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Tables in Word X

Along with standard word-processing capabilities, Word has the power to format text and graphics in tables, allowing you to create side-by-side paragraphs and display tabular data. Word also allows you to place a variety of borders around your table and its cells.

Inserting a Blank Table

Tables can be inserted either by choosing Insert from the Table menu or through the Standard Toolbar at the top of the screen. Toolbar buttons provide a shortcut for you to insert a table and determine the number of rows and columns you want, while using the Table menu allows you manipulate the column width before the table is inserted.

The basic table unit is a cell; cells are arranged in columns (vertical) and rows (horizontal). Each cell is self-contained and can hold several paragraphs, each with its own style. This allows for a great deal of flexibility in designing your table.

  1. Place the insertion point where you want the table. If you insert a table into the middle of a paragraph, Word will break that paragraph into two.
  2. Click and hold down the Table button on the Toolbar (see below). On the pop-up grid, drag the pointer to select the number of columns and rows you want (it will tell what dimensions your table is at the bottom of the table grid).

    Word X: Tables Toolbar

  3. Release the mouse button to insert the table, or press OK.
    You can also select Insert Table from the Table menu, and enter the dimensions of the table in the dialog box, as seen below.

    Word X: Insert Table Dialog

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Selecting Cells

Within a cell, text selection works as it does for regular text. Within a table Word offers you a wide variety of ways in which to select cells. Here are a few:

  1. To select a single cell: Position the cursor on the left edge of the cell. The cursor will change from the standard I-beam shape to an arrow pointing up and to the right. Click once.
  2. To select an entire row: Position the arrow on the left edge of any cell in that row. Double-click and the whole row will be selected.
  3. To select an entire column: Position the pointer at the top of the column. Click so it changes to a downward pointing arrow or hold the Option key down and click anywhere in the column.
  4. To select a block of cells: Click and drag across the cells you want to select, or click in one of the four corner cells of the block of cells you want to select, and hold down the shift key while you click on the opposite corner of the block.
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Indenting in Tables

Be careful with paragraph indents in tables; often, if you've set a right indent and then inserted a table, your table text may show up as one character per line. To fix this:

  1. Select the whole table.
  2. Choose Paragraph from the Format menu.
  3. Type "0 pt" in the boxes labeled Left and Right. Then click OK.

See our beginner's guide to Word X for more details on using indentation.

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Inserting Cells, Rows, and Columns

To add a row, column, or cell to your table:

  1. Select as many rows or columns as you want to insert.
  2. Word X: Insert Cells Click the Table button. The number of rows and/or columns you've selected will be inserted. If you selected a block of cells, a dialog window will open (see right) and ask what you would like to insert and where.
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Deleting Cells

To delete a row, column, or cell from your table:

  1. Select the cells, columns, or rows you wish to delete.
  2. Select Delete Cells, Delete Columns, or Delete Rows from the Table menu. The command on the Table menu will change depending on what you've selected.
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Merging Cells

To merge two or more adjacent cells in a row into a single cell: Select the cells you want to merge. Go to Merge Cells on the Table menu, or click the Merge Cells button on the Tables Toolbar; or, on the Standard Toolbar, when more than one cell is selected, this Merge Cells icon appears (select Tables and Borders from the View menu then the Toolbars submenu to see it).

Cells can be merged only once. If you need to add more cells to an already merged cell, you must first split the merged cell by selecting it and clicking on the Split Cells button on the Tables and Borders Toolbar, or selecting Split Cells in the Table menu.

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Column Width

To change the width of cells, select the columns you wish to change. Point your mouse at the blue # symbol in the ruler of your document. The arrow should change to a box with two arrows. Click and drag the blue symbol to resize your table cells.

Alternatively, you can resize a cell or multiple cells by grabbing and dragging on the line that you wish to resize.

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Placing lines around your table and its cells can enhance it and make it easier to read.

  1. Select the cells, rows, columns, or table you wish to give borders.
  2. Choose Borders and Shading from the Format menu. Click on the graphic where you want border lines.
  3. Click OK once you select your borders.

    Word X: Table Borders and Shading [Back to Top]

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