Tips, Tricks, and Answers
The following articles are available for the 'Tables' topic. Click the article''s title (shown in bold) to see the associated article.
Adding a Line Before a Table
Easily add a blank line before your already inserted table.
Adding Borders to Cell Contents
Word allows you to quickly add borders to cells in a table, but you may not know that you can also add borders to the text within the cells. It all depends on a single setting in the Borders and Shading dialog box, as described here.
Blank Lines before Tables
Adding a blank line before your table is easy, but Word's behavior as you attempt to make the insert can depend on where the table is located in the document. Here's the skinny on how Word handles your attempts.
Blank Page Printing after Table at End of Document
When you print, do you get an extra blank page printed at the end of the document? It could be because of the final paragraph mark in the document being pushed to that blank page. This tip discusses ways you can get rid of that unwanted blank page.
Cannot Set Heading Rows in a Table
Word allows you to specify which rows in a table should be considered headings. What if setting the headings doesn't work like you think it should? Here's one thing to check.
Centering a Table
Left-justified tables are great for many document designs, but you may want instead to center a table between the margins of the page. Here's how you can make Word do the centering.
Converting a Table into Text
Word includes a power table editor that allows you to create and work with tables easily. At some point, however, you might want to convert the contents of your table into plain text. Here's how to do it.
Converting Tables to Text
Need to convert all the tables in your document into plain text? This tip provides a macro that can make quick work of a bunch of tables.
Counting Values in Table Cells
In Excel it is easy to count how many times a certain character occurs in a column of cells. In Word, it is a bit trickier. It could be done with a macro, but there is an even easier way, as described in this tip.
Creating a Split Page
In WordPerfect terminology, a split page allows you to put information side-by-side on opposite halves of the page. If you want to accomplish the same task in Word, the best method is to use a table, as described in this tip.
Deleting a Table
Tired of that old table taking up space in your document? You can get rid of it using a variety of techniques—some of which are highlighted in this tip.
You can modify the structure of a table by deleting cells. This tip shows just how easy it is to delete one (or more) cells from the middle of a table.
Different Layout for a Portion of a Page
Got a document layout that requires a portion of the page to be in one layout and another portion to be in a different layout? While Word is better at word processing than at document design, there are some things you can do to get the layout to appear the way you want.
Different Table Captions on Multiple Pages
If you have a table that spans multiple pages, you may want to add a caption to the table and have that caption use different wording on the first page of the table. While Word doesn’t allow you to do this directly, the information in this tip provides a workaround that is easy to implement.
Differing Column Widths when Pasting
When you move information from one table to another, you may be faced with the problem of making that information fit within the structure of the target table. Here’s some techniques you can use to make the post-pasting table look the way you want it to.
Distributing Table Rows Evenly
If you've adjusted the height of your table and the rows within the table, you might want to later return all those rows to a uniform height. In Word this is referred to as "distributing" rows, and it is an easy task to do, as discussed in this tip.
Erroneous Table Math
Depending on the type of data you have in your table, the SUM(ABOVE) function might return incorrect results. Here’s an explanation of why this happens, along with several ways to work around the problem.
Expanding Width of All Tables
If you have a lot of tables in your documents, you might want to change the width of all of them. You can take forever doing it manually, or you can apply the simple macro in this tip to make quick work of the task.
Finding a Cell Reference
Want to know what the reference address is for a particular cell in a table? Word won’t tell you, but you can use a macro to figure it out.
Finding and Deleting Rows
Got a table that contains rows you want to delete? Deleting one or two rows in a table is easy; deleting a bunch of rows that meet certain criteria can be more difficult. Here’s a way you can make the deletions.
Fitting Text Into Cells
Need a way to make sure your text fits within the space available in a table cell? Word has a handy setting that will adjust your text's format, as necessary, to make it fit.
Footnotes for Tables
Word includes a powerful feature that allows you to add footnotes and endnotes to your document. What if you want them at the bottom of a table, however? There are a couple of approaches you can try, as described in this tip.
Formatting an ASCII Table with Spaces
When you get a text file from a program other than Word, tabular information may be formatted with nothing but spaces in between columns. You can easily convert such information to Word’s native table structure by using the macro in this tip.
Formatting an ASCII Table with Tabs
If you get a document from a coworker that has tabs used to line up tabular information, you might want to change that type of formatting to a regular table. Word provides some capabilities to do this, but you may want to use the macro presented in this tip to make the conversion even easier.
If you need to format a number so that it appears as currency, it is not as easy to do in Word as it is in Excel. You can use the technique introduced in this tip (utilizing fields) to control exactly how you want that number displayed.
Freezing a Table
Tired of Word changing the dimensions of table cells to accommodate what you place in those cells? You can instruct Word to leave your table cells alone and accept the dimensions you use.
Freezing Cell Size when Inserting Pictures
Insert a picture into a table cell, and you may quickly find that the table is no longer the size you expected. Here's how to make sure that the cells in your table don't resize themselves when you insert an image.
For those times when you remove the borders from your tables, Word provides a way that you can display non-printing gridlines. These help you to see the structure of your table.
Hiding Table Gridlines, by Default
The edges to table cells are shown two ways in Word: gridlines and borders. Table gridlines are only seen in Word; they do not print. Borders are visible in Word and on the printed page. Applying borders to table cells overrides the display or hiding of gridlines.
Indenting a Table
Insert a table into your document, and it normally appears aligned with the left margin. Word allows you to indent the table by applying the techniques described in this tip.
Index Number for the Active Table
For some programming needs, it is important to determine the index of an object within a collection of such objects. This tip discusses ways you can determine the index number of a table within the Tables collection.
Jumping to Tables
If your document contains quite a few tables, you may find it helpful to jump quickly from one table to another. There are two ways you can do this: using Go To and the Object Browser.
Jumping to the Ends of Table Columns
Need a quick shortcut to jump to the top or bottom of a table column? Here are the two shortcuts you are searching for.
Jumping to the Ends of Table Rows
Need to jump from one end of a table row to another? Word provides a couple of handy shortcuts that can make this type of navigation a snap.
Keep Your Headings in View
Headings on a table are very important when it comes to understanding what is in the table. This tip explains an easy way you can keep those headings in view when working with very long tables.
Line Numbering and Tables
Some types of documents (such as legal documents) may require that individual lines of text be numbered. If you use tables to organize the data that appears on the page, you may be surprised when your text lines don't have line numbers. Here's why that happens and some workarounds you can explore.
Moving a Table Column
Want to move a column in a table very easily? You can do so by using the same editing techniques you are already using.
Moving a Table Row
Want to move a row in a table very easily? You can do so by using the same editing techniques you are already using.
Noting Table Rows Containing a Character
If you want to have Word highlight rows in a table that contain a certain character, you need to resort to using a macro. This tip shows how such a macro could work to give the desired results.
Nudging a Table
When laying out a page, you often need to move objects around to get them into just the right position. Word allows you to "nudge" most objects, which means to move them some miniscule amount up, down, left, or right. Not so with tables, as you discover in this tip.
Overriding Automatic Numbering of Tables
Word lets you add automatic numbering to different elements of your document. It does not, however, allow much flexibility in how those numbers are applied.
Picking a Contiguous Range of Table Cells
Creating a table in Word is a relatively simple task. When you want to format or edit information in the table, often the first step is to select the cells you want to affect. Word provides several techniques you can use to select those cells.
Placing Text in Empty Table Cells
Tables are often used to organize information into an understandable format. If your company requires that tables in formal reports always contain something in every cell, you may long for a way to speed up making sure that cells aren’t empty. Here’s a couple of ways you can approach the problem.
Protecting a Table Column
Do you need a way to protect the information you put in a table? Word doesn’t have a way to do this, but there are a few workarounds you can use.
Putting Something in Every Cell of a Table
Need to make sure that all the cells of a table have something in them? It’s easy to do with a handy little macro.
Quick Recall of Table Formats
Got a table that you use over and over again? One way you can make quick work of such repetition is to save the table in an AutoText entry. This tip shows how easy this is.
Quickly Inserting Table Rows
Need to pop a few extra rows into a table? It is easy to do using the same tools you used to create the table in the first place. This tip explains how you can add the rows you need.
Quickly Moving Your Table
For those who love to use the mouse during editing, you can use the little critter to help move your tables to exactly where you want them. Using click-and-drag techniques, you can make quick work of the move.
Repeating Column Information on Each Page
When your table occupies lots of pages, you may want to have information in a particular column repeated on each page. Word doesn't provide this ability, as discussed in this tip.
Resizing Table Columns with the Mouse
Once a table is inserted in your document, you can use the mouse to adjust the width of columns. The effect the mouse pointer has on column widths depends, primarily, on your use of keys such as Shift and Ctrl.
Selecting a Table
There are several different ways you can select an entire table in Word. The various methods and shortcuts are described in this tip.
Selecting Individual Cells in a Table
Many times before applying formatting or doing another operation, you need to select an individual cell in a table. Here's the quickest ways to make the selection.
Setting Consistent Column Widths in Multiple Tables
Tables are great for organizing and presenting information in a document. If you have a document containing multiple tables, you may be interested in making sure that the widths of columns in those tables are consistent.
Setting Up Multi-page Columns
Do you need a page layout that features columns that progress vertically across pages instead of horizontally across a page? If so, then columns may not be the best approach to use. Try a table, instead!
Spacing Table Rows Vertically
Want to get just the right amount of spacing above and below text in a table cell? A very easy way to do this is to adjust the paragraph spacing, as you do when formatting normal text.
Squaring Table Cells
Inserting a table is fast and easy in Word. You may want to make sure that the cells in the table are as square as possible. Here's how to do this task.
Stopping Enter from being Pressed In a Form
If you create a form using Word, chances are good that you don’t want a user to mess up the layout of the form by pressing Enter where they shouldn’t. Here’s a tip that explains what is happening and how you can best protect against users distorting the form.
Summing a Table Column
Need to add a sum to a column of figures in a table? Word makes it relatively easy to provide the sum you need.
Suppressing a Zero in a Calculated Sum
You can use fields to calculate a sum of values in a table column. Here are two ways you can modify what is displayed by the fields if the sum is zero.
Table Borders Won't Print
Print a table and you may be surprised if it has no borders. That could be because you actually have the borders turned off. Confused? You don't need to be (read this tip).
Table Header Rows after a Manual Page Break
Insert a manual page break into the middle of a table, and you may find that subsequent pages of the table don't always look like you expect. The reason is discussed in this tip, along with some solutions to get around the problem.
Table Numbers are Skipped
What do you do if you add numbered captions to an element of your document (such as tables) and Word skips a number? There are a couple of things you can check to discover where the problem lies, as discussed in this tip.
Table Won't Flow to Second Page
Have you ever created a table that never seems to flow to a second page, even when it should? This could be caused by any number of settings within Word, as described in this tip.
Transposing Table Contents
When you transpose information, it is essentially "rotated" in a direction. If you transpose the information in a table, then the rows become columns and the columns become rows. This cannot be done directly in Word, but you can accomplish it if you work in conjunction with Excel.
Unwanted Vertical Lines in a Table
When you print a table that includes borders, those borders should be crisp and clear on the printout. If you get some unexpected lines around the borders, there could be a number of different reasons.
Using Outline Numbering in a Table
If you have worked with tables in Word, you probably know how to navigate through the cells with keyboard shortcuts. This navigation system can become tricky if you use outline numbering in the table and try to use the same shortcuts. Fortunately, there is a way to navigate both the table and the numbering using your keyboard. Here's how.
When users add information to a Word document, you may want that information to somehow be validated—to make sure it meets some criteria that you define. Unfortunately, Word doesn’t provide great resources for validating information. Here are some ideas you can consider.
Viewing Formulas in Table Cells
Word allows you to insert simple formulas, using fields, in table cells. If you want to see these formulas in their entirety, you may need to adjust how Word displays the rows in the table.