A table is a grid of cells arranged in rows and columns. Tables are useful for various tasks such as presenting text information and numerical data. In Word, you can create a blank table, convert text to a table, and apply a variety of styles and formats to existing tables.
Optional: Download our practice document.
To insert a blank table:
- Place your insertion point where you want the table to appear, then select the Insert tab.
- Click the Table command.
Clicking the table command
- A drop-down menu containing a grid of squares will appear. Hover the mouse over the grid to select the number of columns and rows in the table.
Inserting a new table
- Click the mouse, and the table will appear in the document.
- You can now place the insertion point anywhere in the table to add text.
Adding text to a table
To move the insertion point to the next cell, press the Tab key while typing. If the insertion point is in the last cell, pressing the Tab key will automatically create a new row.
To convert existing text to a table:
In this example, each row of information contains an item name and price, separated by tabs. Word can convert this information into a table, and it will use the tabs to separate the data into two columns.
- Select the text you want to convert.
Selecting text to convert
- From the Insert tab, click the Table command.
- Select Convert Text to Table from the drop-down menu.
Converting text to a table
- A dialog box will appear. Choose one of the options in the Separate text at: section. This is how Word knows what text to put in each column.
Separating text at Tabs
- Click OK. The text appears in a table.
Text converted into a table
It's easy to modify the look and feel of any table after adding it to a document. Word includes different options for customizing a table, including adding rows or columns and changing the table style.
To add a row or column:
- Hover the mouse near the location where you want to add a row or column, then click the plus sign that appears.
Clicking the plus sign
- A new row or column will appear in the table.
The new row
Alternatively, you can right-click the table, then hover the mouse over Insert to see various row and column options.
Adding a row
To delete a row or column:
- Place the insertion point in the row or column you want to delete.
- Right-click the mouse, then select Delete Cells... from the menu that appears.
Selecting Delete Cells
- A dialog box will appear. Select Delete entire row or Delete entire column, then click OK.
Deleting a column
- The column or row will be deleted.
To apply a table style:
- Click anywhere on the table, then click the Design tab on the right side of the Ribbon.
Clicking the Design tab
- Locate the Table Styles group, then click the More drop-down arrow to see all available table styles.
Clicking the More drop-down arrow
- Select the desired style.
Choosing a new table style
- The selected table style will appear.
The new table style
To modify table style options:
Once you've chosen a table style, you can turn various options on or off to change the appearance of the table. There are six options: Header Row, Total Row, Banded Rows, First Column, Last Column, and Banded Columns.
- Click anywhere on the table.
- Click the Design tab on the right side of the Ribbon, then check or uncheck the desired options in the Table Style Options group.
Checking the Total Row option
- The table style will be modified.
The table with a total row
Depending on which Table Style you're using, certain Table Style Options may have a somewhat different effect. You may need to experiment to get the exact look you want.
To add borders to a table:
- Select the cells you want to add a border to.
- From the Design tab, select the desired Line Style, Line Weight, and Pen Color.
Line Style, Line Weight, and Pen Color commands
- Click the Borders drop-down arrow.
- Select the desired border type from the menu that appears.
Selecting a border type
- The border will appear around the selected cells.
The finished border
Modifying a table using the Layout tab
When you select a table in Word 2013, the Layout tab appears under Table Tools on the Ribbon. From the Layout tab, you can make a variety of modifications to the table.
Click the buttons in the interactive below to learn about the different ways you can modify a table with the Layout tab.
Change Text Direction
Making the text vertical can add style to your table, and it allows you to fit more columns in your table.
Align Cell Text
By changing the alignment of a cell, you can control exactly where the text is located. In the example below, the cell text is aligned to the right.
To keep your table looking neat and organized, you may want to distribute the rows or columns equally, which makes them all the same size. You can distribute the rows or columns for the entire table or just a portion of it.
Change Cell Size
You can type a desired row height or column width for your cells. If you want, you can click AutoFit, and it will automatically adjust the column widths based on the text inside them.
Merge and Split Cells
Some tables require a layout that doesn't conform to the standard grid. In these cases, you may need to merge or split cells.
Add Rows and Columns
You can insert or delete rows and columns in your table. This can be especially useful if you need to add something to the middle of your table.
- Open an existing Word 2013 document. If you want, you can use our practice document.
- Convert some text into a table. If you are using the example, convert the text below the Sabrosa Company Label.
- Apply a table style, and experiment with the Table Style Options.
- Insert a column into the table.
- Delete a row from the table.
- Insert a blank table with six rows and two columns.
- Add borders to the blank table.