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: Drop Shadows for Tables.

Drop Shadows for Tables

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated October 10, 2015)

Word allows you to easily add borders to text and to entire paragraphs. You can even add borders to individual cells in a table. One of the preset borders you can apply to text and to paragraphs is for Shadow—it essentially creates a drop shadow that makes the text or paragraph appear as if it is hovering over the page. Unfortunately, when you add borders to tables; the Shadow option is not available. What if you want to add a drop shadow to your table?

If you understand how Word adds the drop-shadow effect to text and paragraphs, it is not that difficult to do the same thing with tables. The shadows are achieved by simply making the lines used for the right and bottom borders thicker than the lines used for the top and left borders. In other words, when you format your table borders, make sure that you select the right column and apply a heavy right-side border, then select the bottom row and apply a heavy bottom border.

If you want an even more realistic drop shadow for your tables, try these general steps:

  1. Insert a text box in your document.
  2. Insert your table inside the text box.
  3. Remove the borders from the table itself.
  4. Select the text box.
  5. Make sure the Format tab of the ribbon is displayed.
  6. Click the Shape Effects tool, in the Shape Styles group. Word displays various options.
  7. Hover the mouse pointer over the Shadow option. Word displays several different types of shadows from which you can choose.
  8. Select the type of shadow you want applied to the text box.

It may take some fiddling around, but you should be able to adjust the size of the table within the text box so that it takes up the entire text box. This approach works very well if you don't need internal grid borders visible in your table.

A third option is to simply make a light gray rectangle, as a graphic object, that is the same size as your table. This object can then be positioned slightly to the right of the table and slightly below it. You can then position the graphic object so it is behind the table, and it will appear as a drop shadow. If the gray object shows through the table in any manner, simply make sure that you fill the table with a solid color, such as white.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (10192) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, and 2013. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Drop Shadows for 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

Counting String Occurrences in Odd Rows

Counting the number of times text occurs within a range of cells can be relatively easy. If you need to only count ...

Discover More

Inserting Multiple Drawing Objects

When you need to add more than one of a particular drawing object to a worksheet, you can use the techniques described in ...

Discover More

Rechecking Spelling and Grammar

If you ever need to check the spelling or grammar of a document from scratch, it can be confusing knowing the proper steps to ...

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)

Hiding Gridlines

For those times when you remove the borders from your tables, Word provides a way that you can display non-printing ...

Discover More

Finding a Cell Reference

Want to know what the reference address is for a particular cell in a table? Word won't tell you, but you can use a macro to ...

Discover More

Setting a Default Table Border Width

When you insert a table into your document, it uses a standard-weight line around each cell in the table. If you want to ...

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 0 + 6?

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
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.