Microsoft Word Help

Our Microsoft Word tutorial provides the help you need to develop your Microsoft Word skills. It covers text entry, formatting, spell check, bulleting, numbering, tables, and much more.

Table of Contents

Lesson 7: Tables

This lesson will teach you how to create tables. You use tables to format all or part of your document into columns and rows. Each exercise in this lesson is dependent on your having completed the exercise that preceded it. Complete the exercises in sequence. To begin this lesson, open Microsoft Word.

Creating a Table

To create a four-column, five-row table:

  1. Choose Table > Insert > Table from the menu. The Insert Table dialog box opens.
  2. Type 4 in the Number of Columns field.
  3. Type 5 in the Number of Rows field.
  4. Select Auto in the Column Width field. Selecting Auto allows Microsoft Word to determine the size of your column widths. Alternatively, you can enter the column width you desire.
  5. Click OK. Your table should look like the one shown here, with four columns and five rows.

Word table

Alternate Method -- Creating a Table by Using the Insert Table Icon

You can also create a table by clicking on the Insert Table icon on the Standard toolbar.

  1. Click the Insert Table icon.

Insert icon

  1. Highlight the number of rows and columns you need. The maximum table size you can create by this method is a four-row by five-column table.


Insert table

  1. Press Enter (or click) to create the table.

Note: Microsoft Word has a Tables and Borders toolbar. This lesson does not cover the Tables and Borders toolbar.

Moving Around a Table

Each block in a table is called a cell. Use the Tab key to move from cell to cell from left to right. Use Shift-Tab to move from cell to cell from right to left. The following exercise demonstrates.

  1. Click in the first cell in the first column.
  2. Press the Tab key nine times. The cursor moves forward nine cells.
  3. Press Shift-Tab six times. The cursor moves backward six cells.

Note: You can also move to a cell by clicking in the cell. In addition, you can move around the table by using the left, right, up, and down arrow keys.

Entering Text into a Table

To enter text into a table, simply type as you normally would. Press Tab to move to the next cell. Enter the text shown below into your table.

  1. Type Salesperson in the first cell in the first column. Press the Tab key.
  2. Type Dolls in the first cell in the second column. Press the Tab key.
  3. Continue until you have entered all of the text.

Salesperson

Dolls

Trucks

Puzzles

Kennedy, Sally

1327

1423

1193

White, Pete 

1421

3863

2934

York, George 

2190

1278

1928

Banks, Jennifer 

1201

2528

1203

Selecting a Row and Bolding the Text

You learned about bolding in Lesson Three. In this exercise, you will select the first row of the table and bold all of the text on the row.

  1. Click anywhere on the first row of your table.
  2. Choose Table > Select > Row from the menu.
  3. Press Ctrl-b to bold the row.

Right-Aligning Text

You learned about alignment in Lesson Five. In this exercise, you will right-align the second (Dolls), third (Trucks), and fourth (Puzzles) columns of the table you created.

  1. You need to highlight "Dolls," "Trucks," and "Puzzles." Place the cursor before the "D" in "Dolls." Press the F8 key to anchor the cursor. Then press the right arrow key until you have highlighted "Dolls," "Trucks," and "Puzzles."
  2. Choose Table > Select > Column from the menu.
  3. Press Ctrl-r to right-align the cells.

Your table should look like the one shown here. Make any needed corrections before continuing.

Sample table

Note: All of the formatting options you learned about in previous lessons can be applied to cells in a table.

Adding a New Row to the End of the Table

You can add additional rows to your table. The simplest way to add a new row is to move to the last column of the last row and press the Tab key. You can then type any additional text you need to add.

  1. Move to the last column of the last row of your table.
  2. Press the Tab key.
  3. Type the text shown here.

Atwater, Kelly

4098

3079

2067

Adding a Row Within the Table

You can add a new row anywhere in the table. The exercise that follows demonstrates.

To add a row just above York, George:

  1. Place the cursor anywhere in the fourth row (the row with York, George as the salesperson).
  2. Choose Table > Insert > Rows Above from the menu.
  3. Add the information shown here to the new row.

Pillar, James 

5214

3247

5467

Resizing the Columns

You can easily change the size of your column widths. In this exercise, you will select the entire table and adjust all the column widths.

  1. Click anywhere in your table.
  2. Choose Table > Select > Table from the menu. Your table is selected.
  3. Choose Table > Table Properties from the menu.
  4. Choose the Column tab.
  5. Type 1" in the Preferred Width field. This will cause Microsoft Word to set all the columns to a width of one inch.
  6. Click OK.

Depending on your font, the first column of your table might not be wide enough and the text might be wrapping.

Wrapping text

To widen the first column:

  1. Place the cursor anywhere in the first column.
  2. Choose Table > Select > Column from the menu.
  3. Choose Table > Table Properties from the menu.
  4. Choose the Column tab.
  5. Type 1.5 in the Preferred Width field.
  6. Click OK.

Alternate Method -- Resizing Your Column Widths by Using the Width Indicator

You can resize your column widths by placing the cursor on the line that separates two columns. This causes the width indicator to appear. After the width indicator appears, left-click and drag with the mouse to adjust the column width.

Width indicator

Adding a New Column to a Table

You can add new columns to your table. To add a new column between the Salesperson and Dolls columns:

  1. Place the cursor anywhere in the Dolls column.
  2. Choose Table > Insert > Columns to the Left from the menu.
  3. Label the new column Region and add the text shown in the table below.

Salesperson

Region

Dolls

Trucks

Puzzles

Kennedy, Sally

S

1327

1423

1193

White, Pete

N

1421

3863

2934

Pillar, James

N

5214

3247

5467

York, George

S

2190

1278

1928

Banks, Jennifer

S

1201

2528

1203

Atwater, Kelly

S

4098

3079

2067

Sorting a Table

With Microsoft Word, it is easy to sort the data in your table. To sort your table data by Region and within Region by Salesperson in ascending order:

  1. Click anywhere on your table.
  2. Choose Table > Sort from the menu.
  3. Select Region in the Sort By field.
  4. Select Text in the Type field (because you are sorting text).
  5. Select Ascending.
  6. Select Salesperson in the Then By field.
  7. Select Text in the Type field (because you are sorting text).
  8. Select Ascending.
  9. Select Header Row (because your table has titles across the top of the table).
  10. Click OK.

Microsoft Word should have sorted your table like the one shown here:
 

Salesperson

Region

Dolls

Trucks

Puzzles

Pillar, James

N

5214

3247

5467

White, Pete

N

1421

3863

2934

Atwater, Kelly

S

4098

3079

2067

Banks, Jennifer

S

1201

2528

1203

Kennedy, Sally

S

1327

1423

1193

York, George

S

2190

1278

1928

The Sum Function

You can perform calculations on the numbers in your table. Several functions are available to you. A review of all of the functions is beyond the scope of this tutorial, but the exercise that follows demonstrates the Sum function. In this exercise, you will add a new row to your table, place the word "Total" at the bottom of the Salesperson column, and sum the Dolls, Trucks, and Puzzles columns.

  1. Place your cursor in the cell located on the last row in the last column.
  2. Press the Tab key to create a new row.
  3. Type Total in the cell on the bottom row in the Salesperson column.
  4. Move to the Dolls column.
  5. Choose Table > Formula from the menu.
  6. Type =SUM(ABOVE) in the formula field, if it does not automatically appear.
  7. Select #,##0 in the Number Format field. This selection causes Microsoft Word to separate thousands with a comma.
  8. Click OK.
  9. Move to the Trucks column.
  10. Choose Table > Formula from the menu.
  11. Type =SUM(ABOVE) in the formula field, if it does not automatically appear.
  12. Select #,##0 in the Number Format field. This selection causes Microsoft Word to separate thousands with a comma.
  13. Click OK.
  14. Move to the Puzzles column.
  15. Choose Table > Formula from the menu.
  16. Type =SUM(ABOVE) in the formula field, if it does not automatically appear.
  17. Select #,##0 in the Number Format field. This selection causes Microsoft Word to separate thousands with a comma.
  18. Click OK.

Deleting a Column

You can delete columns from your table. To delete the Trucks column:

  1. Place your cursor anywhere in the Trucks column.
  2. Choose Table > Delete> Columns from the menu.

Deleting a Row

You can delete rows from your table. To delete the York, George row:

  1. Place your cursor anywhere in the York, George row.
  2. Choose Table > Delete > Rows from the menu.

Recalculate

Unlike a spreadsheet, Microsoft Word does not automatically recalculate every time you make a change to the table. To cause a function to recalculate, you must first move to the cell that contains the function and then press the F9 key. Alternatively, you can move to the cell that contains the function, right-click, and select Update Field from the context menu. Because you deleted a row in the previous exercise, your calculations are now incorrect. To recalculate:

  1. Move to the Dolls/Total cell.
  2. Press F9.
  3. Move to the Puzzles/Total cell and right-click.
  4. Click Update Field.

Note: The context menu is a useful tool. When you right-click, Microsoft Word supplies you with a list of menu choices. You can execute a command by selecting an option from the context menu.

Merge Cell

Using Microsoft Word, you can merge cells -- turn two or more cells into one cell. In this exercise, you are going to create a new row at the top of your table, merge the cells, and add a title to the table.

  1. Move to the cell located on the first row of the first column of your table (the Salesperson cell).
  2. Choose Table > Insert > Rows Above from the menu.
  3. Choose Table > Merge Cells from the menu.
  4. Type Toy Sales in the new cell.
  5. Press Ctrl-e to center the title.

Table Headings

If Microsoft Word splits your table with a page break, the table heading will display on the first page but not on subsequent pages. To correct this problem, you can designate rows as headings. Heading rows are repeated on the top of your table at the top of each page. To designate a row as a heading:

  1. Place your cursor on the row.
  2. Choose Table > Heading Rows Repeat from the menu.

Converting Text to a Table

You can convert text to a table; however, a delimiter such as a comma, paragraph marker, or tab must separate columns of text. In the exercise that follows, you will convert comma-delimited text into a table.

  1. Type the following as shown (do not bold).
    Color, Style, Item
    Blue, A980, Van
    Red, X023, Car
    Green, YL724, Truck
    Name, Age, Sex
    Bob, 23, M
    Linda, 46, F
    Tom, 29, M
  2. Highlight the text.
  3. Choose Table > Convert > Text to Table from the menu.
  4. Type 3 in the Number of Columns field.
  5. Select Auto in the Column Width field.
  6. Select the Commas radio button in the Separate Text At frame.
  7. Click OK.

Microsoft Word should have converted your text to a table and your table should look like the one shown here.

Convert table

Splitting a Table

With Microsoft Word, splitting a single table into two tables is easy. To separate the table you just created into two tables:

  1. Place your cursor anywhere on the row that reads "Name, Age, Sex."
  2. Choose Table > Split Table from the menu.

You should now have two tables.

Table AutoFormat

You can use AutoFormats to apply borders, shading, special fonts, and color to your table. Microsoft Word lists all Formats in the Table AutoFormat dialog box. While in the Table AutoFormat dialog box, click a format to see that format displayed in the Preview box. You can customize how the format is applied. Check the features you want in the Formats to Apply and the Apply Special Formats To frames. Microsoft Word comes with a long list of AutoFormats.

To apply an AutoFormat to your Name, Age, and Sex table:

  1. Click anywhere in the table.
  2. Choose Table > Table AutoFormat from the menu.
  3. Click Table Colorful 1 in the Table Styles box.
  4. Select Heading Rows and First Column in the Apply Special Formats To frame. Do not select Last Row and Last Column.
  5. Click Apply.

Your table should look like the one shown here.

Completed table

Save File

Save your file by following these instructions:

  1. Choose File > Save As from the menu.
  2. Specify the correct folder in the Look In field.
  3. Name your file by typing lesson7.doc in the File Name field.
  4. Click Save.
  5. Choose File > Exit from the menu to close Microsoft Word.
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