Creating and Using Standardized Tables

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated January 24, 2020)


As you may already know, when you insert a table in Word it adds a set border of one-half point around each cell in the table. If your idea of a standard table is different from what Word thinks it should be, then you may be up a creek since Word doesn't allow you to define what a standard table should look like.

There is a way around this problem if you have a standard table that you want to use over and over again in your document. By creating a standard table for yourself, it will always have the same number of columns and rows, appearing exactly the same as every other standard table you insert. (Of course, you can modify your standard table once it is inserted in your document.)

I've found that the easiest way to create your standard table is through the use of the AutoText feature (I know that you can create table styles, but I find them less than easy at times). All you need to do is follow these general steps:

  1. Create your standard table. Make sure it is formatted as desired, and that it includes any standard text.
  2. Select the entire table.
  3. Press Alt+F3. The Create New Building Block dialog box appears. (See Figure 1.)
  4. Figure 1. The Create New Building Block dialog box.

  5. Provide a name for your standard table in the Name field.
  6. Using the Gallery drop-down list, choose Tables.
  7. Click on OK.

Your standard table is now created. To use the table, simply type the name you entered in step 4 and then press F3. The table appears in your document. If you're using Word 2013, the Save In field will default to Normal.dotm rather than Building Blocks like it does in Word 2007 and Word 2010. By saving it in Normal.dotm you'll be able to simply hit Enter after typing the name, rather than F3.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (6076) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, and 2013.

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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What is 9 - 0?

2015-09-10 12:50:56


Can you please explain how to delete this building block?

2015-08-25 10:48:49


PS. AM using Word 2007.

2015-08-25 10:46:18

VJ-Very Joyful

When "Naming" autotext entries, I always start the name with a period, i.e., ".test" (no quote marks). This way I'll never confuse a regular word with the Autotext name. So I simply type
.test (and press F3)

2015-08-23 05:42:43


Ok I understand. Do you have to limit it to just letters. I tried "Test1" and could't get it to work.

2015-08-22 11:57:14

Benjamin C. Morin

Reference: Richwood7

When the name of the AutoText is a four character name (or more), it becomes an AutoComplete function on the fourth character. Thus when you key in the last "T" of the name "Test", an AutoComplete function instructs you to simply press the Enter key to insert the AutoText.

By the way, if you don't press the Enter Key, press the F3, it will work as well.

2015-08-22 09:03:37


I tried it but you don't have to hit F3 to enter it. I did a test table and just called it "test" and saved it (alt F3) I went to a blank document and typed in test and up came a small box that said "test (press enter to insert)" so I did and the table came up, no F3 key needed. I wondered suppose "test" was an actual word you wanted to use in your document. I hit space after the word "test" and then enter and it did not create a table. The name I gave it was all lower case letters but if you type it in caps it doesn't matter, it still acts the same way. so "test", "Test", "TEST" all work. Also if you type test as part of a sentence and decide you want a table there, you can come back later and highlight the word and hit F3 and the table will appear. I like it. Don't know when I will ever use it but cool concept! Under Gallery, in addition to "Tables" there is Auto Text, Bibliographies, Cover Pages, Equations, Footers, Headers, Page Numbers, Page Numbers (top of page) , Page Numbers (Margins), Page Numbers (bottom of page), Quick Print, Table of Contents, tables, Test Boxes, and Watermarks.

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