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: Formatting Lots of Tables.

Formatting Lots of Tables

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated August 5, 2013)

Word includes a very powerful table editor that allows you to make short work of presenting tables in your documents. To quickly format a table, you can use Word's Table AutoFormat feature if you so desire.

Even though the Table AutoFormat feature is great, it doesn't provide optimal formatting for all users. It is not unusual to need entirely different table formatting than what is available with AutoFormat. If you have many tables to format, and the formatting of your tables is complex, you may be longing for the ability to add your own table formats to Word.

There are ways you can lighten your table-formatting burdens, however. All you need to do is use the following features of Word.

  • Styles. You can define styles for the way information should appear within your tables. Once you actually insert the information into the table, you can then apply a style to the data, thereby automatically setting font, indent, spacing, and alignment information.
  • Macros. As you format a table to appear the way you want it, simply record a macro that you can later replay. Provided you are acting upon entire tables, columns, or rows, you can easily use the macro to speed subsequent formatting tasks. The macro can even be assigned to a toolbar button, menu selection, or shortcut key to make formatting your tables even easier.
  • AutoText. If you set up your tables before inserting information into them, you can create a blank table and then save it within an AutoText entry. Insert the entry at a later time, and your blank table is immediately available for inserting information.

How you mix and match these features to achieve your goals is up to you. (How you use each of these features has been the focus of considerable time in past issues of WordTips.) With a bit of careful preparation and planning, you can easily automate and cut your table formatting tasks down to size.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (869) 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: Formatting Lots of Tables.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He  is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Setting the Print Area

Many people, when they print a worksheet, print the entire thing. You don't have to, however. You can specify that Excel ...

Discover More

Generating Random Strings of Characters

If you need to generate a random sequence of characters, of a fixed length, then you'll appreciate the discussion in this ...

Discover More

Easily Changing the Default Drive and Directory

Need a quick way to change the default drive and directory in a macro you are writing? Here's the commands to do it and a ...

Discover More

Learning Made Easy! Quickly teach yourself how to format, publish, and share your content using Word 2013. With Step by Step, you set the pace, building and practicing the skills you need, just when you need them! Check out Microsoft Word 2013 Step by Step today!

More WordTips (menu)

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 ...

Discover More

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 ...

Discover More

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 ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 8Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is eight more than 8?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)


This Site

Got a version of Word that uses the menu interface (Word 97, Word 2000, Word 2002, or Word 2003)? This site is for you! If you use a later version of Word, visit our WordTips site focusing on the ribbon interface.

Newest Tips
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.