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Tables within Tables

Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2000, 2002, and 2003. If you are using a later version (Word 2007 or later), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for later versions of Word, click here: Tables within Tables.

Word allows you to place one table within another table, which can be handy for some complex document layouts. (This ability was added in Word 2000; it is not available in Word 97.) To place a table within a table, follow these steps:

  1. Place your major table, as desired. Make sure that it has the number of rows and columns that you desire, and that you merge any cells that you want merged.
  2. Put the insertion point in the cell that you want to contain the secondary table.
  3. Insert your secondary table using any of the regular table insertion tools provided by Word.

That's it; the secondary table should be completely within the cell in which the insertion point was located. You may notice that the top and bottom borders of the secondary table you inserted are very close to the top and bottom borders of the cell in which the table was placed. If you want more separation between the cell and table borders, modify your creation steps just slightly:

  1. Place your major table, as desired. Make sure that it has the number of rows and columns that you desire, and that you merge any cells that you want merged.
  2. Put the insertion point in the cell that you want to contain the secondary table.
  3. Choose Table Properties from the Table menu. Word displays the Table Properties dialog box.
  4. Make sure the Cell tab is displayed.
  5. Click the Options button. Word displays the Cell Options dialog box. (See Figure 1.)
  6. Figure 1. The Cell Options dialog box.

  7. Clear the Same As the Whole Table check box.
  8. Using the controls just under the check box, specify the margins you want used within the cell.
  9. Click OK twice to dismiss both dialog boxes. The insertion point should still be in the cell where you want to place the secondary table.
  10. Insert your secondary table using any of the regular table insertion tools provided by Word.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (146) applies to Microsoft Word 2000, 2002, and 2003. You can find a version of this tip for the ribbon interface of Word (Word 2007 and later) here: Tables within Tables.

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