writer, worked as a programmer, and has even run her own multi-location business.
Read Full Bio »

A Totals row in Access helps you see, at a quick glance, what the totals are for columns on a datasheet. For example, in a table of purchase information, we can show the sum of the price, or units purchased, or a total count of the items by adding a Totals row to the datasheet:

How to total rows and columns in microsoft word

Note: To show the Sum value for a column, the column’s data type has to be set to Number, Decimal or Currency. For non-numeric columns, you can only select the Count total type.

Add a Totals row

Double-click the table, query, or split form from the Navigation Pane to open it in Datasheet View.

On the Home tab, in the Records group, click Totals.

A Total row is added at the end of your datasheet:

How to total rows and columns in microsoft word

For each cell in the Total row where you want a total to appear, click in the cell and select the kind of total you want.

Selecting the total type

After adding the Total row, you select what type of totals value is displayed for each column. For example, aggregates like sums can be displayed when the data type is set to Number, Decimal, or Currency. A count of values is possible when the data type is a text value.

Let’s have the datasheet in this example show us the total sum value for the Purchase Price and Units Purchased columns and the total count for the Item column in the image below:

Instead of the word Total in the first column, we can show a total record count. Click the totals row for the Item column, click the arrow and select Count to see the total number or count of items.

Next, click the arrow in the Purchase Price column and select Sum to see the total purchase price of all items.

Repeat the previous step for the Unit Purchased column to see the totals for the units purchased.

How to total rows and columns in microsoft word

Note: Though the Total row can’t be deleted or cut, it can be hidden by clicking Totals on the Home tab.

Understand Sum and the other aggregate functions

Aggregate functions perform calculations on columns of data and return a single result. You use aggregate functions when you need to calculate a single value, such as a sum or an average. As you proceed, remember that you use aggregate functions with columns of data. That may seem like an obvious statement, but when you design and use a database, you tend to focus on rows of data and individual records — you make sure that users can enter data in a field, move the cursor to the right or left and fill in the next field, and so on. In contrast, you use aggregate functions to focus on groups of records in columns.

For example, suppose you use Access to store and track sales data. You can use aggregate functions to count the number of products sold in one column, calculate total sales amounts in a second column, and calculate the average sales amount for each product in a third column.

This table lists and describes the aggregate functions that Access provides in the Totals row. Remember that Access provides additional aggregate functions, but you must use them in queries.

Description

Use with the data type(s)

Available in Totals row?

Calculates the average value for a column. The column must contain numeric, currency, or date/time data. The function ignores null values.

Number, Decimal, Currency, Date/Time

Counts the number of items in a column.

All data types except complex repeating scalar data, such as a column of multivalued lists. For more information about multivalued lists, see the articles Guide to multivalued fields and Create or delete a multivalued field.

Returns the item with the highest value. For text data, the highest value is the last alphabetic value; and Access ignores case. The function ignores null values.

Number, Decimal, Currency, Date/Time

Returns the item with the lowest value. For text data, the lowest value is the first alphabetic value; and Access ignores case. The function ignores null values.

Number, Decimal, Currency, Date/Time

Measures how widely values are dispersed from an average value (a mean). For more information, see More about the Standard Deviation and Variance functions, in the next section.

Number, Decimal, Currency

Adds the items in a column. Works only on numeric and currency data.

Number, Decimal, Currency

Measures the statistical variance of all values in the column. You can use this function only on numeric and currency data. If the table contains less than two rows, Access returns a null value. For more information about variance functions, see More about the Standard Deviation and Variance functions, in the next section.

Number, Decimal, Currency

More about the Standard Deviation and Variance functions

The Standard Deviation and Variance functions compute statistical values. Specifically, they calculate where values are clustered around their mean (their average) in a standard distribution (a bell curve).

For example, suppose you randomly collect 10 tools stamped from the same machine and measure them for breaking strength — a process that tests the machine and your quality control measures. If you compute an average breaking strength, you can see that most of the tools have a breaking strength that is close to that average, while a few have a greater strength and a few have a lesser strength. However, if you only compute the average breaking strength, that value does not tell you how well your quality control process works, because a few exceptionally strong or weak tools can skew the average up or down.

The Variance and Standard Deviation functions work around that problem by telling you how close your values are to the mean. For breaking strength, the smaller the numbers returned by either function indicate that your manufacturing processes are working well, because few of the tools have a breaking strength above or below the average.

A complete discussion of variance and standard deviation is beyond the scope of this article. You can consult any number of statistics Web sites for more information about both topics. Remember these rules as you use the Variance and Standard Deviation functions:

Lori Kaufman
How to total rows and columns in microsoft wordLori Kaufman
Writer

Lori Kaufman is a technology expert with 25 years of experience. She’s been a senior technical writer, worked as a programmer, and has even run her own multi-location business. Read more.

How to total rows and columns in microsoft word

You’ve created a table in Word and started to enter your data. Then, you realize that the table should be transposed, meaning the rows should be columns and vice versa. Rather than recreating the table and manually entering the data again, there’s an easier way to do this.

Word does not have a built-in way to transpose a table. However, you can transpose rows and columns in Excel, so we’ll use a combination of Word and Excel to transpose our Word table.

To begin, open the Word document containing the table you want to transpose, select that table, and press Ctrl+C on your keyboard to copy it.

How to total rows and columns in microsoft word

Open Excel and place the cursor in a blank cell on the worksheet. Press Ctrl+V to paste the table at the cursor. The pasted cells are automatically selected. Now, transpose the rows and columns using Excel’s Transpose feature as described here.

How to total rows and columns in microsoft word

Once you’ve transposed the rows and columns, the cells are automatically selected again. Press Ctrl+C to copy the selected cells.

How to total rows and columns in microsoft word

Go back to your Word document, place the cursor where you want the table, and press Ctrl+V to paste the transposed table. The rows are now columns and the columns are rows.

How to total rows and columns in microsoft word

You may find that your text is not aligned or formatted the way you want. For example, in our transposed table, the row headings were centered and the column headings were left aligned after we transposed the table. That’s because the formatting from the original row and column headings was preserved. However, reformatting the transposed table is easier than retyping all your data.

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How to total rows and columns in microsoft word Lori Kaufman
Lori Kaufman is a technology expert with 25 years of experience. She’s been a senior technical writer, worked as a programmer, and has even run her own multi-location business.
Read Full Bio »

How to total rows and columns in microsoft word

If you need to total values in a Word table, you can do so without breaking out the calculator or entering the data into Excel and then copying it back. Word can do simple calculations such as summing, multiplying, and averaging.

Let’s say you have a table something like the following. You have the units sold and the per unit cost, and you want to multiply those to get a total.

How to total rows and columns in microsoft word

Start by placing your insertion point into the blank top cell in the “Total” column.

Next, switch to the new “Layout” tab that appears toward the right end of the Ribbon (there’s a separate Layout tab just for tables) and then click the “Formula” button.

How to total rows and columns in microsoft word

In this example, we are going to multiply the value in the “Units” column by the value in the “Unit Cost” column. To do this, type the following into the “Formula” field to multiply the values in the two cells to the left of the current cell:

Select an option from the Number format drop-down list to specify the format for the result of the formula.

How to total rows and columns in microsoft word

Click “OK” to accept the settings and insert the formula into the cell.

How to total rows and columns in microsoft word

The result of the formula displays in the cell.

Unfortunately, Word doesn’t let you select a bunch of cells at once and create a formula for all of them in one step, so you’ll have to perform these same steps in each of the other cells in the “Total” column.

When you’re done, you’ll have a fully formed table.

How to total rows and columns in microsoft word

This technique works pretty much the same way for columns as it does for rows. Say, for example, that we wanted to add all the values in the “Total” column to figure out our total overall sales.

Place your insertion point in an empty cell at the bottom of the “Total” column (insert an extra row if you need to). Head to the “Layout” tab and click the “Formula” button again.

This time, we’ll use the following formula:

The “ABOVE” parameter tells Word to add all the values above the current cell.

How to total rows and columns in microsoft word

Select an appropriate Number format and click “OK.”

How to total rows and columns in microsoft word

The total of all the values in the “Total” column displays in the cell.

How to total rows and columns in microsoft word

Note: If you add new rows or columns of values to a table in Word, the formulas you’ve got in place will not automatically update. To update a formula, right-click on the formula and choose “Update Field” from the popup menu.

When it comes to managing data in tables, Word offers nowhere near the power of Excel. It’s fine for small tables like this where you don’t expect values to change much and you don’t need to view your data in different ways. If you need more functionality, you’re much better off inserting an actual Excel spreadsheet into your Word document.

Stuck with a pesky column in your Microsoft Word document and no matter where you highlight, press delete or right-click it just won’t go away?

Don’t worry, you are not alone.

Removing a column from your Microsoft Word document isn’t something that can be done through the margin lines at the top and bottom of your file. Deleting a column does take a particular sequence of steps, lucky for you they are fairly straight forward.

Before you try copying the text from your current Word Document and pasting it into a new, blank, column-free page, the formatting such as columns will usually copy across as well. It’s helpful that Microsoft takes all formatting with a copy-paste, but not when you are trying to remove the columns from your document.

In this post, we will take you through 4 easy steps to remove the column from your Word document and leave you to type across your page, column-free.

How to remove the columns for your Word Document

  1. Open Microsoft Word
  2. Click the Insert Tab

How to total rows and columns in microsoft word

  1. Under the Insert Tab, Click Columns
  2. Select the One column

How to total rows and columns in microsoft word

By selecting one column, you have successfully removed any columns from your document. One column describes a single column (or page) of text, which is also a standard word document – column-free!

Trying to find a better way to collaborate in Word?

You’re not the only one, so we’re here to help!

When you have just sent off the latest version of a document, hoping it will be the last while knowing deep down that it will come back and require another round of edits/changes or updated.

Your email inbox is full of emails with the subject like ‘Updated file attached’ or ‘report update’ and you can hardly stay on top of the emails to find the most recent file let alone check your company shared drive to make sure they have all been saved and tracked.

It’s an ongoing battle, that too many of us face.

With so many of us collaborating in Microsoft Word daily, facing similar pain points. Companies such as Simul Docs decided enough is enough, there has to be a better way.

The amazing team at Simul Docs built a tool with collaboration in mind, to solve all of the common issues we face as members of a small or large team that are trying to collaborate together.

While you don’t need a collaboration tool, because you can continue running your version control, changes, merges and more manually. Think about the time and frustration you will save by enlisting the help of a professional, a professional such as Simul.

Simul works seamlessly with Microsoft Word as an add on and allows you to work in Word, as normal, with Simul helping in the background.

When you open a Microsoft Word Document with Simul, the document is automatically given a version number. Simul will then save every new version in an easy to use versions list to make referring back to old versions or changes simple.

How to total rows and columns in microsoft word

If you forget to press save or forget to ‘save as new file’ before you start making changes to the file don’t stress – Simul has already created a new file. They will never let you save over an old version (unless you want to) or lose any changes made.

Simul automatically saves your document as you go and manages version control for you, without you even having to think about it.

Another common issue we face when collaborating is when two team members unknowingly open a file at the same time and start to make changes. Leaving you as the document manager with two different versions of the same document and no way to merge them together without either losing the changes or going through the slow and manual ‘Word Merge’ process.

How to total rows and columns in microsoft word

If two team members start editing a document at the same time in Simul, no worries!

Simul will save each document as a new version, track the changes made and alert the document owner that there are now two updated versions of the document that require review.

How to total rows and columns in microsoft word

As the document owner reviews the changes, accepting and rejecting them Simul is creating an updated master document in the background with all of the accepted changes to make merging easy.

Both old versions are still saved and kept for future reference, but a new version is now placed above them, so everyone knows that is the most recent file and no-one in the team accidentally starts editing an old version. Because we have all been in the situation where someone accidentally opens an older version, thinking it is the most recent, makes their changes or suggestions and presses save. Leaving you to merge the documents together, again.

Once you have finished collaborating, Simul gives you the option to save your file in any shared drive, email it directly to a manager or send it on to anyone outside of your organisation.

If you send the file on in its Word Format, the reader can also make changes and all of Simul’s tracking features will work for them as well. Even if they are outside of your organisation, because it is the file that lives in Simul and Simul will make collaborating on that file easy for anyone who wants to join the party.

So, if you are looking for a better way to collaborate you can’t go past Simul.

Confused about how to log into or navigate your new course? See the Course FAQs for course navigation instructions.

I’ll admit it — I’m not a big fan of adding columns in Microsoft Word. Not that there’s anything wrong with columns, per se. Columns work fine (until they don’t). But in a legal office environment, I usually format blocks of information with tables because they’re a bit easier to control.

That said, I have seen lots of legal professionals insert multiple columns in Microsoft Word to format things like service lists in Certificates of Service. Hey, to each her [his] own.

So if you want to format text with columns in Microsoft Word documents, here’s what you need to know:

Inserting columns: the basic primer

Everything starts from the Layout tab (known as Page Layout in versions 2007-2010) on the Ribbon:

How to total rows and columns in microsoft word

How to total rows and columns in microsoft word

Click on More Columns, and you’re taken to a dialog box that allows you to set up your columns exactly the way you want them.

The default is one column — just a regular document. You can use one of the presets (the two-column layout is useful for the service list application I mentioned above). Or you can customize it within an inch of its life. Width? Space between columns 1 and 2, or 2 and 3, or . How about a line between them (like a newsletter would have)? You decide!

(If you don’t want your columns to all be the same width, be sure to uncheck the “Equal column width” checkbox at the bottom of the dialog box. Then, you’ll be able to customize the width of each column separately.)

How to total rows and columns in microsoft word

Navigating between columns

Once you’ve set up your columns, you come to the tricky part. This is part of the reason I usually opt for tables rather than columns. If you use tables, moving between the cells is easy — just use the Tab key. To insert a column, however, you need to know a few tricks.

Say you’re typing in the first column of your document and you want to end that column there and start typing in the second column. To do that, you have to insert a column break. You can insert a column break in one of two ways:

  • Press CTRL-SHIFT-ENTER simultaneously; or
  • Go to the Layout tab, click Breaks, and choose Column

How to total rows and columns in microsoft word

How to total rows and columns in microsoft word

Personally, I’d go with Option 1 (assuming I remember the key combination in the heat of the moment).

Once you’ve inserted a column break, your cursor is in the next column, ready for you to type. When you insert a column break in your last column (the one farthest to the right), the cursor will go to the first column on the next page.

Viewing column boundaries

To me, it’s tough to work with columns (or tables, for that matter) if I can’t really see them. To turn on the column boundaries so you can see your columns laid out on the page, go to the File tab (or click the Office button in version 2007) and click Options, then go to Advanced and check the box next to Show text boundaries:

How to total rows and columns in microsoft word

When columns are only part of your document

But what if only part of your document consists of multiple columns?

If you go back to the Columns dialog box (via Layout > Columns > More Columns), you’ll notice a drop-down at the bottom of the box:

How to total rows and columns in microsoft word

If you choose This Point Forward, that will allow you to insert columns at the point your cursor is sitting in. Once you’ve inserted your columnar data, then go back to the Format Columns dialog box and choose the One Column format (being careful to once again choose This Point Forward in that bottom drop-down), and your document will return to the single-column format without disturbing the multi-column insertion you’ve just worked so hard on.

But what if you want to insert a two- or three- (or more-) column block of text into the middle of a one-column, normal document?

You may want to use a slightly different procedure, depending on whether you’re creating a brand-new document or you’re inserting a multi-column layout into the middle of an existing single-column document. You’re using the same dialog box, but if you’re editing an existing document and placing a multi-column layout in the middle, you’ll need to take a couple of extra precautions to ensure you don’t inadvertently create a formatting nightmare.

Inserting multi-columns into a new document

Let’s say you’re typing along in a brand-new document and decide that the next bit of text needs to be in two (or more) columns. There’s no text after the point where your cursor is right now, so you can switch back to single-column format once you get done inserting the multi-column section.

If you go back to the Columns dialog box (via Layout > Columns > More Columns), you’ll notice a drop-down at the bottom of the box:

How to total rows and columns in microsoft word

If you choose This Point Forward, that will allow you to insert columns at the point your cursor is sitting in. Once you’ve inserted your columnar data, then go back to the Format Columns dialog box and choose the One Column format (being careful to once again choose This Point Forward in that bottom drop-down), and your document will return to the single-column format without disturbing the multi-column insertion you’ve just worked so hard on.

Inserting columns into the middle of an existing document

If you’re editing an existing document and you want to insert a multi-column layout somewhere in the middle of text you’ve already got typed, the “this point forward” method may result in a temporary and fixable but still infuriating mess.

Here’s how to avoid it: Insert section breaks before and after the point at which you want to insert your columns:

How to total rows and columns in microsoft word

. then in Apply to:, choose This section instead: