Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Office 365. If you are using an earlier version (Word 2003 or earlier), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for earlier versions of Word, click here: Quickly Inserting Tables that Don't Go From Margin to Margin.

Quickly Inserting Tables that Don't Go From Margin to Margin

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated August 6, 2020)

The Insert Table tool or the Add a Table tool (depending on your version of Word) is a handy way to create a table in your document. (The Insert Table tool or the Add a Table tool is available on the Insert tab of the ribbon.) When you insert a table using this tool, Word assumes you want the table spread over the entire width of your available page. You may not want this in all instances. For instance, you may want the table to be a bit narrower so you can subsequently center it on the page and have it actually stand off from the margins better.

One way to compensate for this default behavior is to always create a table that is one column wider than what you need. For instance, if you need a five-column table, you would actually create a six-column table. The six columns are, of course, spread from margin to margin. Next, just delete one of the columns. What you are left with is your desired five-column table, and it does not spread from one margin all the way to the other.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (3173) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Office 365. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Quickly Inserting Tables that Don't Go From Margin to Margin.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

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