Table it! Inserting a Table in Word

Word is not just for creating a plain old document. Trying to read page after page of data can be tedious. Why not give your Word document a boost by displaying some of your information in a table format? Inserting a table in your Word document to display some of your data breaks the monotony of a text-ridden page and makes it easier to retrieve the information that the reader wants, quickly and easily.  Unlike columns, tables are much easier to work with: you can align data in a table without having to constantly use the tab key or the space bar.

To insert a table in your word document, click on the Insert tab and then click on Table. Make sure your insertion point is where you want the table to be placed. From the Insert Table menu, scroll over the squares and, magically, a table will appear on your page. You can instantly insert a table with eight rows and ten columns by clicking on the last square on the Insert Table menu. If you know the number of rows and columns you will need then just scroll over that many squares and click. Instantly a table, with the requisite number of rows and columns, will be inserted onto your document.

Once you have inserted a table, make sure to click on it and two contextual tabs will appear: the Design tab and the Layout tab. Both these tabs contain all the tools you will need in order to work with your table.

The Design tab is the fun tab: it contains a variety of table styles to pick from. Scroll over the different table styles and you will get a live preview of the way your table will look if you apply a particular style. When you find the style you like, simply click on it and the style will be applied to your table. You can be as fickle as you want when it comes to picking a style for your table! If you dislike the style that you have just applied, click on another style and the appearance of your table will change instantly.

The Layout tab is where the serious work gets done: you can add rows and columns, as well as delete them from this tab; you can merge cells as well as split them; customize text alignment in the cells; alphabetize selected text or sort numerical data; and you can also view table properties from this tab.

Once you have inserted your table, you will see a tiny box with a four-way arrow on the top left corner of your table and a small square on the bottom right of your table. These are not some useless symbols; they are extremely utilitarian and helpful tools: clicking on the four-way arrow selects the table and if you hold the left mouse button down, while you are clicked on the four-way arrow, you can move your table anywhere on the page.

If you place your cursor on the small square on the bottom right, your cursor will change into a two-way arrow and you can use this arrow to re-size your table.

Click on the image above and you will see a table with six rows and two columns. The top three rows are merged. You can insert text, images, shapes, text boxes and WordArt in a table.
So go ahead, adorn your Word document with a table, and watch the information jump out of the page!

-Rina B.


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