Adding a Line Before a Table

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated June 22, 2020)
This tip applies to Word 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003


If you have a table at the beginning of your document, and you are using Word 2000 or later versions, adding a blank line before the table is easy--all you need to do is position the insertion point at the start of the first cell and press Enter. It doesn't work that way in Word 97, however. There you need to use a different approach. Any of the following will do the trick:

  • Position the insertion point at the start of the first cell in the table and choose Split Table from the Table menu.
  • Position the insertion point at the start of the first cell in the table and press Ctrl+Shift+Enter.
  • Position the insertion point at the start of the first cell in the table and insert a column break. (Choose Break from the Insert menu, then click on Column Break, then on OK.)

The result is that Word inserts a Normal-formatted paragraph prior to the table.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (1372) applies to Microsoft Word 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003.

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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What is 9 + 3?

2021-06-30 10:42:24


wondering if you can help me. I have an excel table in word and it is cropped to look perfect. when I add a row in the excel table and expand the crop, I lose one row at the bottom. It is blank. Is there any way to show this?

(see Figure 1 below)

Figure 1. 

2021-05-20 09:02:20


Thanks a lot , was struggling a lot before .

2021-03-20 08:45:13

Lee R Batchelor

Thanks for this tip, Allen.

I'm using Word 2019. I have a table at the top of page 2. I place my cursor inside the beginning of the first cell of the table, press Enter, and it just creates a paragraph break inside the cell!! If I use the Word 97 method, Ctrl+Shift+Enter, it works! Why is that? Can't MS get anything right?

I'm using Windows 10 Home.

2021-02-10 03:25:17


Great!. It helped me a lot Ctrl+Shift+Enter did the magic :)

2021-02-06 12:51:09

Thomas Bottoms

Thanks for this, Allen! But I found that Ctrl+Shift+Enter did not work for me, and many others. For some, it seems Word can lose the keyboard shortcut to perform the "InsertColumnBreak" function. I wrote up a Q&A on Superuser to help those folks out:

Thanks for all you do, Allen. You are an amazing resource for all things MS Word! :)

Best regards,

2020-11-28 17:07:01


Thank you, I was confounded when the old hitting enter twice didn't work. The keyboard short cut is most appreciated.

2017-01-23 05:45:04


This also works when adding a line before a table at the top of ANY page, not just the beginning of a document.

2016-12-09 11:36:36


I used to love tables. What have you done? Nothing is easy.

Things were fine until I installed 2010. I am so frustrated. It takes me all day to print tallies for euchre.

2016-09-29 07:30:33


thank you!!! I was so frustrated with it!

2015-03-18 11:55:11


Thanks, that had been driving me crazy!

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