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

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated March 2, 2019)
This tip applies to Word 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003


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. ...

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