Tables are useful when you want to line up information in columns and rows, you do not have to rule your table so they can act as a useful layout tool.

You can create a table by clicking on the Table drop-down menu then clicking on Insert and then Table from the sub-menu which appears to the side.  You will now see the window below:

Adjust the values in the boxes to select the number of rows and columns you require - don't worry about exact values, you can always add or delete rows or columns later.  You can also choose whether you want the column widths automatically fitted to the contents or want a fixed width - automatic or otherwise.  If you would like to use one of Word's preset styles for your table, you can click on the Autoformat button and select a style.  When you have finished setting up your table, click the OK button and your table will be shown.

If you want to change the size of your table by inserting extra rows or columns, click on the row or column where you want the extra row or column to be placed.  Now click on the Table drop-down menu, click on Insert and choose one of the options from the sub-menu which is shown below:

If you have too many rows or columns, click on one of the rows or columns you want to delete and click on the Table drop-down menu.  You can now choose whether you want to delete columns or rows or the whole table from the sub-menu shown below:

As soon as you choose the Columns or Rows option the row or column your cursor is placed in will be deleted.  If you delete a row or column by accident, simply click on the Undo icon or click on the Edit drop-down menu and choose the Undo option.

Editing Tables

When you are entering text in a table you can move across cells by pressing your Tab key.  However, this means that if you want to use a tab stop within a cell the tab key on its own will not take you to the tab stop.  You can set tabs within table cells as you would on a normal page (see the section on Setting Tabs), it can be useful to set decimal tabs in columns to ensure that decimal numbers with different numbers of decimal places are lined up (you can easily right align a column to line up currency figures).  Once you have set your tab stop, you can use it by holding down the Ctrl key and pressing Tab at the same time.


Before applying a border to your table you should highlight the cell or cells you want it applied to.  There is a quick border icon shown at the top of your Word screen and when you click on this you will see several border options:

From this box you can choose whether you want external borders, borders around all edges of your cells or just borders on the top, bottom, left or right.  The two diagonal icons are for crossing through cells in a table.  The icon on the far right will place a horizontal dividing line between lines of text in a single cell.

If you want more complicated borders on your table you can click on the Format drop-down menu and choose Borders and Shading.  A window appears as below:

You can set the type of border you want from the options under Style, Color and Width and can use the diagram on the right hand side of the window to choose where the border is placed.

If you want to see more on the Page Border or Shading sections of this window, click on the appropriate tab at the top of the window above.

Merging Cells

It is possible to make some quite professionally laid out tables by merging cells together.  This enables you to have one continuous column down the side of your table or to have whole or part rows where the text continues across the table.  An example of a table with merged cells is shown below:

This table originally had 3 columns and 18 rows.  The cells on the first row were all merged to form a single row and then the remaining cells in the first column were merged to form one large blank column.  A clip-art image was place in the first column to enhance the table.  The borders could be removed if you wished or altered for extra effect.

To merge cells in a table, highlight all the cells you want to merge and click on the Table drop-down menu.  Click on the Merge Cells option and your cells will be joined together.  If you want to split a cell you can use the same menu, choosing the Split Cells option.  If you can't see this option, try clicking on the arrow at the bottom of the menu to extend it.

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