Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007 and 2010. 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: Formatting Lots of Tables.

Formatting Lots of Tables

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated August 5, 2013)

2

Word includes a very powerful table editor that allows you to make short work of presenting tables in your documents. To quickly format a table, you can use Word's Table AutoFormat feature if you so desire.

Even though the Table AutoFormat feature is great, it doesn't provide optimal formatting for all users. It is not unusual to need entirely different table formatting than what is available with AutoFormat. If you have many tables to format, and the formatting of your tables is complex, you may be longing for the ability to add your own table formats to Word.

There are ways you can lighten your table-formatting burdens, however. All you need to do is use the following features of Word.

  • Styles. You can define styles for the way information should appear within your tables. Once you actually insert the information into the table, you can then apply a style to the data, thereby automatically setting font, indent, spacing, and alignment information. Word even allows you to create table styles that define the general appearance of your tables.
  • Macros. As you format a table to appear the way you want it, simply record a macro that you can later replay. Provided you are acting upon entire tables, columns, or rows, you can easily use the macro to speed subsequent formatting tasks. The macro can even be assigned to the Quick Access Toolbar or a shortcut key to make formatting your tables even easier.
  • AutoText. If you set up your tables before inserting information into them, you can create a blank table and then save it within an AutoText entry. Insert the entry at a later time, and your blank table is immediately available for inserting information.

How you mix and match these features to achieve your goals is up to you. (How you use each of these features has been the focus of considerable time in past issues of WordTips.) With a bit of careful preparation and planning, you can easily automate and cut your table formatting tasks down to size.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (12325) applies to Microsoft Word 2007 and 2010. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Formatting Lots of 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

Upside-Down Text with PostScript

Got a printer that understands PostScript? You can use some simple PostScript coding to turn text completely upside down on ...

Discover More

Limits on Path Length in Word

When you organize your hard drive, it is easy to go hog-wild with folders and subfolders. You need to know that how you ...

Discover More

Changing Fonts in Data Validation Drop-Down Lists

The data validation capabilities of Excel allow you to easily create drop-down lists showing what data is acceptable for a ...

Discover More

Learning Made Easy! Quickly teach yourself how to format, publish, and share your content using Word 2013. With Step by Step, you set the pace, building and practicing the skills you need, just when you need them! Check out Microsoft Word 2013 Step by Step today!

MORE WORDTIPS (RIBBON)

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

Counting Values in Table Cells

In Excel it is easy to count how many times a certain character occurs in a column of cells. In Word, it is a bit trickier. ...

Discover More

Creating and Using Standardized Tables

If you have a common table layout that you want to use again and again, you'd benefit by having an easy way to save that ...

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 for this tip:

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. 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 eight more than 7?

2012-12-04 01:08:13

spg

Word tips mentioned above are very useful. also the tip mentioned by MaryB is useful, I feel she mean adding to 'Table Style'.


2012-12-01 10:01:01

MaryB

Another quick way to save a formatted table is to add it to Quick Parts. I've also used that function for logos, signatures, instructions that are frequently e-mailed to people, as well as standard text boilerplate. In my experience, Quick Parts are much more controllable than Styles.


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.

Links and Sharing
Share