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Centering Information in Table Cells

Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 97, 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: Centering Information in Table Cells.

Tables are a powerful formatting tool used in many Word documents. Often it is necessary to center information within the cells of a table. There are two ways to center information: horizontally and vertically.

Horizontal centering is quite simple. All you need to do is position the insertion point somewhere within the text and then click on the Center button on the Home tab of the ribbon or on the Formatting toolbar. Centering text vertically is almost as easy:

  1. Right-click on the cell containing the information you want to vertically center. This displays a Context menu for the cell.
  2. Choose the Alignment (Word 97) or Cell Alignment (Word 2000 or later) option from the Context menu. This displays a submenu.
  3. Choose the Center Vertically option.

You should note that vertical centering will not give the desired results if you have the paragraph formatting for the text set to anything except single spacing, with no space before or after the paragraph. This extra spacing before or after affects the centering in the same way that paragraph indents affect horizontal spacing.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (1501) applies to Microsoft Word 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. You can find a version of this tip for the ribbon interface of Word (Word 2007 and later) here: Centering Information in Table Cells.

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Comments for this tip:

hamizah    09 May 2016, 21:18
Thank you so much!!
Father Pahomie    25 Mar 2016, 14:06
Things are standing better:

What you could do for a single cell (vertical alignement, you can do for a whole tab at once.
Just go to the upper left corner of the table and right click on "+" that appears there. Than select Tab prop and cell and choose wanted.


Cayce    18 Mar 2016, 05:46
As a web & mobile app developer, I have to use MSWord & Excel frequently in my database work. The text on this page declares, "Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world." It's only that because MicroSoft got there first, not because of the quality of the program. Nothing costs me more time in my work than dealing with the inefficiency and sloppy, thoughtless programming of these applications. The fact that I'm having to spend nearly a half hour researching how to get text to vertically center in a table cell—only to find (thus far) that it can only be done on a Per-Cell basis)—is evidence. For one of the richest companies in the World, MicroSoft authors the most dysfunctional programs the computing age has ever seen, and continues to do so. The only way I have come up with for dealing with the frustrations of using these programs is to imagine that I'm trying to work with a retarded child, and not expect anything more than that in return.

Thank you, Allan Wyatt, for being here for us, and getting us through this nonsense called MicroSoft.
Shelly    01 Feb 2016, 15:03
I am so happy! The note about the paragraph settings causing trouble with vertical centering solved my problem! Thank you so much!
C    10 Sep 2015, 17:32
(Thanks to Joel for the comment -- that did the trick.)
C    10 Sep 2015, 17:30
Thanks so much! Re-learning how to get Word / MS products to do what you want (if they even will) is so tiresome.
Fern    08 Sep 2015, 07:29
Thanks so much!
Joyca Amend    30 Jul 2015, 15:16
Every time I create a table in a word document the indents for each cell do not line up with the cell size. This means that every time I go to center the words they are actually OFF center because the indents are wrong. Help!!
Harold    16 Jul 2015, 17:11
I am constantly running into a problem with MS Word tables where the fonts in a cell want to only show the bottom half of the words in the cell. If I vertically center the words it still just shows the bottom half of the words. How can that be rectified?
Joel    03 Jul 2015, 14:08
Vertical alignment for Word 2013:

Select the cell, right click, select Table Properties, then select the Cell tab. You should see options there for vertical allignment.
Mark Oliver    21 Apr 2015, 15:48
For Word 2013 right click to Table Properties, then chose one of the Table, Row, Column, Cell, or Alt Text tabs.
Silvia    28 Nov 2014, 06:27
This don't work in Word 2013
James K    17 Aug 2014, 09:01
Thank You for this article! I had tried for nearly an hour to get my table to format correctly, to no avail. I tried every option available and had never considered that it might by the default paragraph style causing the misaligned.

My Problem was solved in a single click after reading your tip!


~ James
Carole Crisp    22 May 2014, 11:04
How about when working in a table? For some reason there always seems to be one row or a couple of cells that will not format as suggested. Any ideas?
Mary Frances Rauch    09 Feb 2014, 10:55
Very timely. Just last week I needed to remember this tip and had to apply a little "head-scratching" to do so. Thanks to you and previous articles, I got it done!
Your ongoing advice is so very helpful.
Hope you and yours are well. We, here in Ohio, have been frozen in time (snowed in many times) this winter so far. At the moment it is snowing so fast and heavy that it is difficult to see very far down the road.
Thank you!

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