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Lesson 3: Tables and Other Formatting Controls

Excel Spreadsheet

You can actually create an Excel spreadsheet table in Word. This will act and function just like a regular Excel spreadsheet. So, you can copy and paste existing spreadsheet values in, or make a new one with Excel formulas and functions.

Note, if you want to learn more about Excel formulas and functions, check out our How-to Geek School series on Excel Formulas and Functions!

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Once you have inserted or filled in the spreadsheet with the values, it will appear similar to a table though it is technically known as a “workbook object”.

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With your data inserted and table created, you can right-click on it and do some basic formatting like changing the borders and adjusting the shading, but it won’t be the same as formatting a traditional Word table.

Other Formatting Controls

On the right half of the Insert tab are some further formatting controls you should be aware of. Some of these may be of limited daily value to you, but we think it’s important to know about them in case you ever have need for them.

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Links

Hyperlinks, bookmarks, and cross-references are all classified as “Links” on the “Insert” toolbar.

Hyperlinks allow you to link pieces of text to locations on your computer, network, or the Internet. You can also select your text, right-click and choose “Hyperlink” from the context menu. In the “Insert Hyperlink” dialog, paste or type your address in the provided space.

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It doesn’t have to be an Internet URL either, it can simply refer to a location on your computer or another location in your document. Mostly though, you will probably want to refer to an Internet location, such as the best place on earth to get your geek fix!

Header, Footer, and Page Number

Headers and footers are useful for repeating the same piece of information at the top and/or bottom of each page, such as if you want to have the title of your book at the top of each page, or similarly, page numbers.

When you click on either the header or the footer button, you can choose from an assorted of predefined styles.

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When you choose a style, the header or footer will open and the Ribbon will change to present you with special formatting options.

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So you can type in your header or footer, and then decide where you want to position it, whether it’s the same across each page, and so on.

In the same vein, when you add page numbers, you can place it anywhere within a header or footer, picking from a pre-defined list of numbering styles.

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If you want to “Format Page Numbers”, you’ll be presented with dialog box, which will allow you to change the number format, add chapter numbers, and dictate from where it starts.

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Overall, the header and footer controls are quite easy to grasp and master. So, if you have an instructor who’s a bit old-fashioned and demands you include them in your paper, or you want the title of your book, or your name on every page, or simple page numbers – you should have no problem adding and manipulating them.

Equations

We’re not going to spend a great deal of time explaining the “Equation” functions in Word 2013. We’re guessing the vast majority of people using Word, will never have occasion to insert an equation into their documents.

That said, let’s explain the function exists in the first place. In Word, you can write a simple like “A=πr2” because you can insert the symbol for pi and then use superscript font to show radius squared.

However, if you want to write out anything more complicated than that, you’ll need to insert it using the “Equation” function. You can either select a pre-built equation from the dropdown list:

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Alternatively, you can build your own by simply placing the cursor at your desired insertion point and clicking the “Equation” button, which will place something akin to an equation text box into your document.

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Note, the Ribbon immediately changes when you insert an equation to the “Equation Tools”, which offers a wide array of math symbols and operators, so you don’t have to try to figure out how to do it on your own.

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So, if you’re a bit of a math geek or you’re taking a class and need to write a paper on a mathematical theory, you can present it ϥώwith all the necessary equations to show your work.

Symbols

Symbols are characters that aren’t immediately found on your everyday, run-of-the-mill keyboard. For things like the copyright symbol and British Pounds, you need to insert the symbol using the “Symbols” function on the “Insert” tab.

Most recent and commonly-used symbols are displayed first, such as for foreign currencies (€, ₤, ¥), the aforementioned copyright symbol (©), and others. To access symbols beyond what is immediately displayed, click “More Symbols” at the bottom of the menu.

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For example, if you want to write “façade” and using the cedilla (ç), you’d pick it from the “Latin” subset. Similarly, something like café with its acute accent, can be added using the “Symbol” dialog box.

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Note that you can also insert foreign letters using shortcut keys. You can see which shortcut key is used for each symbol at the bottom of the “Symbol” dialog box.

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If you want to change the shortcut (keep in mind, other symbols or functions might be mapped to other shortcuts), you can click the “Shortcut Key” button and change it to something else.

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Note, that in the above instance, you’re not going to type “CTRL + ‘ + , + E” rather it’s “CTRL + ‘ + E”. The comma is simply there to tell you must first hold down the “CTRL” button, then press the apostrophe and “e” to insert an “é” in your document. Similarly, hold down “CTRL” plus comma and “c” to insert a “ç” and so on.

Coming up Next…

And so ends Lesson 3. We hope you enjoyed it and learned a thing or two. Knowing how to lay out tables in Word will give you a great deal of control over how you present data. Rather than simply having information in sentences or making lists, you can arrange it in neat rows and tables complete with customized colors and borders. The only limit is your creativity!

Moreover, if you’re going for a more published look and feel to your document, adding headers, footer, and page numbers is a great skill to have. Meanwhile, placing links in your documents will help readers navigate and read up on things you might otherwise have to explain with footnotes and such.

Tomorrow, in Lesson 4, we will dive into adding illustrations (such as pictures and shapes) to your documents, allowing you to create eye-popping layouts with tons of variety. You can even embed video for a true multimedia experience. We’ll end with how to add and use multiple languages, so you don’t want to miss out!

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Living just north of the border, in what he calls Practically, Mexico, Matt spends his days scouring the latest tech news, writing e-books, and attempting to create the perfect breakfast burrito.

  • Published 02/19/14

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