Word 2007/2010 selections with the Insert Table dialog.
The method you use to insert a table in Word depends on the version of Word you are using. Therefore, I'm going to separate the instructions for Word 2007/2010 and Word 2003.
Word 2007/2010: Insert a Table
On the Insert tab, click Tables. The Insert Tables dialog appears. You have a number of options.
- If you are a visual person and you're going to accept system defaults (that means Word is picking options for you), move your cursor over the squares (properly called cells) to create a table with rows and columns. Move your cursor around and you'll see an expanding or contracting table in your doc. In the graphic above I have four columns and four rows highlighted in orange (selected). Click in the last highlighted square (lowest and farthest to the right) and that's the table you get. In addition, Design and Layout tabs appear and boy are they loaded with options.
- If you are a person who likes to see the dialog that controls the table, click the Insert Table... option. The dialog appears. This dialog is the long standing one in which you enter the number of columns and rows, and then you have additional options you can select. See the Word 2003 instructions below for information on these fields. After you click OK, Design and Layout tabs appear with lots of options.
- If you like maximum control, click Draw Table. A drawing pencil appears in your doc and you can draw individual cells. After you have drawn cells, click in your document to get rid of the pencil and get your cursor back. I'm usually not driven enough to use this method.
- If you are comfortable with an Excel spreadsheet, click the Excel Spreadsheet option. Word inserts a spreadsheet for you to work in. When you click outside of the spreadsheet, Word converts the speadsheet to a table and also removes boarders (the lines identifying each cell).
- If you want to see what MS Word has already formatted for you, click Quick Tables and the Built In tables dialog appears. If there is a table you like, click it and Word inserts it into your document. You can then replace placeholder text with your text.
If you are still on Word 2003, you have fewer options when creating tables.
- On the main menu, select Table, Insert, Table. The Insert Table dialog appears.
- In Number of columns, enter the number of columns you want for your table. If you make a mistake, you can add columns later.
- In Number of rows, enter the number of rows you want for your table. If you make a mistake, you can add rows later...you already know the shortcut.
- Accept the default AutoFit behavior or alter it.
--In Fixed column width, if you accept the default of Auto, the table will resize itself in relation to the margins; that is, the entire width of the page. You can set the width using the up and down arrows to create a table that isn't as wide; that is, it doesn't go margin to margin. In addition, you can make adjustments on the fly (a topic I'll talk about later).
--In AutoFit to contents, select this option if you want the width of a column governed by its contents. For example, a column with three characters in it will be narrower than a column with ten characters.
--In AutoFit to window, select this option if you want a table that has equal columns spaced across the width of the page. In addition, you can make adjustments on the fly (a topic I'll talk about later).
- Click the Auto Format button to display the Table AutoFormat dialog. The dialog includes preformatted tables that Word Pros created for you. If you find one that you like, select it, and then click OK.
- Click Remember dimensions for new tables if you altered the Fixed column width in step 4. Each time you insert a new table, Word does so with the fixed column width you selected. To turn this off, select Auto in Fixed column width.