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: Converting Text Into a Table.

Converting Text Into a Table

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated October 12, 2017)

5

There are two major ways you can create tables in Word. One way is to create a blank table by any of the various methods provided by Word (such as drawing the table or using the Insert Table tool). The other method is to convert existing text into a table. To convert text into a table, follow these steps:

  1. Make sure the text that is to be converted into the table contains only a single tab character between each column.
  2. Select the text you want converted into a table.
  3. Display the Insert tab of the ribbon.
  4. Click the Table tool and then click Convert Text to Table. Word displays the Convert Text to Table dialog box. (See Figure 1.)
  5. Figure 1. The Convert Text to Table dialog box.

  6. Make sure all the table settings in the dialog box are correct.
  7. Click OK.

The selected text is immediately converted into a table. In some instances, the width of columns in the resulting table may need to be adjusted. You will know if this is the case because the table will look very strange. Sometimes you can get files from programs such as a spreadsheet that use commas to separate columns. Word will also convert this comma-separated text to a table.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (7725) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, and 2013. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Converting Text Into 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 four minus 0?

2017-10-12 17:28:32

Peter Kirkpatrick

@MTB Lisa, The general steps to get your result might be this:
1. Create only one column instead of two. (I am assuming that "a. john" is planned to be in a single cell.)
2. Convert text to Table.
3. Add a second column to the right.
4. Cut and paste the second half of column 1 into the first half of column 2.
5. Delete non-required rows.

Another option might be to convert text to a single column table and then format the page as two or more columns.


2016-10-01 09:51:09

husseim

thanks a million for your comprehensive and concise explanation. it really helped me.


2015-07-07 22:25:24

MTB Lisa

when converting text to table, the text gets put in the order of horizontal instead of vertical. For example,
Text is
a. john
b. susan
c. katie
d. Lou
when this is converted to table, I want it to be:
a. john c. katie
b. susan d. Lou
However, it does this instead:
a. john b. susan
c. katie d. Lou

Aarrgghh!


2014-09-04 15:46:23

April Christian

I recently purchased Microsoft Office 2013 Home and student version and The "convert text to table" option is shaded in (unavailable). I can't click on it at all.... why is that? I really need this option and I'm wondering how I can use this.


2013-05-11 07:30:49

Cindy Bertaut

One more "tip" for this Converting Text Into a Table tip.
This is a lot of words to describe a simple idea; if you have ever made a table from text and the data didn't line up in each column like you expected to, it is probably from some rows not having the same number of columns. For example you may have a table with 4 or 5 rows, but in the middle of a table, there may be a "subcategory" title that runs across that entire row.
Here is how to fix that:
In your original text you want to make sure you enter enough tabs after that "subcategory" title to invent "blank" cells across the rest of the row, creating blank columns, only for that row.
Voila! All your text will line up in the proper columns now!


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