Adjusted table cell spacing in Word

If you want more spacing around the cells of your table, Microsoft Word can accommodate you. Because the setting is a bit hidden, we’ll show you where to find it and how to adjust the cell spacing for your table.

Although tables are wonderful tools for structuring data, they can also become packed and hard on the eyes. By adding spacing around the cells, you can make your data easier to read or simply give your table a unique appearance.

Adjust the Table Cell Spacing in Word

The nice thing about the cell spacing setting is that you can use it for a table you insert or a custom table that you draw.

RELATED: How to Draw a Custom Table in Microsoft Word

Select the table and right-click a cell or the table handle. Choose “Table Properties” from the shortcut menu.

Table Properties in the shortcut menu

In the Table Properties window that opens, go to the Table tab. Then, choose “Options” on the bottom right.

Options in the Table Properties window

In the center of the Table Options window, you’ll see Default Cell Spacing. As you’ll see, the default is zero. Check the box for Allow Spacing Between Cells and enter a number in the box to the right. Alternatively, use the arrows to move up or down in small increments.

Settings for cell spacing

Click “OK” to save the spacing change and “OK” again the Table Properties window. You’ll then see your table update to the new cell spacing measurement.

Table before and after adjusting cell spacing

You can continue to use these steps to adjust the spacing further if you wish to get just the right look.

If you’re adjusting the cell spacing for an improved appearance, you can then select the table and head to the Shading section of the Table Design tab.

Shading on the Table Design tab

This lets you apply shading to the cell spacing and pick a color for the cells that makes them pop.

Shaded table

No matter what you’re using a table for in Microsoft Word, you do have options to give it the exact appearance you want or the best way to make your data easy to read.

RELATED: How to Create a Table Using the Keyboard in Word

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With her B.S. in Information Technology, Sandy worked for many years in the IT industry as a Project Manager, Department Manager, and PMO Lead. She learned how technology can enrich both professional and personal lives by using the right tools. And, she has shared those suggestions and how-tos on many websites over time. With thousands of articles under her belt, Sandy strives to help others use technology to their advantage.
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