by Allen Wyatt
(last updated September 21, 2013)
Anne is having problems getting the spacing above and below her tables to work properly. The paragraph styles she uses for her document body have 6 points before and 6 points after, which provides an aggregated 12 points between paragraphs. However, this spacing doesn't seem to apply (at least not properly) before and after tables. She is looking for the best way to control spacing before and after tables.
There are only two ways to adjust the spacing, and the method you use depends on how the table itsef is formatted within your document.
Tables can be either inline or not, the same as text boxes and graphics. When you insert a table it is, by default, inserted inline. You can adjust spacing before and after a table my making it non-inline, which is a particularly good approach if your table extends across the entire width of the page. Follow these steps:
Figure 1. The Table tab of the Table Properties dialog box.
Figure 2. The Table Positioning dialog box.
There is one drawback with this approach: Your table now is treated as an independent element in the document, which means that text can flow around it. If you need the table to always be after a particular paragraph, then you'll want to check after any heavy editing that it is still where you expect it to be.
If you want your table to remain inline, then the proper approach to take is to adjust the spacing on the paragraph immediately before the table and the paragraph immediately after the table. If you are using styles, as Anne does, the easiest way to do this is to create two additional styles based on whatever body style you are using in your document. One style would be for the paragraph before the table and the other for the paragraph after.
For instance, let's say you create two styles called TableBefore and TableAfter. You could format the TableBefore style so that the Space After setting is however-many points you want to appear between the text and the table. You can then format the TableAfter style so that the Space Before setting is likewise reflective of the space you want after the table. Apply the styles appropriately, and your table should appear "spaced" properly.
It should be noted that it does no good to try to adjust the spacing of any of the paragraphs within the table, particularly if the table has borders visible. That will only adjust the spacing within the table cell in which the paragraph is located and won't affect the actual space between the table and the surrounding paragraphs.
WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (11729) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, and 2013.
The First and Last Word on Word! Bestselling For Dummies author Dan Gookin puts his usual fun and friendly candor back to work to show you how to navigate Word 2013. Spend more time working and less time trying to figure it all out! Check out Word 2013 For Dummies today!
If you've got a table that spans multiple printed pages, you probably want to repeat a row or two of that table as a heading ...Discover More
Need to make sure that your smaller tables stay on a single page? Here's a handy trick you can use to enforce this rule.Discover More
If you've adjusted the height of your table and the rows within the table, you might want to later return all those rows to a ...Discover More
FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."
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.