Adding Tables to Your Documents

Word's report-creation power shines when you see how easily you can compose customized tables of information in Word documents. Tables are collections of information organized in rows and columns . Tables might contain numbers , text, even graphics, or combinations of any of these. Each row and column intersection is called a cell . As you begin to use both Word and Excel, you might want to embed part of an Excel worksheet into a Word table. Embedded worksheets enable you to report financial data from within Word. ( Hour 6, "Understanding Excel 2003 Workbooks," introduces Excel.)

To Do: Create a New Table

To create a new table, perform these steps:

  1. Select Table, Insert, Table. Word displays the Insert Table dialog box, as shown in Figure 5.5.

    Figure 5.5. Use the Insert Table dialog box to prepare the new table.


  2. Specify the number of columns and rows your table will need. You can change these values later if you need to. Estimate on the high end, however, because it is easier to delete additional rows and columns than to add them.

  3. Enter a column width, or leave the Column Width field set to Auto if you want Word to guess the table's width. You can change a table's column width at any timeeven after you enter data. You can request that Word automatically adjust each column's width to the widest data in the column by selecting the AutoFit to Contents option. The AutoFit to Window option adjusts the column widths equally within the table's size if you resize the window that holds the table.

  4. When creating your first table, press Enter or click OK. After you get used to creating tables, you can click the AutoFormat button to select from a list of predefined table formats, as shown in Figure 5.6.

    Figure 5.6. Word can format your table automatically.


  5. Click OK (or press Enter) to close the Insert Table dialog box. Word creates your table and outlines the table's cells in a grid format.


Word contains another tool that helps you build more customized tables. You can draw your tables by clicking the Insert Table toolbar button and dragging the resulting table of cells down and to the right until you outline the table size you prefer. In addition, you can draw tables freehand using the Word tools available (described later this hour in a section entitled "Drawing Tables Freehand").

Traversing the Table

One of the easiest ways to enter data in a table's cell is to click the cell (which moves the cursor to the cell) and type. As you type past the cell's right margin, Word wraps the cell and increases the row height (if needed) to display the complete cell contents.

When you begin typing data, notice that Word's automatic formatting might not match the table's data; perhaps one of the columns is too narrow or too wide. Use your mouse to adjust the size of a row or a column's width by clicking and dragging one of the table's four edges in or out. You can also expand or shrink individual columns and rows by dragging their edges.

Although you can click a cell with your mouse every time you want to enter or edit the contents of that cell, the cursor-movement keystrokes come in handier because you can traverse the table without ever removing your hands from the keyboard. Table 5.1 describes how to traverse a table's rows and columns.


When you move your cursor to a table's row or column edge, Word changes the mouse pointer to a table-adjuster cursor. When the mouse cursor changes, you can drag your mouse to resize the column or row.

Table 5.1. Moving Around a Table

Press This

To Move the Table's Cursor Here


The next cell


The preceding cell


The column's top cell


The column's bottom cell


The current row's first cell


The current row's last cell

To select a row or column, click the margin to the left of the row or in the area above the column. The Table, Select menu also provides a row and column selection option if you find that easier to use. When you select a column or row, Word highlights the selected item. After Word selects a row or column, you can drag your mouse down, up, left, or right to select additional rows or columns.

Inserting New Columns and Rows

Not creating enough rows or columns for your table is one of the first table problems you will encounter. To insert or delete rows or columns, select a row or column and right-click your mouse in the margin to the left of the row or directly above the column. The menu that appears enables you to add rows or columns.

Suppose that you need to insert a column. Select the column that will appear after the new column by pointing above the column until the mouse pointer changes to a down arrow. Select multiple columns by dragging your mouse to the right after you select one column. Right-click your mouse to display a pop-up menu. The menu differs , depending on whether you select a row or column first. Select Insert Columns, and Word inserts a new column to the left of the selected column. The right-click menu also contains a Delete Columns command. Keep in mind that the Table, Insert menu provides additional row and column insertion options that you can explore.


After you create a simple table, click in the table and then select Table, Table AutoFormat to select a style, such as a shaded style. Word formats your table professionally.

Drawing Tables Freehand

As you have seen, the Tables menu option gives you complete control over tables you create. Word goes one step further to help you create exactly the table you want. The Standard toolbar's Tables and Borders button enables you to draw tables freehand the way you might draw using a pencil and paper. The Tables and Borders button enables you to quickly draw tables that don't necessarily have an equal number of columns for each row.

Follow these steps to use the Tables and Borders button:

  1. Click the location in your document where you want the new table.

  2. Click the Tables and Borders button. (You might have to click the More Buttons toolbar button first to locate the Tables and Borders button on your toolbar.) Your mouse pointer turns into a pencil shape, and the Tables and Borders toolbar appears.

  3. Click and drag the pencil pointer diagonally down and across the page. A rectangular table outline appears. When you release the mouse, the outline becomes your table's outline.

  4. Continue adding rows and columns by dragging the mouse. Notice that you can draw (by dragging) a partial row or partial column. If you draw a row or column you don't want, click the Tables and Borders Eraser tool and drag over the table lines you want to delete.

After you draw the table's basic outline, use the Border Color, Outside Border, and Shading Color tools to modify the table's colors. The remaining tools enable you to modify the table in many ways, including the following:

  • Merging two or more cells into one

  • Splitting long cells into multiple cells

  • Changing a cell's text alignment (as you might do with border columns)

  • Equally distributing columns or rows within an area

  • Sorting ( alphabetically or numerically ) cells within a selected row or column

  • Summing a selected row or column automatically

Sams Teach Yourself Microsoft Office 2003 in 24 Hours
Sams Teach Yourself Microsoft Office 2003 in 24 Hours
ISBN: 0672325535
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2003
Pages: 272
Authors: Greg Perry © 2008-2017.
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