Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016. 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: Placing Text in Empty Table Cells.

Placing Text in Empty Table Cells

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated November 12, 2016)

When Liliana has a table in a document, the company requirements state that each cell in the table must have something in it. This means that if a cell is otherwise empty, it must contain either a dash or the letters "N/A." Liliana wonders if there is a way that she can automatically place either a dash or "N/A" into the empty cells of a table.

The only way to do this is with a macro. You can create one that steps through each of the cells in a table and checks to see what it contains. If the cell is empty, then the text you desire is placed in the cell. Here is an example macro that works on all the tables in a document, checking each cell:

Sub ProcCells1()
    Dim tTable As Table
    Dim cCell As Cell
    Dim sTemp As String

    sTemp = "N/A"

    For Each tTable In ActiveDocument.Range.Tables
        For Each cCell In tTable.Range.Cells
            'An apparently empty cell contains an end of cell marker
            If Len(cCell.Range.Text) < 3 Then
                cCell.Range = sTemp
            End If
        Next
    Next
    Set oCell = Nothing
    Set tTable = Nothing
End Sub

If you decide that you want your empty cells to contain a dash instead of "N/A", all you need to do is change the text placed in the sTemp variable. If you prefer a macro that works with a single table instead of all the tables in a document, the following variation works great:

Sub ProcCells2()
    Dim tTable As Table
    Dim cCell As Cell
    Dim sTemp As String

    sTemp = "N/A"

    If Selection.Information(wdWithInTable) Then
        Set tTable = Selection.Tables(1)
        For Each cCell In tTable.Range.Cells
            'An apparently empty cell contains an end of cell marker
            If Len(cCell.Range.Text) < 3 Then
                cCell.Range = sTemp
            End If
        Next
    End If
    Set oCell = Nothing
    Set tTable = Nothing
End Sub

In order to use this variation, just make sure the insertion point is within the table you wan to process before you run the macro.

If you prefer to not use macros, then there is a different approach you could consider—simply make sure that your table contains the desired dashes or "N/A" text before you start putting information in it. You could create a table template that contains a dash or "N/A" in every cell, and then as you place other information in the cell you simply delete the default text. (The various ways you can set up table templates is covered in other issues of WordTips.)

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (10773) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Placing Text in Empty Table Cells.

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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