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

Aligning Borders with the Page Margins

Add a border to a paragraph and you may find that it extends to the left and right of the regular text margins. To pull the ...

Discover More

Horizontal Alignment Errors for Graphics

Discussion of alignment differences for graphics in Word 97 and Word 2000.

Discover More

Spell-Checking in a Protected Worksheet

When you protect a worksheet, you can't use some tools, including the spell-checker. If you want to use it, you must ...

Discover More

Comprehensive VBA Guide Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) is the language used for writing macros in all Office programs. This complete guide shows both professionals and novices how to master VBA in order to customize the entire Office suite for their needs. Check out Mastering VBA for Office 2010 today!

MORE WORDTIPS (RIBBON)

Jumping to Tables

If your document contains quite a few tables, you may find it helpful to jump quickly from one table to another. There are ...

Discover More

Quickly Moving Your Table

For those who love to use the mouse during editing, you can use the little critter to help move your tables to exactly where ...

Discover More

Noting Table Rows Containing a Character

If you want to have Word highlight rows in a table that contain a certain character, you need to resort to using a macro. ...

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 nine more than 1?

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.


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.

Links and Sharing