Formatting Tables

There are many formatting attributes you can apply to tables in Word to make your tables appear just right. Things like alignment, spacing, borders and shading are simple modifications you can make to format your table. The following articles discuss how to format tables to display your information how you want.

Tips, Tricks, and Answers

The following articles are available for the 'Formatting Tables' topic. Click the article''s title (shown in bold) to see the associated article.

   Adding Diagonal Borders
Want to add a border diagonally, through the middle of a table cell? It's easy if you follow the formatting steps presented in this tip.

   Adding Gridlines to a Table
You can easily add borders to your table cells. This tip shows you how.

   Adjusting Table Row Height
When working with tables, you can adjust the height of individual rows. How you go about such adjustments depends on the version of Word you are using.

   Aligning Decimal Numbers in Tables
Need to align numbers around their decimal point within a table? It's easy to do by using the three simple steps provided in this tip.

   Aligning Positive and Negative Whole Numbers in a Column
When you use a table to present numeric information, you may want to have Word align the numbers in the table. This can be a challenge in some situations, such as if your negative numbers use parentheses around them. Here's how to align such numbers properly within the table.

   Applying Consistent Shading to a Table
Formatting tables can be very time consuming. When you get a document from another person, you can spend a lot of time formatting their tables, as well. Here's a couple of ways you can shorten the table-formatting time you need to spend.

   Changing Cell Alignment
Individual cells in a table can be aligned any way you desire. As pointed out here, just select the cell and apply the formatting.

   Changing Spacing Between Table Cells
Need to adjust the space between individual cells in a table? Word gives you a good deal of control over this spacing, as discussed in this tip.

   Changing Table Cell Text Direction
When creating a table, you can turn the orientation of the text, within a cell, by ninety degrees in either direction from normal. It's easy to do using either dialog boxes or toolbars, as described in this tip.

   Copying Fill Color in a Table
You may spend some time getting the color in a portion of a table just right, only to be faced with the task of copying that shading to other cells in the table. There are several ways you can accomplish this task, as described in this tip.

   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.

   Finding an Optimal Table Height
Word can adjust the height of individual rows in a table based on the information you put in each row. This may not result in the optimum table design, however. Here's a discussion of why this happens and what you can try to do about it.

   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 Currency
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.

   Formatting Lots of Tables
Do you need a quick way to format your tables? Believe it or not, there are several tools you can use from Word's arsenal to make table formatting easier and easier.

   Getting Rid of Background Color in All Tables
When working with tables (particularly those created by others), you can spend a large amount of time getting the formatting the way you want. If you need to routinely remove background shading from tables, here's a couple of ways you can make your task easier.

   How to Stop a Table Row from Splitting Over Two Pages
Do you want your table rows to be split between pages? Word allows you to format the table so that rows stay together and don't split. How you do the formatting depends on the version of Word you are using.

   Keeping Table Rows Together
When you create a table that extends beyond a single page, you may want to make sure that the information in a table row doesn’t span a page break. You can make sure that Word presents the table the way you expect by adjusting the table formatting.

   Keeping Tables on One Page
Need to make sure that your smaller tables stay on a single page? Here's a handy trick you can use to enforce this rule.

   Last-Row Border Formatting
How to make the border on the last row on a page look right.

   Limiting Lines in a Table Cell
When creating tables, Word automatically sets the size of the cells. But what if you want to make sure each cell is a certain height? This tip explains how to format your table so it looks the way you want.

   Pulling Tables Back Into View
If you make structural changes to your table by adding new columns here and there, you could easily end up with a table that is wider than what can be displayed on-screen. Here’s how to get your table back into view.

   Quickly Removing Table Borders
Insert a table in your document and Word assumes that you want borders around the table and its cells. Here's a shortcut that allows you to easily remove those borders.

   Repeating Table Rows with Manual Page Breaks
Need to make sure part of a table is on one page and part on another? The way to do so is not to use manual page breaks, for all the reasons described 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.

   Resizing Your Table
Need to make your table a different size? It's easy to do, using the same general technique you use when resizing a graphic. This tip walks you through the steps to do the resizing.

   Setting a Default Table Border Width
When you insert a table into your document, it uses a standard-weight line around each cell in the table. If you want to change that default line weight, you may be out of luck. Here are a couple of macros you can use to make it easier to change the line weight.

   Shading Table Rows
Need to format the rows of a table so that your data is showcased better? Here are a few ways you can get the shading you need.

   Space after a Table
Those familiar with styles are used to setting vertical spacing before or after paragraphs. You can get just the look you want when it comes to spacing, except in regard to tables. Getting a certain amount of space after a table can take some trial and error, as detailed in this tip.

   Tables within Tables
Inserting a table in a document is easy. Did you know that you can also insert a table within another table? Word allows you to easily nest your tables, as described in this tip.

   Vertical Lines in Word
Lines can help to organize the data on a page or make certain points clearer. Word provides several different ways you can add vertical lines to your page layout.

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