6. PowerPoint Tables

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Tables are a great way to compare multiple options against a set of critieria. In this lesson, we'll construct a slide that compares two potential entry markets for a new technology.


Use of tables

- Ideal for comparing multiple options against a set of criteria
- Be careful using tables with more than 4 columns as they become hard to read

Creating tables

1 Click on the Insert tab
2 Click on Table dropdown on lefthand side
3 Select the desired number of columns / rows (these can be changed at any time)

Formatting tables

- PowerPoint automatically formats a table for you with a default style
- You can change this style by double-clicking on your table
- You can also change the fill colour and format of table cells by selecting the cells and using the commands in the ribbon

Adding rows/columns to a table

1 Select a row/column adjacent to where you want to add
2 Right-click and select Insert
3 Pick where you want to add the row/column (Below, Above, Left, Right)

Merging table cells

1 Select the two cells to be merged
2 Right-click and select merge
3 CTRL - E: To center the text in the newly merged cell


In this lesson we’re going to create and edit our first PowerPoint table.

PowerPoint tables are quite common and are particularly useful when we want to compare multiple options against a set of criteria, such as in this example.

Let’s start by creating a new slide and we’ll give it a title.

Let’s remove the placeholder and we’ll go to Insert Table.

When you click on Table, you’ll see that this grid appears, and unlike many objects in PowerPoint, we actually have to pick the size of the grid before we create it.

I’m going to select three columns and four rows.

You can see that when we create a table, that PowerPoint automatically formats it with a table style.

We can change this style if we want by going up to the ribbon and scrolling along the different table styles that PowerPoint provides.

Alternatively, we can also manually change the table style.

You’ll see this later when we format one particular column.

If you decide after creating your table that you’d like to add a row or column, that’s very simple.

If we’d like to add a column to the right, simply select the column on the right, right click, go to Insert and we’ll Insert Column to the Right.

If we’d like to delete this column, simply select it, right click and Delete Column.

So although you do have to pick a particular size when you do create a table initially, this size can be changed as you like as you’re creating your table.

Let’s now add some text to our table.

In the top left hand corner we’ll click and I’ll write Criteria for Market A and Market B.

I’d like the Criteria column to be a different color to the rest of the table.

And to change the color or the format of a column, simply select it, let’s go back to the Home tab, we’ll change the format of all of the text to white and we’ll change the background to blue.

Let’s now add our list of criteria to the table.

So I’ll say Total market size, I’ll press down to go to the next cell, press down again.

I now need to create a couple of rows underneath this cell, so I’ll select the bottom row.

I’ll right click Insert, and I’ll Insert Row Below.

And I’ll do this again and one more time.

Let’s quickly add our remaining criteria.

We’ll add Regulatory environment.

And I have one more to add, and again I need to select the bottom row, right click, Insert Row Below.

And our last criteria is Time to market.

I’m going to now extend the width of the table, and off camera I’m going to add the content for Market A and Market B.

After we’ve added in this text, we can see that the table goes off the slide.

We can fix this by selecting the table and decreasing the font to 15.

Now our table fits perfectly on the slide.

If we’d like to change the format of the text within the table, simply select the cells you wish to change, in this case the Criteria, and I’ll simply click Ctrl +B to bold these cells.

If you decide at this point you’d like to change your table’s style, we can return to the table style ribbon by simply double clicking on the table.

And we can see all of the options for reformatting our table appear in the ribbon.

For example, if we’d like to have banded columns instead of banded rows, we click on Banded Columns and uncheck Banded Rows.

Currently, our cells are separated with a white border, if we’d like to change this to black, we go up to Borders, we click on Inside Borders and we click.

Let’s undo this with Ctrl +Z, and instead, let’s put a border around the whole table using Outside Borders.

If we click away from the table and maximize, you can see the border in place.

Although there are many ways in which to format your PowerPoint tables, I find that banded rows separated with white borders works best, just as the PowerPoint style provides.

However, I’ll leave it up to you to decide what table looks best on our slides.

The last topic on tables I’m going to cover is merging cells.

Before we do this, let’s first add a row to the top of the table.

We’ll select Row, right click, Insert Row Above.

And in the middle cell we’ll write Potential markets.

I want to merge this middle cell with the right hand cell.

So let’s select both, right click and Merge Cells.

These cells are now merged, but the Potential markets is aligned left.

To align at center, hold Ctrl and press E.

And now we have a merged cell at the top of our table.

Although the merged cells don’t really help this particular slide, merging cells can be worthwhile in some scenarios.

Overall, tables are a great way of displaying large amounts of information on a slide, particularly when you’re comparing multiple options against a set criteria.


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