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: Differing Column Widths when Pasting.
by Allen Wyatt
(last updated November 6, 2018)
When working with tables, it is not uncommon to cut rows from one table and paste them into another. The result of such actions may not be what you expect, however. The pasted rows—even if they have the same number of columns as the target table—may look "out of balance," with the cell borders not lining up with the row now above or below it.
There are a couple of ways you can fix this situation. The first solution involves making a change to how you actually paste the rows into the target table. Try this the next time you want to do the pasting:
Figure 1. What to select in the table.
If you follow this process, then the content from the source table is copied into cells in the target table. New rows are created, as necessary, and these rows have the same cell widths as the other rows in the table.
There is one gottcha here. Notice that this technique involves adding a blank row at the end of the table (step 2). This is because when you paste into the last row, Word automatically adds as many rows as you need. If you want to paste the source information in some other location within the table, then you may end up overwriting information already in the table—unless you add enough blank rows to accommodate the data that will be pasted into the table.
If you are working with a table that already has messed-up column widths on individual rows, then you obviously cannot use the above technique. Instead, you may want to use the AutoFit feature of Word. Follow these steps:
If desired, you can also use AutoFit by just double-clicking on the left border of the table. This approach affects any columns that contain information, but doesn't change the width of any empty columns.
Another approach is to do a table-to-text-to-table conversion process, which ends up in allowing Word to define new column widths. Follow these general steps:
Finally, if you have quite a few tables with messed-up column widths, you can create a macro that will go through and essentially perform an AutoFit on each table in the document.
Sub AutoFitAllTables() Dim oTbl As Table For Each oTbl In ActiveDocument.Tables oTbl.Columns.AutoFit Next oTbl End Sub
WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (13245) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, and 2013. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Differing Column Widths when Pasting.
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