Working with Tables

Using tables in Word can help organize content in different ways. When using Word tables can be used for text and numerical data.

Introduction

Lesson 21

A table is a grid of cells arranged in rows and columns. Tables can be customized and are useful for various tasks such as presenting text information and numerical data.

In this lesson, you will learn how to convert text to a table, apply table styles, format tables, and create blank tables.

Inserting and modifying tables

Video: Working with Tables in Word 2010

Launch video!Watch the video (4:29).

In Word, tables are useful for organizing and presenting data. You can create a blank table, convert text to a table, and apply a variety of styles and formats to existing tables.

Optional: You can download this example for extra practice.

To insert a blank table:

  1. Place your insertion point in the document where you want the table to appear.
  2. Select the Insert tab.
  3. Click the Table command.
  4. Hover your mouse over the diagram squares to select the number of columns and rows in the table.
    Inserting a new table Inserting a new table
  5. Click your mouse, and the table appears in the document.
  6. You can now place the insertion point anywhere in the table to add text.

To convert existing text to a table:

  1. Select the text you want to convert.
  2. Select the Insert tab.
  3. Click the Table command.
  4. Select Convert Text to Table from the menu. A dialog box will appear.
    Converting text to a table Converting text to a table
  5. Choose one of the options in the Separate text at: section. This is how Word knows what text to put in each column.
    Separating text at Tabs Separating text at Tabs
  6. Click OK. The text appears in a table.
    The converted table The converted table

To add a row above an existing row:

  1. Place the insertion point in a row below the location where you want to add a row.
    Placing the insertion point Placing the insertion point
  2. Right-click the mouse. A menu appears.
  3. Select Insert Insert Rows Above.
    Adding a row Adding a row
  4. A new row appears above the insertion point.
    The new row The new row

You can also add rows below the insertion point. Follow the same steps, but select Insert Rows Below from the menu.

To add a column:

  1. Place the insertion point in a column adjacent to the location where you want the new column to appear.
  2. Right-click the mouse. A menu will appear.
    Adding a column Adding a column
  3. Select Insert Insert Columns to the Left or Insert Columns to the Right. A new column appears.
    The new column The new column

To delete a row or column:

  1. Select the row or column.
  2. Right-click your mouse. A menu will appear.
  3. Select Delete Cells.
    Selecting Delete Cells Selecting Delete Cells
  4. Select Delete entire row or Delete entire column, then click OK.
    Deleting the column Deleting a column

To apply a table style:

  1. Click anywhere on the table. The Design tab will appear on the Ribbon.
  2. Select the Design tab and locate the Table Styles.
  3. Click the More drop-down arrow to see all of the table styles.
    Viewing the Table Styles Viewing the Table Styles
  4. Hover the mouse over the various styles to see a live preview.
  5. Select the desired style. The table style will appear in the document.
    After adding a Table Style After adding a Table Style

To change table style options:

Once you've chosen a table style, you can turn various options on or off to change the appearance of the table. There are six options: Header Row, Total Row, Banded Rows, First Column, Last Column, and Banded Columns.

  1. Click anywhere on the table. The Design tab will appear.
  2. From the Design tab, check or uncheck the desired options in the Table Style Options group.
    Table Style Options Table Style Options

Depending on which table style you're using, certain table style options may have a somewhat different effect. You may need to experiment to get the exact look you want.

To add borders to a table:

  1. Select the cells you want to add a border to.
    Highlighted cells Highlighted cells
  2. From the Design tab, select the desired Line Style, Line Weight, and Pen Color.
    Line Style, Line Weight, and Pen Color commands Line Style, Line Weight, and Pen Color commands
  3. Click the Borders drop-down arrow.
  4. From the drop-down menu, select the desired border type.
    Selecting a border type Selecting a border type
  5. The border will be added to the selected cells.
    The finished border The finished border

Modifying a table using the Layout tab

When you select a table in Word 2010, Design and Layout tabs appear under Table Tools on the Ribbon. Using commands on the Layout tab, you can make a variety of modifications to the table.

Click the buttons in the interactive below to learn about the different ways you can modify a table with the Layout tab.

labeled graphic

Change Text Direction

Making the text vertical can add style to your table and saves space, allowing you to fit more columns in your table.

Align Cell Text

By changing the alignment of a cell, you can control exactly where the text is located. In the example below, the cell text is aligned to the bottom-right.

Distribute Rows/Columns

To keep your table looking neat and organized, you may want to distribute the rows or columns equally, which makes them all the same size. You can distribute the rows or columns for the entire table or just a portion of it.

Change Cell Size

You can type a desired row height or column width for your cells. If you prefer, you can click AutoFit, and it will automatically adjust column widths based on the text inside them.

Merge and Split Cells

Some tables require a layout that doesn't conform to the standard grid. In these cases, you may need to merge or split cells.

Add Rows and Columns

You can insert or delete rows and columns in your table. This can be especially useful if you need to add something to the middle of your table.

Challenge!

  1. Open an existing Word document. If you want, you can use this example.
  2. Convert some text into a table. If you are using the example, convert the text below By Client.
  3. Apply a table style, and experiment with the table style options. If you are using the example, see if you can make the table match the By Salesperson table above it.
  4. Delete a row from the table.
  5. Insert a blank table with five rows and four columns.
  6. Add borders to the blank table.