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Beginner Geek: Add Flair to Word Documents Using Tables

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Table is most probably one of the best tools in Microsoft Word; it lets you align text, perform calculations, and today we’ll show you how to use tables to add flair to your documents.

We’ll start of by giving you a quick tutorial on how to use tables in Word, and we’ll round up today’s tutorial by showing you use tables to give a fluid layout to your Word document.

How to Use Tables

Head over to the “Insert” tab and click the “Table” icon. Drag your mouse across the white grid to choose the appropriate dimension (rows x column) of your table.

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Once you have decided on your table dimension, place your cursor in any cell in your table, and open the “Design” tab.  The default design on your table will be a plain black and white table. However, Word has a number of table styles to choose from.

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Try selecting one of the table style, and you should see Word change the appearance of your table instantly.

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If you find the colors does not suit your taste, simply right click on any cell, and choose “Borders and Shading”.

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You choose different line style, colors, and different shading for each cell in your table.

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That’s the basic of using table, now we’ll show you some advanced tricks with table. Head back to the “Insert” tab, and we’ll need to create the table using the draw table tool.

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This tool lets us create custom tables with nested tables, different rows and columns in a single cell, and many more.

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Every time you want to make a new row, or column, just drag the pencil icon from one side of the table to the other side.

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Add as many cells as you want, and apply different shading to each cell to make your table look pretty.

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Let’s make those borders invisible to give your document a clean look to it.

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Now, you have a well formatted document.

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Table is only one option that you can use to format your document, and there are probably better authoring software like Adobe PageMaker to make creative documents. However, there is no harm in using what already comes in Microsoft Office Suite.

If you want to know more about DD-WRT, head over to our article to learn how you can super charged your home router with DD-WRT. Please feel free to share any tips and tricks with Word that you use to format your documents.

Zainul spends his time trying to make technology more productive, whether it’s Microsoft Office applications, or learning to use web applications to save time.

  • Published 04/6/11

Comments (9)

  1. Kevalin

    Okay, let me admit to being impressed. I’ve used Word for years… but it never occurred to me to use it for much more than a basic – a very basic – word processor. This article has given me a new appreciation of how I can use this tool, and in pretty good timing, too, since I’m getting more into creating a web presence.

    Thanks.

  2. nakedbatman

    i’m beginning to appreciate how this tools works… thanks and more power!

  3. GG grandma

    I just recently discovered this site. I love it! I would like to know if you have an area/directory of the tips for Microsoft Office “Word” Powerpoint” etc. ? I would love to see other tips you have. Thanks for this table tip. I am in the process of putting tgether my family geneology and would like to make a template for the book pages. Thanks so much!

  4. Jami

    All Office tips are here: http://www.howtogeek.com/tag/microsoft-office/ with links to the specific programs at the top.

  5. MJ

    Word is just genius. I love it’s new (2007) equation editor, I take notes in class with my netbook using Word 2010 and I can write almost anything by using only the keyboard shortcuts (I’m studying aeronautical engineering). You could make an article on that, too.

  6. Zainul Franciscus

    thank you for the tip, and we can definitely write an article on that =) Stay tune for more Microsoft Office Goodies from Us

  7. edmenje

    I’ve been using tables in Word documents for over a decade, and it is a very powerful way to format. I first learned to use tables in HTML and when I decided that using tables in MS Word (or even OO Writer) was THE way to go to format my resume and to create forms like contracts, business cards etc. By making tables with borders and specifying widths and heights of the cells one can create very official-looking forms even when they are just blanks for writing on like sign in sheets or petitions. Good tutorial.

  8. Alasdair

    I’ve got to disagree with this article – using tables for layout isn’t just bad on websites (where it’s now anathema!)… If you need complicated layouts, you shouldn’t be using Word (though even Word has other ways of doings these things like columns, sections, text boxes, etc…). The problems down the line just become unmanageable. If you really need to do complex layouts, you need DTP (desktop publishing) software. MS’s own Publisher is… passable, and accessible for people who’ve used MS products before and want to dip their toes in (and you might already have it in your Office package). Professional systems are much more powerful, but are ruinously expensive for home users, and will take some commitment to learn. A middle way perhaps is the open-source Scribus (http://www.scribus.net). It’ll still take some getting used to (not as simple as Publisher), but it’s entirely free, and is as powerful as many professional systems. I just started using it recently, and while I’m not that proficient yet, I can see how useful it will be.

  9. edmenje

    @Alasdair, I’ve got to disagree with you – for most (basic) users, tables can do wonders in using Word. My use of tables in HTML web page design pre-dated css support, I now use css for positioning and styling my web designs, but in 1999-2001 tables were the way to position elements on webpages, and I carried that experience and skill to Word for more complex layouts and many downloadable templates for Word are table based.

    Scribus (after a brief look-through) looks to be an open source alternative to Quark Xpress rather than something aimed at office workers and individuals like MS Publisher is. I have used Quark Xpress in the past and the steep learning curve and lack of drag & drop style templates (if it is indeed much like Xpress) are way more than most people will want to work through to make some simple document. Certainly the amount of fine control of the text and graphic elements is on a professional graphic designer level.

    Just remember…your (and my) just passable, is for most people more than they thought they could even try to accomplish. I’ve run into that time and time again…not everyone aspires to excelence, they just need to get the job done and are perfectly happy with “merely passable”.

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