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: Blank Lines Before Tables.

Blank Lines before Tables

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated May 23, 2020)

If you want to place a blank line before a table, exactly how you do so depends on where the table is located in your document. This may sound strange, but it seems to be the way that Word just works. If the table is the very first thing in the document, all you need to do is press Ctrl+Home to position the insertion point at the left side of the first cell of the table. Then press Enter. Word places a blank line before the table.

This only works if the table is the first thing in the document. If you try this with a table that is anywhere else in a document, Word simply adds a new paragraph within the first cell of the table. To place a new blank line before the table, you must move to the end of the paragraph just before the table and press Enter. (You aren't pressing Enter in the table; you are pressing it just before the table.)

The upshot of this behavior is that if you want a new paragraph within the first cell of a table, and the table is at the very beginning of the document, you can't get it by pressing Enter, or other combinations of Enter such as Alt+Enter or Ctrl+Enter. Instead, you must either copy the paragraph mark to the cell from a different location, or you can follow these steps:

  1. Press Ctrl+Home to position the insertion pointer in the first cell at the beginning of the table and document.
  2. Press Enter. A blank line (paragraph) appears before the table. The insertion point is on the blank line.
  3. Press the Down Arrow to again position the insertion pointer at the beginning of the first cell of the table.
  4. Press Enter. A new paragraph is added in the first cell.
  5. Delete the new paragraph added after step 2.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (3457) 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: Blank Lines Before Tables.

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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