How to Add Shading to Table Cells in Word


If you have a table with many rows and columns, it can be difficult to read. Adding shading to the table can make reading the data in our table easier. For example, you can add shading to every other row and/or column using a color or pattern.

NOTE: We used Word 2013 to illustrate this feature.

To apply shading to a table, select the parts of the table you want to shade.


The “Table Tools” tabs become available. Click the “Design” tab under “Table Tools”, if it’s not already the active tab.


In the “Table Styles” section, click “Shading”.


Select a color under “Theme Colors” or “Standard Colors” from the drop-down box. If you don’t find a color you want to use on the drop-down box, select “More Colors”.


On the “Colors” dialog box, you can select from additional colors on the “Standard” tab…


… or create your own color on the “Custom” tab.


You can also customize the look of your table using borders. We’ve also shown you other ways of working with and customizing your Word tables, such as how to show and hide cell gridlines in a table, freeze the size of the cells in a table, quickly move a row in a table, and total rows and columns in a table.

Lori Kaufman is a writer who likes to write geeky how-to articles to help make people's lives easier through the use of technology. She loves watching and reading mysteries and is an avid Doctor Who fan.