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: Unwanted Numbering on Pasted Tables.

Unwanted Numbering on Pasted Tables

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated December 28, 2021)
This tip applies to Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Microsoft 365


Sue is running into problems pasting tables into her documents. Often the pasted information (whether from another document or a Web site) will have tiny Roman numerals appear at one side or the other of the rows.

These numerals are actually characters which, in the font being used by Word, appear as the numerals. They may not appear as numerals in the source table, but automatically display in Word when pasted. They are in the source material (what you are copying from) but are not visible because the source material uses different formatting or character mapping than what Word uses.

There are only a few things you can try to get better results when pasting. The first is not use a standard paste operation. Instead, use Paste Special by following these steps:

  1. Display the Home tab of the ribbon.
  2. Click on the drop-down arrow under the Paste tool, in the Clipboard group.
  3. Select the Unformatted text option.
  4. Click on OK. Word pastes the text.

The table is inserted, but as regular text. Columns are separated by tab characters. You can convert the text back to table format by following these steps:

  1. Select the text you just pasted.
  2. Display the Insert tab of the ribbon.
  3. Click the Tables tool (in the Tables group). Word displays a drop-down series of options.
  4. Select Convert Text to Tables. Word displays the Convert Text to Table dialog box. (See Figure 1.)
  5. Figure 1. The Convert Text to Table dialog box.

  6. Select Tabs as the Separate Text At character.
  7. Confirm that the correct number of columns has been auto selected at the top of the dialog box.
  8. Click OK to perform the conversion.

If pasting in this manner doesn't do the trick, then there is very little you can do—the source information includes the characters, and you can't instruct Word to ignore those characters when pasting. If the table you are pasting is large enough, you may want to use Find and Replace to get rid of the extraneous characters.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (8763) 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: Unwanted Numbering on Pasted Tables.

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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