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: Creating a Table Using the Keyboard.

Creating a Table Using the Keyboard

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated February 25, 2016)

If you want a quick way to create a table without taking your hands off the keyboard, try this:

  • At the left margin of a new line, type four plus signs and press Enter.
  • That's it. A single step, and you have a quick and simple table. Of course, it is only a single-row table, but it is a starting point for your table. You can also create the table by using the vertical bar instead of plus signs.

    If you want the columns of your table to be wider, simply separate the plus signs or vertical bars with dashes. For instance, you could type a plus sign, ten dashes, another plus sign, and press Enter, and you would have a table with a wider column.

    If this tip does not work on your system, there are two possible reasons. In some of the latest versions of Word, you need to place at least one space between each plus sign or each vertical bar. If you try this and the tip still doesn't work, you may have the feature turned off. To make sure the feature is enabled, follow these steps:

    1. Choose AutoCorrect (or AutoCorrect Options) from the Tools menu. Word displays the AutoCorrect dialog box.
    2. Make sure the AutoFormat As You Type tab is selected. (See Figure 1.)
    3. Figure 1. The AutoFormat As You Type tab of the AutoCorrect dialog box.

    4. Make sure the Tables check box is checked.
    5. Click on OK.

    WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (872) 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: Creating a Table Using the Keyboard.

    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

    Replacing Some Smart Quotes

    Smart quotes look great in a document, but may not be right for all instances of quote marks or apostrophes. If you need to ...

    Discover More

    Last Non-Zero Value in a Row

    If you have a lot of values in a single row, you might want to pull the last non-zero value from that row. There are a ...

    Discover More

    Using a Different Footer on Secondary Pages

    When printing a worksheet, you may want to have the footer different on the first page of your document than it is on ...

    Discover More

    The First and Last Word on Word! Bestselling For Dummies author Dan Gookin puts his usual fun and friendly candor back to work to show you how to navigate Word 2013. Spend more time working and less time trying to figure it all out! Check out Word 2013 For Dummies today!

    More WordTips (menu)

    Headings On Your Printout

    If you've got a table that spans multiple printed pages, you probably want to repeat a row or two of that table as a heading ...

    Discover More

    Repeating Rows for a Table Footer

    Word allows you to specify rows that should be repeated at the top of a table when that table extends beyond the bottom of a ...

    Discover More

    Quickly Inserting Tables that Don't Go From Margin to Margin

    Adding a table to your document is easy. Adding one that doesn't extend from margin to margin may seem a bit harder. Here's a ...

    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. 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 nine minus 5?

    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.