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: Clearing the Contents of a Table.

Clearing the Contents of a Table

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated March 18, 2023)
This tip applies to Word 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003


Word includes a powerful table editor that you can use to create very complex tables. If you spend a lot of time working on a table and getting it just right, you may want to copy the table to a new location so you can use the same layout elsewhere. After copying, you will no doubt want to erase the contents of the table so that you can start to fill it out again. An easy way to clear out the table is to select the entire table and then press the Delete key. The information in the table is cleared, but the table structure remains.

It is interesting to note that you must press the Delete key. If, instead, you press Backspace, only the contents of the first cell in the table are cleared. (Don't ask me why; it just works that way.)

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (1446) 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: Clearing the Contents of a Table.

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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