How to Make a Table in Google Docs

Add tables to documents in minutes

What to Know

  • Go to Insert > Table. Move your mouse to get the number of rows and columns you want and select the box that appears.
  • Right-click a cell to add or remove columns and rows, and adjust table properties like border size and background color.
  • To remove a table, right-click on any cell and choose Delete table.

This article covers how to create a table in Google Docs, choose the right table size, edit it once it's in your document, and the best way to remove a table you no longer want. These instructions work on any operating system that can run a modern web browser like Chrome, Edge, Firefox, etc.

How to Create a Table in Google Docs

The Google Docs word processor might not be your first thought as a table maker since Google Sheets is often the go-to for structured data. But creating a table is easy with Docs' Insert menu. A simple table can be added to a Google Doc using the Table tool.

  1. Open the Insert menu and choose Table.

  2. Move your mouse to the number of rows and columns you want the table to have. The limits are 1x1 up to 20x20. You can always change this later, so it’s okay to pick random numbers if you’re not sure.

    Options when inserting table in Google Docs.
  3. Select the box that represents that table setup to instantly add it to the document.

How to Edit a Table in Google Docs

You can do several things to a table’s columns and rows, like add and remove them, change their size, and adjust the text alignment within them. You can also change the table’s border size and color and pick a background color for each cell.

Add Columns and Rows

Unless you were fully prepared when you first made the table, chances are that you’ll need to adjust how many rows and columns it has.

Here’s how:

  1. Right-click a cell next to the row or column you want to add. In our example, we’d select a cell in the bottom row because we’re adding a fourth row.

  2. Pick the insert option that’s most appropriate to what you want to do: Insert row above, Insert row below, Insert column left, or Insert column right.

    Options when inserting row and column in Google Docs.
  3. The row or column is instantly added to the table.

Remove Columns and Rows

Removing a row or column in a Google Docs table is just as easy:

  1. Right-click a cell that’s in the row or column that you’re removing. Since we don’t want the first column, we’ll select a cell there.

  2. Choose Delete row or Delete column.

    Options for deleting columns and rows in a Google Docs table.
  3. You’ll notice the changes immediately.

Change Table Options

In many ways, everything you do within a cell works the same way it does outside of one. You can align text, add a bold effect, change the text size and color, add links, insert pictures, etc. There are also table-specific settings that you have to access through a special properties window.

  1. Right-click any cell in the table and choose Table properties.

  2. Your options include:

    • Table border: These are the lines surrounding each cell. You can adjust the color and the thickness of the line.
    • Cell background color: Change the color behind the text in the cell(s) you selected when you opened the table properties.
    • Cell vertical alignment: Have the text within the selected cell(s) be at the top, middle, or bottom of the cell.
    • Dimensions: Change the currently selected column(s) or row(s) width, height, and cell padding (space around the text).
    • Table alignment: Where the table should be on the page: left, center, or right. The left indent value adjusts the starting point of this alignment.
    Screenshot of a Google Docs table's properties
  3. Select OK to save and return to the document.

Other Ways to Edit a Table

You can make a quick change to a table by dragging the column and row borders. This isn't as precise as using the table properties because you can't pick the exact size, but it is ideal when the changes you need to make are based on what you see, like if the column needs to make room for a graphic.

Additional Google Docs table formatting options show up in the menu at the top of the document when you select the table. For example, choose a cell border (or several by holding Ctrl or Command), and you'll get the option to change the border color, width, and dash style.

Table formatting options in Google Docs.

Merging cells is something else supported in Google tables, and it's super easy to do: highlight the cells you want to merge, right-click the selection, and choose Merge cells. This is how you'd make more than one row next to a single cell or have a column heading span several rows.

Merge cells table option in Google Docs.

A frustrating problem with tables that can happen over time is forcing the columns and rows to be the same size. Instead of dragging them around to see what looks best, you can right-click the table and choose Distribute rows or Distribute columns.

How to Delete a Google Docs Table

Deleting an entire table can be done in two ways, the first being the easiest:

  1. Right-click any cell in the table and choose Delete table.

    Delete table option in Google Docs.
  2. Alternatively: Click and drag from one corner of the table to the opposite corner, like from the top-left to the bottom-right. This will highlight all the cells so that you can press Delete on the keyboard to erase all of them.

    Remember that if you don't select every single cell, deleting will just erase the contents of those cells, not the cells themselves.

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