A table is one convenient way to display like information. People can refer to the table within a document and see how it applies to the lesson being taught. They can come to their own conclusions when they see the data stacked up against each other. That’s where knowing how to create and format tables within a Microsoft Word document pays off.

Why You Need to Use Tables in Documents

Let’s face it, some people need visual aids to learn. Even though text is comprised of letters, numbers, and punctuation, it can be very taxing on the eyes. When you’re able to stress a point visually with a table, you’re able to relay data quickly and in a way that other people understand well.

Tables take large amounts of data and categorize it in a way that is easy to understand and digest. It gives readers of a document, catalog or manual an organized way to process what they’ve learned from the author. You don’t have to skim paragraph after paragraph of text to gain the same understanding from a well-made table.

How to Create a Table and Then Format It to Your Liking

To create a table in Microsoft Word, you must first own Microsoft Office. Once you have the software downloaded to your computer, you’ll want to open a new word document by double clicking the MS Word icon and choosing ‘New’ when prompted by the menu to make a selection.

Once your blank document is open, you’ll want to type out your list or text. Converting it to table format takes a few steps, so be prepared. Once you learn how to do it the first time, you’ll have no problem creating and adding tables to documents.

Here’s what you need to do to get the process going:

  1. Choose ‘Home’ then ‘Show/Hide’.

    This allows you to see the tabs and paragraph makings made in the document.
  2. Use separator characters in the form of commas or tabs.

    This tells the program where to divide text. It will place it into table columns.
  3. When you want to begin a new table row, you’ll need to use paragraph marks.

    This allows you to decide how much information you plan to share on the table.
  4. Once you’ve done that, you’ll want to create the table.

    Select it by highlighting it with the highlighter tool on the ribbon at the top of the document.
  5. Then select ‘Insert>Table’ and ‘Convert Text to Table.

    You’ll find this in the drop down menu under ‘Insert Table’ and ‘Draw Table’.
  6. Set the column width by choosing ‘Fixed column width’ and selecting a number.

    You’ll determine how wide you want the columns to be based on the amount of text you’re sharing.
  7. Resize the columns if necessary.

    Select ‘AutoFit to contents’.
  8. Resize the table to fit the width of space.

    Do this by choosing ‘AutoFit to window’.
  9. Separate text at requires the separator character used in the text you started with.

    Make sure to include this before hitting ‘OK’.

 

Following these steps in order allows you to create and format unique tables to insert into your Word documents. You can enhance the effectiveness of your communications easily. All you need is a few extra minutes and Microsoft Office to begin.

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