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: Blank Lines before Tables.

Blank Lines Before Tables

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated May 22, 2018)

11

If you want to place a blank line before a table, exactly how you do so depends on where the table is located in your document. This may sound strange, but it seems to be the way that Word just works. If the table is the very first thing in the document, all you need to do is press Ctrl+Home to position the insertion point at the left side of the first cell of the table. Then press Enter. Word places a blank line before the table.

This only works if the table is the first thing in the document. If you try this with a table that is anywhere else in a document, Word simply adds a new paragraph within the first cell of the table. To place a new blank line before the table, you must move to the end of the paragraph just before the table and press Enter. (You aren't pressing Enter in the table; you are pressing it just before the table.)

The upshot of this behavior is that if you want a new paragraph within the first cell of a table, and the table is at the very beginning of the document, you can't get it by pressing Enter, or other combinations of Enter such as Alt+Enter or Ctrl+Enter. Instead, you must either copy the paragraph mark to the cell from a different location, or you can follow these steps:

  1. Press Ctrl+Home to position the insertion pointer in the first cell at the beginning of the table and document.
  2. Press Enter. A blank line (paragraph) appears before the table. The insertion point is on the blank line.
  3. Press the Down Arrow to again position the insertion pointer at the beginning of the first cell of the table.
  4. Press Enter. A new paragraph is added in the first cell.
  5. Delete the new paragraph added after step 2.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (13091) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, and 2013. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Blank Lines before 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. ...

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Comments

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What is 5 + 9?

2018-05-23 10:08:31

Andrew

I should have point out that you can manually accomplish this by doing a "Split Table" with the cursor located in the first row.

Andy.


2018-05-23 10:05:38

Andrew

Or this macro (bound to a convenient key if you use it often, like I do)

Sub InsertParagraphBeforeSelectedTable()
' Insert paragraph immediately before first table in selection.
If Selection.Tables.Count = 0 Then MsgBox "Selection must contain a table.", vbExclamation: Exit Sub
Selection.Tables(1).Select
Selection.Collapse wdCollapseStart
Selection.SplitTable
End Sub


2018-05-22 03:24:15

Bruno

This is not updated to the latest versions of Word. I remember struggling with this in the past but just went to try and in current version of Word 365 pressing enter in the first cell of a table at the top of the first page results creating a blank line above the table and the table moving one line down.


2017-04-07 19:23:05

Connie Goss

Sorry, correction: on my previous post I should have said Alt + numpad 5 to select the table, not Ctrl.


2017-04-07 18:45:01

Connie Goss

The solution presented for tables in the middle of a document doesn't always work for me, especially if the table is right after a new-page section break. Here's what I do instead:

1. Select the table (Ctrl + numpad 5)
2. Cut the table (Ctrl + X)
3. Hit Return a few times to insert empty paragraphs
4. Move the cursor below one of the paragraphs
5. Paste the table back in (Ctrl + V)

This seems to work every time.


2014-07-30 16:27:43

Anne

Or after step 1 simply type any character in the cell and press Enter. Then delete the character.


2014-05-15 12:10:15

Richard

Position the cursor at the beginning of the first cell. Go to Table Tools > Layout tab > Merge group > Split Table.
While not intuitive, it works.
I don't have tables at the top of my documents so I hadn't spotted the strange Enter behaviour in the first cell.


2014-05-03 21:29:05

sheila mcinnes

Just use the back arrow from the first cell and press Enter


2014-05-03 16:48:14

Pam Caswell

You can also add a paragraph mark before a table anywhere in a document by placing the cursor in the first row of the table and clicking split table. This works best if the table is not wrapped.


2014-05-03 09:43:51

Peter

All this time I figured that I just didn't know what I was doing. Somehow it is reassuring to know that Word really is difficult in some areas, and I was doing just what it needed. Thanks for the clarification.


2014-05-03 07:39:43

Jim

This is a much needed tip. I can't remember the multitude of times I'm wrestled with this problem. Now all I have to remember is Ctrl-Enter.

Too easy.

Thanks.


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