Creating and Using Standardized Tables

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated July 23, 2022)

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 or a later version, 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, 2013, 2016, 2019, Word in Microsoft 365, and 2021.

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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