5. Inserting Standard Tables


Standard tables carry a lot of functionality, much of it borrowed from Excel. Learn how to deploy these tables in this lesson

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Lesson Goal

Become familiar with inserting and customizing tables.

Why standard tables are better

Some people prefer tab stop tables, so it’s useful to understand them. But normal Word tables are almost always better. They are:

  • Easy to deploy
  • Easy to edit
  • Support calculations
  • Offer a wide variety of formatting options

In addition, you can easily copy and paste to and from Excel and you can select columns. Tab stop tables are not compatible with Excel and you can only select rows.


How to insert a standard table

Start from the Insert tab of the Ribbon and click table. If your table fits within the dimensions of 10 columns and 8 rows, use the boxes to quickly insert a table.

Otherwise, click Insert Table and set your desired number of columns and rows. For better-looking tables, leave the AutoFit behavior at a Fixed column width of Auto.

To adjust the width of columns or height of rows, move the cursor over the border you want to move. When the icon with two arrows pointing away from a straight line appears, click and drag the border to the desired place.


In the previous lesson, we discussed how to arrange data in Word using tab stop tables.

In this lesson, we'll become familiar with inserting and arranging tables.

This means we'll introduce Word's more conventional tables.

These are superior to tab stop tables in a few ways.

They're easy to deploy, easy to edit, support calculations, offer a broad selection of formatting options, can be linked to Excel spreadsheets and can easily copy tables from the internet.

Let's demonstrate this by jumping into page five of the case study document and recreating the table there.

At present, this table is an image.

It's presentable as it is, but we can't edit it.

Not being able to change the look of the table is forgivable, but this table contains some errors which cannot be fixed.

Some of the totals don't add up, and in one case, the calculation for averages is incorrect.

To replicate this table, we'll need to build it from scratch.

We'll leave the original for reference while we're building its replacement. To start, we'll make note of the number of rows and columns.

This table has six columns and 12 rows.

We'll then navigate to the insert tab on the ribbon and click table.

The top half of this menu is a grid.

This is a tool for quickly creating a new table.

Each square represents a cell in the table.

If you want a table with three columns and five rows, click on the box that's three across and five down.

Unfortunately, this tool only applies to tables that are no more than 10 columns wide and eight rows tall.

To create our table, we'll click insert table.

Here, we can select our six columns and 12 rows.

The autofit settings determine the dimensions of the cells within the table.

At the current setting, the cells will default to a preset size which we can alter later.

We'll keep the default autofit settings and press okay to create the table.

We can now start filling our table.

This will be tedious as we can't just copy and paste the information from the previous table. I'll do this offscreen.

As mentioned before, this table has some errors.

We'll leave these errors for now and address them in a later lesson.

Let's quickly rearrange the column widths to clean up the table.

To do this, we'll hover over the line separating the column and drag it to its new position.

We can also adjust row height in the same way.

We've now created and populated a Word table.

In the next lesson, we'll show you how to customize the shape and layout of the table.

Building Your Document
Adding Bullet Points and Tables


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