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: Tables within Tables.

Tables within Tables

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated August 9, 2014)

2

Word allows you to place one table within another table, which can be handy for some complex document layouts. To place a table within a table, follow these steps:

  1. Place your major table, as desired. Make sure that it has the number of rows and columns that you desire, and that you merge any cells that you want merged.
  2. Put the insertion point in the cell that you want to contain the secondary table.
  3. Insert your secondary table using any of the regular table insertion tools provided by Word.

That's it; the secondary table should be completely within the cell in which the insertion point was located in step 2. You may notice that the top and bottom borders of the secondary table you inserted are very close to the top and bottom borders of the cell in which the table was placed. If you want more separation between the cell and table borders, modify your creation steps just slightly:

  1. Place your major table, as desired. Make sure that it has the number of rows and columns that you desire, and that you merge any cells that you want merged.
  2. Put the insertion point in the cell that you want to contain the secondary table.
  3. Display the Layout tab of the ribbon.
  4. Click the Properties tool, in the Table group. Word displays the Table Properties dialog box.
  5. Make sure the Cell tab is displayed.
  6. Click the Options button. Word displays the Cell Options dialog box. (See Figure 1.)
  7. Figure 1. The Cell Options dialog box.

  8. Clear the Same As the Whole Table check box.
  9. Using the controls just under the check box, specify the margins you want used within the cell.
  10. Click OK twice to dismiss both dialog boxes. The insertion point should still be in the cell where you want to place the secondary table.
  11. Insert your secondary table using any of the regular table insertion tools provided by Word.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (9947) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, and 2013. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Tables within 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. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Setting Print Titles

Excel allows you to specify certain rows or columns that will be repeated on the pages of a printout. Here's how to set those ...

Discover More

Heading Changes for Multi-page Tables

When you have a long table that extends over multiple pages, Word allows you to specify one or more rows to be repeated at ...

Discover More

Spelling Errors Resulting from Erroneous Spaces

Spelling errors can result from improperly ordering letters in a word, or from adding spaces where they shouldn't be. This ...

Discover More

Do More in Less Time! Are you ready to harness the full power of Word 2013 to create professional documents? In this comprehensive guide you'll learn the skills and techniques for efficiently building the documents you need for your professional and your personal life. Check out Word 2013 In Depth today!

More WordTips (ribbon)

Creating a Table Using the Keyboard

Want to easily add a table to your document simply by typing a few keystrokes? Here's how you can do it in one easy step.

Discover More

Drawing a Table

There are several ways you can create tables in a document, but one of the most unique (and perhaps most fun) is to simply ...

Discover More

Rounded Table Edges

Tables can be a great addition to many documents, as they allow you to arrange and present information in a clear and concise ...

Discover More
Subscribe

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

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

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 4 + 1?

2014-08-11 08:40:25

Jennifer Thomas

Peter is correct - a table within a table (a 'nested table') is fine if this is in a document that will never be copied from, saved as a new version, converted to a different Word version, compared as a redline, or converted to PDF.

But if you intend to do any of the above, it is much better to split the cells as needed (drawing tools for tables can be the most efficent for creating that complex structure) because that leaves the table as one object, which is much more stable, especially in cross-application or cross-version functions.


2014-08-11 03:45:50

PeterJ

I think there are two disadvantages with this approach. Firstly, you are using a nested structure, I suspect that Word is not always good at these. Secondly, by default you get a small gap round the embedded table (but this might be what you want).

There is an alternative method, instead of inserting a nested table why not split the cell? The result on the page can be identical. The difference is that Word only sees one table.

Does anyone have any views – or better still evidence – to say which is the more stable and hence better approach?


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
Subscribe

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.