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: Clearing the Contents of a Table.

Clearing the Contents of a Table

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated July 4, 2018)


Word includes a powerful table editor that you can use to create very complex tables. If you spend a lot of time working on a table and getting it just right, you may want to copy the table to a new location so you can use the same layout elsewhere. After copying, you will no doubt want to erase the contents of the table so that you can start to fill it out again.

An easy way to clear out the table is to select the entire table and then press the Delete key. The information in the table is cleared, but the table structure remains.

It is interesting to note that you must press the Delete key. If, instead, you press Backspace while the whole table is selected, Word deletes the entire table, not just the content of the table. (Don't ask me why; it just works that way.)

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (7723) 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: Clearing the Contents of a Table.

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 one minus 0?

2018-06-01 10:44:02


That was really helpful. Thank you so much.

2018-03-27 03:13:52


Thnk you Allen,

You save my time! Wonderful tip!!!


2018-02-08 07:10:34

Pekka Ylisirniö

Thanks but did not work at least in my Mac Workd..:( But there was in left side Clear ---> Content that worked.. ("Delete" deleted everything...
- pekka

2017-08-19 06:11:21

Ch Manan

Thank you very much! it worked.

2017-07-17 14:12:32


For a Mac use Fn+Delete (at least that worked for me with Word 2013)

2017-07-09 16:40:31

Peter Kirkpatrick

@honey, One possibility is that your selection was not quite right. For instance, if I select the table alone, table contents but not table structure will be deleted. But suppose I select the table plus the line immediately following the table. (Perhaps it is just a blank line where I have hit the enter key a couple of times to create space around the table.) In that case, the whole table will be deleted.

This can happen if you select the table by clicking and dragging with your mouse. To ensure you select the table and nothing else, hover your mouse pointer over the table. You will see a handle appear at the top left corner of the table. It is square shaped, with horizontal and vertical arrows inside it. Click on the handle to select only the table.

2016-10-04 21:38:45


i followed your directions carefully, but hitting delete erased the entire table, it did not clear out the table

2016-05-24 17:40:52


This was the most helpful tip I've ever received. Thank ou.

2016-01-22 20:15:26


THANK YOU!!!! Very helpful

2016-01-18 13:34:46


I need to delete contents from a table but not hide the rows/columns it is in. I have been doing this for years and today it is hiding all of my rows when I clear the contents. I need to keep the entire table in place. Help!

2015-09-09 06:10:10

from egypt with love

Thanks alot

2015-05-15 13:20:49

safy egyptian

thank u sooooooooooooo much
it saved me more search and time and complex wats
you are genius :D

2014-10-25 06:02:35


Thank you so much for this. It has saved me hours of work. This is a job I do on a weekly basis and it used to be easy on earlier versions of Word. Now I thought it must be impossible because I've been looking for the answer for months, trying all sorts of methods, none of which worked. T H A N K Y O U !

2014-07-11 16:27:32

Laura Hughes

I am tearing my hair out trying to enlarge Maths work for my visually impaired daughter and your tip about clearing but not deleting tables has been a huge help. Thank you.

2013-03-12 10:17:30

M Percival

You can also save the table design for future use in "Quick Tables" see other options:>

2013-03-09 07:53:33

Greg Mathiesen

Shift + Delete also deletes selected table structure: Rows, Columns, Entire Table.

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