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: Limiting Lines in a Table Cell.

Limiting Lines in a Table Cell

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated December 7, 2013)

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, and 2013. 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. ...


Turning Off Borders for Data Series

Don't want a border to appear around a data series represented in a Microsoft Graph chart? You can easily control the ...

Discover More

Adding Horizontal Lines at the Sides of a Word

Want to add a couple of horizontal lines at the sides of a word? It can be trickier than it sounds, but there are several ...

Discover More

Controlling Overtype Mode

Some people like to have Word replace previous information as they type; this is called 'overtype mode.' You can control ...

Discover More

Comprehensive VBA Guide Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) is the language used for writing macros in all Office programs. This complete guide shows both professionals and novices how to master VBA in order to customize the entire Office suite for their needs. Check out Mastering VBA for Office 2010 today!

More WordTips (ribbon)

Changing Cell Alignment

Individual cells in a table can be aligned any way you desire. As pointed out here, just select the cell and apply the ...

Discover More

Indenting a Table

Insert a table into your document and it normally appears aligned with the left margin. Word allows you to indent the ...

Discover More

Right Aligning a Table Column with an Indent

Word allows you to get a bit fancy in formatting the alignment of your tables. In this tip, you discover how to enter ...

Discover More

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.


If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is 5 + 9?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)

This Site

Got a version of Word that uses the ribbon interface (Word 2007 or later)? This site is for you! If you use an earlier version of Word, visit our WordTips site focusing on the menu interface.

Newest Tips

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.