Formatting a table can involve several things: You can change the width of a column or the height of a row, and you can also format the various table borders with different line weights or colors. Some of the table attributes can be modified directly on the table, but other attributes are best handled by modifying settings in the Table Properties dialog box or by using the AutoFormat dialog box.
Modifying Cell Size
An important aspect of working with your rows and columns is adjusting column widths and row heights to fit the needs of the information that you place inside the table cells . Both of these formatting tasks are mouse work. However, when you want to enter an actual value for all the column widths or row heights, you can use the Table Properties dialog box discussed in this section.
Place the mouse pointer on the border between any columns in your table. A sizing tool appears (see Figure 16.3). Drag the sizing tool to adjust the width of the column.
Figure 16.3. Use the column sizing tool to adjust the width of a column.
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Use the Ruler As Your Guide You can also use the column border markers on the ruler to adjust the width of a column or columns in your table. This provides a method of sizing columns using the ruler as a measurement guide. Drag the marker on the ruler to the appropriate width. To view the ruler, select View, Ruler .
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Be Careful When Sizing Columns If a Cell Is Selected If a cell is selected anywhere in a column and you attempt to drag the sizing tool to change the column width, only the width of the row holding the selected cell is changed. Make sure no cells are selected if you want to size the entire column.
You can also adjust the column widths and the row heights in the table using the Table Properties dialog box. If you want to adjust the row or column attributes for just one row or column, make sure the insertion point is in that row or column. If you want to adjust the values for the entire table, click anywhere in the table, choose the Table menu, point at Select , and then choose Table . This selects the entire table.
Follow these steps to open the dialog box and adjust the various properties associated with the current table:
Select Table , Table Properties . The Table Properties dialog box appears.
To adjust column widths using the dialog box, select the Column tab.
Make sure the Specify Width check box is selected, and then use the width click arrows to adjust the width (see Figure 16.4).
Figure 16.4. Adjust your column widths using the Column tab of the Table Properties dialog box.
If you want to change the width of the next column, click the Next Column button. The Previous Column button enables you to adjust the width of the previous column.
When you have completed adjusting column widths, click the OK button.
You can adjust row heights in a like manner. Use the Row tab of the Table Properties dialog box. You can use the Specify Height box to specify the row height and the Previous Row and Next Row buttons to specify the row for which you want to adjust the height.
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Working with Drawn Tables If you've created your table using the Draw Table command and then inserted your rows and columns with the Drawing tool, you might find it faster to align any irregularly sized elements (such as rows or columns) with the mouse (and the Tables and Borders toolbar) rather than using the Table Properties dialog box.
Formatting Table Borders
Formatting your table borders is a matter of selecting the cells (or the entire table) and then selecting the formatting parameters. After you've selected the appropriate cells, select the Format menu, and then select Borders and Shading .
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Select the Entire Table A fast way to select the entire table is to place the insertion point in the table and then select Table , point at Select , and then select Table .
The Borders and Shading dialog box appears as shown in Figure 16.5. Select the style of border that you want to place on the selected area of the table.
Figure 16.5. Use the Borders and Shading dialog box to select the border options for your table.
To select the border style, choose from one of the following:
Box This places a box around the outside of the table.
All This places a box around the table, gridlines inside the table, and also applies any shadow and color parameters that have been set in Word.
Grid This places a border around the table and places a border (grid) on the row and column lines.
Custom When you select Custom , you must then specify on the Preview table the border lines you want to format. To change the style, color, and width of your border lines, use the Style, Color , and Width drop-down boxes to select the options for your border lines. When you have completed your selections, click OK to return to the table.
The border options that you selected are used to format the cells that you selected in the table.
Automatically Formatting the Table
You can also format your table in a more automatic fashion using the Table AutoFormat feature. This feature enables you to select from a list of predetermined table formats that configure the borders and provide text and background colors in the cells; you can even select a particular font for the text contained in the cells.
To AutoFormat your table, click any cell of the table and then follow these steps:
Select Table , Table AutoFormat . The Table AutoFormat dialog box appears.
To preview the various formats provided, click a format in the Formats scroll box. A preview of the format is shown.
When you have found the format that you want to use (you can choose from about 50), select the format and then click Apply .
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Select the Table Items You Want to Format with AutoFormat The AutoFormat dialog box provides several check boxes (Borders, Shading, Font, Color, and so on) that can be deselected if you don't want your AutoFormat selection to format these particular items in your table ( otherwise , the entire table will be formatted).