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 Tables with Specific Column Widths.

Creating Tables with Specific Column Widths

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated July 30, 2011)

Word allows you to easily create tables, but getting your column widths "just so" can be challenging, at times. For instance, what if you want a twelve-column table with the first two columns a certain width, and the rest of the columns sharing the remaining horizontal space? Here's an easy way to get the desired result:

  1. Create a one-row, three-column table. This one-row table should fill the whole width of your document, from margin to margin.
  2. Use the mouse to adjust the width of the first two columns, making them as wide as you need.
  3. Place the insertion point in the third column of the table.
  4. Select Split Cells from the Table menu. Word displays the Split Cells dialog box. (See Figure 1.)
  5. Figure 1. The Split Cells dialog box.

  6. Using the Number of Columns control, specify that you want the cell split into 10 columns.
  7. Click OK.

Your row is now just as you wanted. To create more rows just like it, select the row and then choose to insert additional rows above the selected row. After you insert the first row, just press F4 repeatedly until you have created the number of desired rows.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (1757) 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 Tables with Specific Column Widths.

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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