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Working with Tables

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Working with tables

What is a table?

A table is information arranges in horizontal rows and vertical colums. You can use a table to organise text or numerical data. You can format text in various ways in different parts of a table.

When you first insert a table into a document, it appears as a simple grid, with black gridlines defining the rows and colums. The area where a row and column meet is called a cell.


Inserting a table

Insert << Table


Position the mouse pointer in the upper-left cell of the grid, then drag the pointer down and across the grid until you have highlighted the amount you require. For this exercise we will two columns and five rows – the outline of a cell turns orange when you highlight it. NB: You are able to add or delete rows and columns at a later stage if needed.

When you have the table size correct - 2 x 5, an empty table, two columns by five rows, appears, with the insertion point in the upper-left cell.



When you are working in the table or the table is selected two new tabs appear on the ribbon, Design and Layout.


Entering Data in a Table

You can enter data in a table by moving the insertion point to a cell and typing. If the data takes up more than one line in the cell the text will automatically wrap to the next line. This increases the height of that cell and all the other cells in that row. To move to the next insertion point, you can press the Tab key on the keyboard or simply click on the desired cell.



This is what selected text looks like, to select the whole table use the Table move handle.

To select a row or column

Move the mouse pointer to the left of the table next to the row or column. The pointer changes to a right-facing arrow for a row, or a downward facing arrow for a column. Click the left mouse button. The entire row or column is selected.

Example: entire header row selected.


To format the text you can switch to the:

Home tab


Use the Mini toolbar

Or use keyboard shortcuts. (See Keyboard shortcuts)


Sorting Information in a table

The term sort refers to the process of rearranging information in alphabetical, numerical or chronological order.

Select the whole table


Layout << Sort

By default the table will be sorted by item, the type will be text, and it will be in ascending order.


Example: Unsorted Data


Example: Sorted Data on ITEM content << Ascending


Example: Sorted Data on MATERIAL COST content << Descending


Inserting Rows and Columns in a table

You will often need to modify a table by adding or deleting rows and columns.

Inserting a column:

Click any cell in the Item column


Layout << Select << Select Column


Rows and Columns Group << Insert Right


A new, blank column is inserted to the right of the item column as shown below;


Click in the top cell of the new column, and enter your new data, Use the arrow key to move the insertion point down through the column.

Inserting a row:

This is similar to inserting a column.

Select a row below the location where you want to insert a row.


In the Rows and Columns group << Insert Rows Above

To insert a row below select the Insert Below icon.  Keyboard shortcut: click at the end of a row in the table where you want a row inserted and press enter.


Deleting rows and columns in a table

Before you delete a row, you need to work out whether you want to delete the contents of the row, or the contents and the structure of the row. You can delete the contents of the row by selecting the row and pressing the Delete key.

Select the row you are going to delete.


Layout << Delete << Delete Rows

Select the column you are going to delete.


Layout << Delete << Delete Columns

Formatting your table with styles:

Click in the table you want to format.


Click Table Tools << Design


In the Table Styles Group, select the downward facing arrow highlighted below to display the Table Styles gallery.  In the gallery click on the style you want to use for your table.


Position your mouse over a style to see a live preview of the style in your document.