Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Microsoft 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: Limiting Lines in a Table Cell.

Limiting Lines in a Table Cell

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated January 16, 2024)
This tip applies to Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Microsoft 365


Maria has a table that she doesn't want to extend past three lines vertically in any given cell. She wonders if there is a way to lock how many lines there can be in any given cell of a table.

Normally the height of a row (which, of course, controls the height of cells in that row) can vary from row to row. Word does this so that whatever you place in the row can be fully accommodated by the table. There may be times when you don't want the row to expand, but instead you want the row to be a specific height.

Here's how you can set the row height to only allow three lines of text:

  1. Select the entire table. (Position the insertion point within the table, display the Layout tab of the ribbon, and choose Select Table from the Select pull-down list.)
  2. Right-click the selected table and then choose Table Properties from the Context menu. Word displays the Table Properties dialog box.
  3. Make sure the Row tab is selected. (See Figure 1.)
  4. Figure 1. The Row tab of the Table Properties dialog box.

  5. In the Specify Height box, indicate how high you want each row. (For three lines of 12-point type, you should specify one-half inch.)
  6. Using the Row Height Is drop-down list, choose Exactly.
  7. Click OK.

Now your row height will never go above whatever you set in step 4. Note that this approach won't stop someone from adding information that requires more than three lines in a table cell; it just won't display anything beyond the first three lines.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (8136) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Microsoft 365. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Limiting Lines in a Table Cell.

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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