If you read the recent Post, (When Things Just Don’t Line Up), you know that Browsing Bowser found a very easy way to organize and track his prized bones collection by using the Tables function in his word processing program. He found that by inserting a simple table into a word processing document , typing the necessary data into the table, then making all the table lines/borders invisible, he had the clean looking list he wanted. All his information was neatly lined up and his inventory list was easy to edit and maintain!

“How much better can it get?” he wondered to himself.  Then without a paws, Browsing Bowser answered his own question….

“My list could be even better if I tracked costs and totals”, he yipped!   Dog tired as he was, BB went back to his list to see if he could actually track totals in his Buried Bones Inventory table.   Sure enough, he found it was not only possible, it was pretty easy to do as well. “Probably easy enough even for a cat to do”, he secretly snarled…

Here’s what he did to enhance his Buried Bones Inventory:

First, BB made the borders and lines of his table visible again to make his edits easier to do.

Then he added another column at the end of his table.

• In most word processing programs, this can be done by right clicking in the column to which you want to add another column;

• Select “Insert”;

• Select where to add the column, in this case “Insert column to the right”.



Now for the fun part – BB made the Table calculate total quantities and costs for him, since he was never good counting past 4 paws.

NOTE: This is done using the SUM function. Although it is easy to use, accessing it varies with the different word processing programs and versions. You may have to search help for “SUM” to find out how your program handles this function.

BB uses Microsoft Word 2010 so here is how it worked for him.

• Place the cursor in the last cell of the QTY column

• On the Menu Bar under “Table Tools” > Select “Layout” > Select “fx Formula” icon

• A dialogue box opens. At the = Sign type SUM(ABOVE) (see below)


• Click on OK

• After you click OK, the QTY column total appears in that cell.

To Total the COSTS column, place the cursor in the last cell of the COSTS Column and repeat the above process.

Word of caution: If you are familiar with spreadsheet calculations, you may expect the word processing table to update formula calculations automatically as well.    Bummer, but it doesn’t.  It’s more like a cat that has to be prodded a little. But it’s an easy “prod”.

To update all the totals:

o Press the Ctrl + A keys (this is a “Select All” shortcut)

o Press F9 Key

If you forget to update your totals, but save your data, you’ll find that the totals will be updated the next time you open your table.

And to prove old dogs CAN learn new tricks, here are a few more tips/tricks Browsing Bowser learned while he was putting finishing touches on his new table.

• The Bold, Underline, and Italics, colors, etc. functions can be used within his table

• He can create lines and borders by choosing which lines/borders he wants to make visible or invisible.

o First BB chose to make all lines/borders invisible to get back his clean list look.

o Then BB wanted lines to appear above his totals so he chose to put a top border line of the total cell

o BB wanted a line under each column title so he chose to put a bottom line on each cell of the column titles.

This is what his new Buried Bones Inventory List looks like:


“DogGone It”, Browsing Bowser said to himself as he circled his doggie bed before plopping down for the night.  “I worked like a dog today, but, you know, I really do lead a dog’s life!”   And with that, he fell securely asleep.