Thursday, April 19, 2012

Table It!...Part 23...Layout Tab on Ribbon

Click once to display a larger version of the ribbons graphic and then press the Esc key to close it.

The Layout tab, like all tabs in Word, is divided into groups. Word grouped commands on tabs based on logical association. Sometimes it's easier and faster to click a button on a tab than to right-click in a table and display the pop-up menu. You'll learn to make the choice of one or the other on the fly. It will be a matter of which option is most easily accessed. I'll start on the left side of the Layout tab and address the option by group.

Table Group
  • Select: Click this option to display a drop-down list of select options. You can select a cell, column, row, or the entire table.
  • View Guidelines: You've seen this one before. When you remove all the boarders from a table, you can select the table and then click this option to see the shadow of the lines of the table, making working with the table easier.
  • Properties: You've probably seen this option too much! Click the Properties button as another way of displaying the table properties dialog.
Rows & Columns Group
Options in this group enable you to add and delete cells, rows, columns, and tables. If you click the small arrow in the lower right of the group, you'll find all of the insert cell options. You've seen these options on the pop-up that appears when you right-click in a cell.

Merge Group
Options in this group allow you to merge or split cells and split tables. These are all topics you've read about and know how and when to use. They too are available on the pop-up menu.

Cell Size Group
  • AutoFit: Click this button to display the following options: AutoFit Contents, AutoFit Window, Fixed Column Width. These option appear on the Insert Table dialog. If you don't remember, see Table It!...Part 2. They also appear on the pop-up menu when you right-click in a table.
  • Height/Width: Look at the cells to the right. Use the up and down arrows to affect the height of rows and the width of cells. You've done this same task moving the buttons on the ruler to resize columns. You can resize rows using the ruler on the left of the page. You read about this in Table It!...Part 3...Resizing Columns.
  • Distribute Rows/Columns: Click anywhere in table and click these button to cause the even distribution of rows and columns. When you select a table and right-click on it, these options appear on the pop-up menu.
  • Table Properties: Click the arrow in the lower right of the Cell Size group and the Table Properties dialog appears.
Alignment Group
  • Cell alignment buttons: Select one or more cells and then click a button to realign text in a cell.
  • Text Direction: Based on the reading statistics, this one seems to be a favorite. Merge a few cells, type some text, and then click this button to alter the text direction.
  • Cell Margins: Click the button to display the Table Options dialog. The big item on this dialog is the cell padding...the distance between the text and the border...add a little space so it's easy for your reader to distinguish the text from the border.
Data Group
  • Sort: Click this button to display the Sort dialog and sort rows in a table. Note that you can't sort a table that includes merged cells. If you're trying to sort a list that isn't in a table, look for this same button on the Home tab in the Paragraph group.
  • Repeat Header Rows: Select a row in a table (most likely the first row or two and then click this button to have the header repeat when the contents of the table spills onto a subsequent page...think long table.
  • Convert to Text: Select a table, and then click this button to do what the button says...convert text that is currently in a table to plain text. A convert dialog appears. You pick a divider (paragraph, tab, comma, or other). Remember that a space is a valid divider.
  • Formula: Click at your own risk...I'm not going there.
What Should You Take Away
Again, where you select an option to apply it (ribbon? pop-up?) will depend on what you have displayed and what you can get at fastest. However, if you know where the options are, you have choices, which is why Word places options in more than one accommodation that you'll come to love as you begin to remember all of the places where Word tucked away these options.

That's it for tables...I think...unless you post questions...


  1. Great series. I can't tell you how much more comfortable I am using Tables. I've been trying lots of new to me features which is making work much easier and more effective.

  2. I'm glad you're finding the posts helpful. The best way to learn Word--really any software program--is in bits over time. I'll keep trying to give you context...a reason to learn a particular skill. We'll see how well I do!