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MS Word Table Mania – Part 2 – Working With Tables

Wednesday, November 17th, 2004 by | Filed Under: MS Word

MS Word Table Mania – Part 2 – Working With Tables

Now that we’ve covered how to insert tables and how to navigate within them, let’s cover some of the other issues that arise while working with tables.

The last issue covered the options of evenly distributing rows or columns.

So… moving on, what about the situations where you want the columns different widths? Is there an easy way to accomplish this effect?

You bet!

Adjusting the width of a column can be done by running your mouse pointer over the vertical lines dividing the columns. When the pointer switches to a double-sided arrow click and hold. Now you can drag the side of the column left or right, creating whatever width you need.


Row height can also be adjusted in the same manner, using the divider line below the row.

It is also important to mention that row height will automatically be increased when text wraps within a cell. (Provided that you have not set the height using an exact measurement under the Table menu, Cell Height and Width choice.)

Something that automatically expands to fit … hmm… ever wish your clothes would do that?

Another way to set row height and column width is to click the Table menu, Cell Height and Width choice. In the resulting window you will have a row or column tab at the top to choose from. Keep in mind, changes set there will affect only the row or column your cursor is currently in.


To change settings for multiple rows or columns, highlight all cells that need to be changed and go through the menu to set the changes.

If only that worked in real life, highlight all rooms, vacuum one and they’re all vacuumed…in my dreams!

Within the cell of a table, the normal font formatting (font size, type, bold, italic, underline, etc…) and alignments (left, center, right and justify) can be completed using the ususal methods. In addition, you can choose where to place the text within a cell of the table – known as Alignment. You can align text to the top of the cell, the bottom or to the center. This option is extremely helpful with column headings.

The following buttons can set the alignment.


Other ways to access alignment options would include the Table menu, Cell Height and Width (look at the bottom of the row tab) or right clicking on selected cells and choosing Alignment from the pop up menu.

Once again, these changes will affect only the cell you are currently in or the cells highlighted at the time the changes are set.

Along the same lines as the text alignment there is the changing of the text direction.

This option allows you to set text to read up or down.


You can access this option in several ways. One of them is the Change Text Direction button on the Tables and Borders toolbar.


Each click of the button will cycle through the possible changes for the text, finally returning you to the original left to right text.

Another way would be to right click in the cell to be changed and use the Change Text Direction option on the resulting pop up menu.

You can also sort data within a table.

The fastest way would be to click in a cell and then choose one of the sorting buttons on the Tables and Borders toolbar.


These buttons will sort either ascending or descending, depending on the button you chose. All data in each row is kept together as a row and moved at the same time.

I would like to note that this method works best when you have only one sort criteria. If you have multiple criteria, located in separate columns, (such as by date and then by name) then you should use the next method.

The other option for sorting is in the Table menu, Sort choice.


A screen will open allowing you to choose your sorting options including the option to set sorting criteria using multiple columns. You can tell Word to sort first on one column and then for matching entries use a secondary column to determine order.

OK, so for today that was changing column width, row height, alignment, text direction and data sorting. Whew! I’m tired after all that, how about you?

We’ll consider it enough for one day.

~ April

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