Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, and 2013. 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: Creating a Table Using the Keyboard.

Creating a Table Using the Keyboard

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated November 9, 2015)


If you want a quick way to create a table without taking your hands off the keyboard, try this:

  • At the left margin of a new line, type four plus signs separated by a space (plus, space, plus, space...) and press Enter.
  • That's it. A single step, and you have a quick and simple table. Of course, it is only a single-row table, but it is a starting point for your table. You can also create the table by using the vertical bar instead of plus signs.

    If you want the columns of your table to be wider, simply separate the plus signs or vertical bars with dashes. For instance, you could type a plus sign, ten dashes, another plus sign, and press Enter, and you would have a table with a wider column.

    If this tip does not work on your system, you may have the feature turned off. To make sure the feature is enabled, follow these steps:

    1. Display the Word Options dialog box. (In Word 2007 click the Office button and then click Word Options. In Word 2010 and Word 2013 display the File tab of the ribbon and then click Options.)
    2. Click Proofing at the left side of the dialog box, and then click AutoCorrect Options. Word displays the AutoCorrect dialog box.
    3. Make sure the AutoFormat As You Type tab is displayed. (See Figure 1.)
    4. Figure 1. The AutoFormat As You Type tab of the AutoCorrect Options dialog box.

    5. Make sure the Tables check box is checked.
    6. Click on OK.

    WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (6046) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, and 2013. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Creating a Table Using the Keyboard.

    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. ...


    Working on Shared Templates

    In many companies it is common to have standard templates accessible through the internal network. If you have templates ...

    Discover More

    Freezing a Table

    Tired of Word changing the dimensions of table cells to accommodate what you place in those cells? You can instruct Word ...

    Discover More

    Finding Text in Text Boxes

    Want to search for text that may appear in a text box rather than in a regular worksheet cell? You can only perform the ...

    Discover More

    Create Custom Apps with VBA! Discover how to extend the capabilities of Office 2013 (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and Access) with VBA programming, using it for writing macros, automating Office applications, and creating custom applications. Check out Mastering VBA for Office 2013 today!

    More WordTips (ribbon)

    Tables within Tables

    Inserting a table in a document is easy. Did you know that you can also insert a table within another table? Word allows ...

    Discover More

    Creating Tables with Specific Column Widths

    Create a table and Word figures out column widths by dividing the horizontal space by the number of columns you want in ...

    Discover More

    Rounded Table Edges

    Tables can be a great addition to many documents, as they allow you to arrange and present information in a clear and ...

    Discover More

    FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

    View most recent newsletter.


    If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

    What is 4 + 4?

    2015-11-23 04:18:56


    In my Word 2010, once you have typed the first three characters (e.g. + space + or +-+) to get more cells, you do not have to repeat the 'spacing' character.
    So, to get four cells you just need +-+++ and Enter.

    2013-02-23 11:53:06


    Wow, impressive!!

    This Site

    Got a version of Word that uses the ribbon interface (Word 2007 or later)? This site is for you! If you use an earlier version of Word, visit our WordTips site focusing on the menu interface.

    Newest Tips

    FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

    (Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

    View the most recent newsletter.