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Squaring 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: Squaring Table Cells.

Tables can be very handy for organizing information in a document. Word provides the tools you need to create, edit, and format tables. In formatting a table, you may wonder about the best way to "square" all the cells in the table so that they are the same height and width. The answer depends on which version of Word you are using.

Follow these general steps if you are using Word 2000, Word 2002, or Word 2003:

  1. Insert the table as you normally would, making sure it has the desired number of rows and columns.
  2. Select the entire table.
  3. Make sure that the paragraphs in the table are formatted so there is no space before or after. (Choose Format | Paragraph and set Before and After to zero.)
  4. Choose Table Properties from the Table menu. Word displays the Table Properties dialog box.
  5. Make sure the Column tab is displayed. (See Figure 1.)
  6. Figure 1. The Column tab of the Table Properties dialog box.

  7. In the Preferred Width box, enter the width you want used for each column.
  8. Display the Row tab. (See Figure 2.)
  9. Figure 2. The Row tab of the Table Properties dialog box.

  10. Make sure the Specify Height check box is selected, then specify the same height and measurement units you used for the column width in step 6.
  11. Make sure the Row Height Is drop-down list is set to Exactly.
  12. Display the Table tab, then click on Options. Word displays the Table Options dialog box.
  13. Make sure all four cell margins are set to the same value.
  14. Clear the Automatically Resize to Fit Contents check box.
  15. Close all the open dialog boxes.

If you are using Word 97, the steps are a bit different:

  1. Insert the table as you normally would, making sure it has the desired number of rows and columns.
  2. Select the entire table.
  3. Make sure that the paragraphs in the table are formatted so there is no space before or after. (Choose Format | Paragraph and set Before and After to zero.)
  4. Choose Cell Height and Width from the Table menu. Word displays the Cell Height and Width dialog box.
  5. Make sure the Column tab is displayed.
  6. In the Width of Columns box, enter the width you want used for each column.
  7. Display the Row tab.
  8. Make sure the Height of Rows drop-down list is set to Exactly.
  9. Enter the same value in the At box as you used in the step 6. You should note that the default measurement units in this box is points, while the default measurement units in step 6 is inches. Make sure you use the same measurement units here. (For instance, if you want the height to be .75 inches, you enter .75".)
  10. Close all the open dialog boxes.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (3890) 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: Squaring Table Cells.

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