There are many formatting attributes you can apply to tables in Word to make your tables appear just right. Things like alignment, spacing, borders and shading are simple modifications you can make to format your table. The following articles discuss how to format tables to display your information how you want.
Tips, Tricks, and Answers
The following articles are available for the 'Formatting Tables' topic. Click the article''s title (shown in bold) to see the associated article.
Adding Borders to Cell Contents
Word allows you to quickly add borders to cells in a table, but you may not know that you can also add borders to the text within the cells. It all depends on a single setting in the Borders and Shading dialog box, as described here.
Adding Diagonal Borders
Want to add a border diagonally, through the middle of a table cell? It's easy if you follow the formatting steps presented in this tip.
Adjusting Column Width Using the Ribbon
If you want to resize the width of your table columns, you can do it using a mouse, but you can get more precise widths by using the ribbon controls. This tip explains how to pull up and use the proper controls so you can adjust the width of each column in the table.
Adjusting Table Row Height
When working with tables, you can adjust the height of individual rows. How you go about such adjustments depends on the version of Word you are using.
Aligning Decimal Numbers in Tables
Need to align numbers around their decimal point within a table? It's easy to do by using the three simple steps provided in this tip.
Aligning Positive and Negative Whole Numbers in a Column
When you use a table to present numeric information, you may want to have Word align the numbers in the table. This can be a challenge in some situations, such as if your negative numbers use parentheses around them. Here's how to align such numbers properly within the table.
Applying Borders to Tables
Want to change the borders that Word adds to your tables? You have complete control over the way your borders appear, using the tools described in this tip.
Applying Consistent Shading to a Table
Formatting tables can be very time consuming. When you get a document from another person, you can spend a lot of time formatting their tables, as well. Here are a couple of ways you can shorten the table-formatting time you need to spend.
Need to adjust the width of a bunch of table columns according to what is in the columns? Word provides a tool to do this, called AutoFit. Here's how to apply it to your tables.
Automatic Page Numbers across Multiple Documents
Word allows you to specify the starting page number for a document, which comes in handy if you have multiple documents you need to print in sequential order. This tip discusses how you can set page numbers to automatically "flow" from one document to another.
Centering Information in Table Cells
One of the most common ways to format information in a table is to apply some sort of alignment to the contents of table cells. If you need to center your information, you can do it both horizontally and vertically using the information in this tip.
Changing Cell Alignment
Individual cells in a table can be aligned any way you desire. As pointed out here, just select the cell and apply the formatting.
Copying Fill Color in a Table
You may spend some time getting the color in a portion of a table just right, only to be faced with the task of copying that shading to other cells in the table. There are several ways you can accomplish this task, as described in this tip.
Distributing Table Rows Evenly
If you've adjusted the height of your table and the rows within the table, you might want to later return all those rows to a uniform height. In Word this is referred to as "distributing" rows, and it is an easy task to do, as discussed in this tip.
Finding an Optimal Table Height
Word can adjust the height of individual rows in a table based on the information you put in each row. This may not result in the optimum table design, however. Here's a discussion of why this happens and what you can try to do about it.
Fitting Text Into Cells
Need a way to make sure your text fits within the space available in a table cell? Word has a handy setting that will adjust your text's format, as necessary, to make it fit.
Fitting Your Text In a Table Cell
Got some text you absolutely must fit on a single line in a table cell? Then you'll appreciate this rather esoteric setting that allows you to force text to fit on that line.
Getting Rid of Background Color in All Tables
When working with tables (particularly those created by others), you can spend a large amount of time getting the formatting the way you want. If you need to routinely remove background shading from tables, here's a couple of ways you can make your task easier.
Heading Changes for Multi-page Tables
When you have a long table that extends over multiple pages, Word allows you to specify one or more rows to be repeated at the top of the table on each page. Word does not provide a way for you to change the table heading on secondary pages, such as to contain the word "continued." This tip provides a workaround you can use to get the desired result, however.
Headings On Your Printout
If you've got a table that spans multiple printed pages, you probably want to repeat a row or two of that table as a heading on each page. Here's the easy way to set up those repeating rows.
Hiding Table Gridlines, by Default
The edges to table cells are shown two ways in Word: gridlines and borders. Table gridlines are only seen in Word; they do not print. Borders are visible in Word and on the printed page. Applying borders to table cells overrides the display or hiding of gridlines.
Indenting a Table
Insert a table into your document and it normally appears aligned with the left margin. Word allows you to indent the table by applying the techniques described in this tip.
Keeping Tables on One Page
Need to make sure that your smaller tables stay on a single page? Here's a handy trick you can use to enforce this rule.
Last-Row Border Formatting
When the last row displayed on a page doesn't show the borders you want, it can be confusing to figure out how to get them to show up. Here's an example and a discussion on how to get the borders to appear properly.
Limiting Lines in a Table Cell
When creating tables, Word automatically sets the size of the cells. But what if you want to make sure each cell is a certain height? This tip explains how to format your table so it looks the way you want.
Preventing Overlapping Tables
You can spend considerable time getting the tables in your document to look just right. What happens, though, when you send the document to someone else and the tables are suddenly overlapping each other?
Quick Recall of Table Formats
Got a table that you use over and over again? One way you can make quick work of such repetition is to save the table in a Building Block entry. This tip shows how easy this is.
Quickly Removing Table Borders
Insert a table in your document and Word assumes that you want borders around the table and its cells. Here's a shortcut that allows you to easily remove those borders.
Right Aligning a Table Column with an Indent
Word allows you to get a bit fancy in formatting the alignment of your tables. In this tip, you discover how to enter very precise right-alignment positioning in your table cells.
Self-Adjusting Column Widths
It is important to understand how column widths relate to the margins you may have set in your document. The reason is because when you change margin settings it can affect column width, but perhaps not as you expect.
Shading Table Rows
Need to format the rows of a table so that your data is showcased better? Here are a few ways you can get the shading you need.
Space after a Table
Those familiar with styles are used to setting vertical spacing before or after paragraphs. You can get just the look you want when it comes to spacing, except in regard to tables. Getting a certain amount of space after a table can take some trial and error, as detailed in this tip.
Spacing Before and After Tables
Tables can be a necessity in many types of documents. However, they can be a bother to get positioned properly relative to the text before and after the table. This tip shows how you can get just the positioning you need.
Spacing Table Rows Vertically
Want to get just the right amount of spacing above and below text in a table cell? A very easy way to do this is to adjust the paragraph spacing, as you do when formatting normal text.
Squaring Table Cells
Inserting a table is fast and easy in Word. You may want to make sure that the cells in the table are as square as possible. Here's how to do this task.
Stopping Row Breaking for Many Tables
Got a lot of tables you need to format all at once? While you could make your changes manually, a much quicker way is to use a short macro, like the one featured in this tip.
Underlining Cells, Not Space Between Cells
Word provides a couple of ways you can underline information, including underlining table cells and their contents. Getting just the underlining you want can be a challenge, however, as highlighted in this tip.