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: Rounded Table Edges.
by Allen Wyatt
(last updated July 15, 2017)
Robyn is looking for a way to create a table that uses a rounded border for the outside of the table. There is no way to do this directly in Word (tables, with borders turned on, use square corners around the outside edges), but there is a workaround that will work with tables that don't extend past the bottom of the page.
Start by creating your table as you normally would. You can then adjust the table borders so that the interior cell borders are the way you want them, but there is no exterior border on the table. Then, use the drawing tools in Word (available on the Drawing toolbar) to draw a "rounded rectangle" around the table. You can adjust the properties of the drawing object so that the line weight is the same as the table borders and so that there is no fill color inside the object. If you don't want to get rid of the fill color, you'll need to move the rectangle so it is behind any text in the document.
You'll probably need to use some trial and error to get the rectangle to look natural with the existing table borders. You can make sure that the rectangle is sized correctly and that the lines in the border line up with the line in the rectangle. You may want to increase the zoom factor on your document to 200% or greater in order to get a better view of where the lines touch. You could also make sure that the table gridlines are enabled (gridlines only display, they don't print) so you can position the rectangle's border over the top of the gridlines. You'll also want to print the document to see if the borders on the table and rectangle line up properly on the printout.
Another option is to not rely on the table editor within Word, but use a different program to create the table. For instance, you might use Visio to create a table with rounded borders, and then insert the Visio object (the table) into your document.
WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (424) 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: Rounded Table Edges.
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