Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. If you are using a later version (Word 2007 or later), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for later versions of Word, click here: Calculating Form Fields.

Calculating Form Fields

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated August 8, 2015)

In other WordTips you've learned how you can set up your form fields so that they perform calculations and display the results. When you print your form, Word updates the fields so that the results of the calculations are displayed in the form. What if you don't want to wait until printing in order to view the results?

Fortunately, Word provides a way you can do this. Make sure you follow these steps:

  1. Make sure the Forms toolbar is displayed.
  2. Unprotect your form so that you can change the options for each field.
  3. Select a form field used in a calculation.
  4. Click on the Form Field Options tool on the Forms toolbar. Word displays the Options dialog box for the field. (See Figure 1.)
  5. Figure 1. The Options dialog box for a form field.

  6. Make sure the Calculate on Exit check box is selected.
  7. Click on OK.
  8. Repeat steps 3 through 6 for each of the other fields used in your calculations.
  9. Protect the form again.

You can now use the form as normal. Whenever you press Tab to move between fields, and you leave a field used in a calculation, Word recalculates all the fields in the form. The result is that your calculated fields are always updated, as desired. In reality, not every possible field is updated in your form; see for more information. (This Knowledge Base article is for Word 97, but is still applicable to later versions of Word.) You can rest assured that all your form fields are updated, however.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (1456) applies to Microsoft Word 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. You can find a version of this tip for the ribbon interface of Word (Word 2007 and later) here: Calculating Form Fields.

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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