Working With Tables in Microsoft Word

Use tables to align columns and rows of text

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Aligning text in a word processing document can be tedious when it's done with tabs and spaces. With Microsoft Word, insert tables in a document to align columns and rows of text with ease. Learn how to work with tables in Word.

Instructions in this article apply to Word for Office 365, Word 2019, Word 2016, Word 2013, and Word 2010.

Insert Table Method

Using the menu, you can either select or type the desired number of columns and rows.

  1. Open a Word document and select the location where you want to place the table.

  2. Go to the Insert tab.

    Microsoft Word with the Insert heading highlighted
  3. In the Tables group, select Table.

    Insert menu in Microsoft Word with the Table option highlighted
  4. Select Insert Table.

    To make a quick and basic table, drag across the grid to select the number of columns and rows for the table.

    Microsoft Word with the Insert Table option highlighted
  5. In the Insert Table dialog box, enter the number of columns and rows you want in the table.

    Insert Table box with the column and row settings highlighted
  6. In the Autofit Behavior section, enter a width measurement for the columns. Or, leave the field set to autofit to generate a table the width of the document.

  7. Select OK. The blank table appears in the document.

    Insert Table box in Microsoft Word with the OK button highlighted
  8. To add or delete rows or columns, select Insert > Table.

  9. To change the width or height of the table, drag the lower-right corner of the table.

When you select the table, the Table Design and Layout tabs appear on the ribbon. Use the tabs to apply a style or make changes to the table.

Draw Table Method

Drawing a table in Word gives you more control over a table's proportions.

  1. With a Word document open, go to the Insert tab.

    Microsoft Word with the Insert heading highlighted
  2. Select Table.

    Insert menu in Microsoft Word with the Table option highlighted
  3. Select Draw Table. The cursor turns into a pencil.

    Table Menu in Word with the Draw Table option highlighted
  4. Drag down and across the document to draw a box for the table. The dimensions can be modified later if needed.

    Screenshot of drawing a table in Word
  5. Click inside the box and draw a vertical line for each column and a horizontal line for each row you want in your completed table.

  6. Style the table using the Table Design and Layout tabs.

Enter Text in a Table

No matter which of these methods you use to draw a blank table, you enter text in the same way. Select a cell and type. Use the tab key to move to the next cell or the arrow keys to move up and down or sideways within the table.

For more advanced options, or if you have data in Excel, embed an Excel spreadsheet in a Word document in place of a table.

Convert Text to Table

If there's text in a document that you want to use in a table, insert separator characters, such as commas or tabs, to indicate where to divide the text into table columns. For example, in a list of people's names and addresses, insert a tab between each name and corresponding address to make it easy to create a table.

  1. Open the Word document containing the text you want to convert into a table and select that text.

  2. Go to the Insert tab.

    Microsoft Word with the Insert heading highlighted
  3. Select Table.

    Insert menu in Microsoft Word with the Table option highlighted
  4. Select Convert Text to Table.

    Table menu in Word with the
  5. In the Convert Text to Table dialog box, change the default settings if needed.

    Screenshot of Convert Text to Table dialog box
  6. Select OK to create the table.

    Convert Text to Table menu in Word with the OK button highlighted
  7. To revert the table to text, go to the Layout tab and select Convert to Text.

    Word with the Convert to Text button highlighted