8 helpful table formatting tips in Microsoft Word

8 helpful table formatting tips in Microsoft Word

You cannot create beautiful Microsoft Word documents without tables. In Microsoft Word, tables are essential formatting tools. Microsoft Office has made it easy to create and format basic tables in Word for Office 365, Word 2019, Word 2016, and Word 2013.

The rate of using tables in Word is currently very low. It’s time to fix that as the number of people questioning how to properly format a table in Word is increasing dramatically. The following 8 tips will be a great place to start for everyone!

Format tables in Microsoft Word

  • 1. How to create a table in Word

    • How to position the table on the page?
  • 2. Use the Ruler tool
  • 3. Convert text into tables (and vice versa)

    • Microsoft Word converts text into tables
    • Convert tables to text
  • 4. Enter the column number automatically
  • 5. “Freeze” the board!
  • 6. Change rows to columns in the table
  • 7. Paste the Excel tables into Gmail
  • 8. Reuse your tables to save time

1. How to create a table in Word

Using tables and even changing them according to data has become much easier in new versions of Word, like Microsoft Word 2019 and Office 365. Intuitive formatting features give you greater control over your data ( and faster). But first let’s move on Ribbon > Insert > Table > Insert Table to create your own table.

Word gives you 5 options for creating tables.

The fastest way to get started is with Quick Tables. The integrated designs are quite useful, even if you don’t have a lot of design skills. You can modify the design by adding rows and columns, or deleting unnecessary rows and columns.

Delete or add or remove

Another quick way to create a table in Word is the feature Insert Control. You can create a new column or row with one click. Hover over a table. A bar appears just outside your table between two existing columns or rows. Click on it when it appears, and a new column or row will be inserted at that position.

Insert Control

When you want to move or arrange a row around, use key combinations Alt + Shift + Up arrow and Alt + Shift + Down arrow to sort rows up or down. Move adjacent rows by selecting all of them.

See also how to create a table in Word 2007 and Word 2016.

How to position the table on the page?

Right click on the table and select Table Properties from the context menu. Dialog box Table Properties Tool for precise control over data and how it is displayed. Control the size, alignment, and indent of the table.

By default, Word aligns a table to the left. If you want to center a table on the page, select the tab Table. Click Alignment > Center.

Indent From the left image controls the distance of the board from the left margin.

Distance from margin

Select the position of the table based on the text around it, so that the overall document will have an intuitive aesthetic interface. Use the handles to navigate the table. The text will automatically change the word None Fort Around. From the dialog box Table Positioning, you can set the distance from the text to each side of the board.

Table location

Choose Move with Text if the text is directly related to the table data. The table is vertically aligned with the associated paragraph around it. If the data in the table applies to the entire document, you can omit this option.

2. Use the Ruler tool

Sizing and positioning tables is an art. If you need precise metrics to size table rows and columns, use the Ruler tool.


Hover the mouse over the border. When the pointer with double arrows appears, click the border and hold down the key ALT. Microsoft Word displays specific metrics on the Ruler. Move the rows and columns to fit the size you want.

3. Convert text into tables (and vice versa)

Tabular data provides information about its structure. It would be frustrating if Word didn’t have something to handle non-tabular data. You can instantly convert data into tables with command Insert Table.

Select text. Transfer to Ribbon > Insert > Table > Insert Table.

Insert table

Microsoft Word converts text into tables

Microsoft Word determines the required number of rows and columns by reviewing the text separators and then automatically matching the content. Dialog box Convert Text to Table gives you more control if the previous action didn’t work properly. You can also choose how the contents of the table will appear on the page.

Convert text into tables

You can specify how Microsoft Word will split the data into rows and columns. Paragraph, tabs, commas, or any other delimiter. This allows you to easily import non-tabular data from a plain CSV or TXT file and convert them into formatted tables.

Convert tables to text

Reverse the process if someone asks you to send them files with values ​​separated by commas (or any other delimiter). Select the entire table by clicking the “move” handle above the table.

Transfer to Ribbon > Table Tools > Layout. In Data Group, please press Convert to Text.

Turn tables into text

Plain text can be boring. When you get the chance, convert the data table into a more visual chart, with one of the lesser-used features like this in Microsoft Word.

More reference: Guide to convert the table format in Word 2010 to text.

4. Enter the column number automatically

Microsoft Excel makes it very easy to autofill a sequence of ordinal numbers. But Microsoft Word doesn’t, and you may have to do this manually. However, there is a simpler way.

Create a new column for the ordinal numbers (if not already available). Select this column by hovering over the entire column.

With the column selected, go to Home > Paragraph, then click the button Numbering to insert numbered lists.

Enter the number automatically

A series of numbers will be inserted into the column automatically.

5. “Freeze” the board!

Microsoft Word tables resize them to contain new data. There may be times when you do not want these tables to be resized, even if new data is inserted. So let’s “freeze” the cells in the table.

The first step is to specify a fixed size for the cells. Transfer to Table Properties > Row, then enter a value in the box Specify height. As for the part Row height (row height), please select Exactly from the dropdown menu.


Now select the tab Table, Click the button Options, uncheck the checkbox Automatically Resize to Fit Contents.


Press OK twice to exit the dialog box Table Properties.

This also solves the problem of inserting an image into a cell without causing it to expand to accommodate the image. If the image is larger than the available space in the cell, it is cropped to fit the cell.

6. Change rows to columns in the table

There are situations where you have to change rows into columns and vice versa (columns to rows). One possible scenario is that the number of columns exceeds the page margin. Converting surrounding columns into rows and vice versa is called transposition.

The bad news is that Word doesn’t have a method in place to handle this. Microsoft recommends that you copy and paste your table into Microsoft Excel and use the command Transpose Inside. Then, copy and paste the converted table back into Microsoft Word.

Convert rows to columns

Refer to the article: How to convert columns to rows, rows to columns in Excel for detailed implementation.

7. Paste the Excel tables into Gmail

You will find a simple way to do this. By default, Gmail does not retain spreadsheet formatting when you paste from Microsoft Excel. To email tabular data without sending it as separate attachments, use Microsoft Word as a bridge.

Paste the board into Gmail

Select, copy and paste Microsoft Excel tables into Microsoft Word documents in the source format. Now, copy and paste from Microsoft Word to Gmail. As you can see from the screenshots, the issue has been resolved. You may have to tweak formatted tables a little more, but most formats are preserved.

8. Reuse your tables to save time

You can save a lot of time by reusing tables, when you create professional reports and documents. Save blank table formats and insert new data when required. With this quick save, you won’t have to recreate the layout from scratch for new data.

Choose a table. Transfer to Ribbon > Insert > Text group > click Quick Parts > Save Selection to Quick Part Gallery.

Reuse table

After you save your selection Quick Part GalleryYou can reuse your selection by clicking Quick Parts and choose that option from the gallery.

Use Building Blocks Organizer to preview any tables you’ve created. You can also edit properties and delete tables from here.

The above are just basic tips Make tech easier want to share with readers. Of course, they may not be enough for your day-to-day work, but may be quite useful for those just starting out.

Tables are what Microsoft Word and Excel have in common. Microsoft Excel is a better tool for handling tables, but good table management in Word is also an essential skill. Use them anywhere when the opportunity arises!

Good luck!

See more:

  • Useful tips on Microsoft Word 2016
  • Useful Word tricks you should not ignore
  • Summary of common Microsoft Word keyboard shortcuts


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