Word 2013

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Lesson 23: Tables



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:

  1. Place your insertion point where you want the table to appear, then select the Insert tab.
  2. Click the Table command.

    Screenshot of Word 2013Clicking the table command
  3. 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.

    Screenshot of Word 2013Inserting a new table
  4. Click the mouse, and the table will appear in the document.
  5. You can now place the insertion point anywhere in the table to add text.

    Screenshot of Word 2013Adding 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.

  1. Select the text you want to convert.

    Screenshot of Word 2013Selecting text to convert
  2. From the Insert tab, click the Table command.
  3. Select Convert Text to Table from the drop-down menu.

    Screenshot of Word 2013Converting text to a table
  4. 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.

    Screenshot of Word 2013Separating text at Tabs
  5. Click OK. The text appears in a table.

    Screenshot of Word 2013Text converted into a table

Modifying tables

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:

  1. Hover the mouse near the location where you want to add a row or column, then click the plus sign that appears.

    Screenshot of Word 2013Clicking the plus sign
  2. A new row or column will appear in the table.

    Screenshot of Word 2013The new row

Alternatively, you can right-click the table, then hover the mouse over Insert to see various row and column options.

Screenshot of Word 2013Adding a row

To delete a row or column:

  1. Place the insertion point in the row or column you want to delete.
  2. Right-click the mouse, then select Delete Cells... from the menu that appears.

    Screenshot of Word 2013Selecting Delete Cells
  3. A dialog box will appear. Select Delete entire row or Delete entire column, then click OK.

    Screenshot of Word 2013Deleting a column
  4. The column or row will be deleted.

To apply a table style:

  1. Click anywhere on the table, then click the Design tab on the right side of the Ribbon.

    Screenshot of Word 2013Clicking the Design tab
  2. Locate the Table Styles group, then click the More drop-down arrow to see all available table styles.

    Screenshot of Word 2013Clicking the More drop-down arrow
  3. Select the desired style.

    Screenshot of Word 2013Choosing a new table style
  4. The selected table style will appear.

    Screenshot of Word 2013The 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.

  1. Click anywhere on the table.
  2. Click the Design tab on the right side of the Ribbon, then check or uncheck the desired options in the Table Style Options group.

    Screenshot of Word 2013Checking the Total Row option
  3. The table style will be modified.

    Screenshot of Word 2013The 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:

  1. Select the cells you want to add a border to.

    Screenshot of Word 2013Highlighted cells
  2. From the Design tab, select the desired Line Style, Line Weight, and Pen Color.

    Screenshot of Word 2013Line Style, Line Weight, and Pen Color commands
  3. Click the Borders drop-down arrow.
  4. Select the desired border type from the menu that appears.

    Screenshot of Word 2013Selecting a border type
  5. The border will appear around the selected cells.

    Screenshot of Word 2013The 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.

labeled graphic

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.

Distribute Rows/Columns

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.


  1. Open an existing Word 2013 document. If you want, you can use our practice document.
  2. Convert some text into a table. If you are using the example, convert the text below the Sabrosa Company Label.
  3. Apply a table style, and experiment with the Table Style Options.
  4. Insert a column into the table.
  5. Delete a row from the table.
  6. Insert a blank table with six rows and two columns.
  7. Add borders to the blank table.