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Text to Table in Word

Friday, December 14th, 2007 by | Filed Under: MS Office Help, MS Word

Text to Table in Word

Here’s the situation: you have a list of items or names in MS Word that is in perfect condition. There are no typos and it’s exactly in the order you need it to be.

But of course, there’s always a catch. You now realize you need the list in a table.

So, now what?

You could draw/insert a table and then copy and paste each item into a different row on the table.

You’re dreading that one, aren’t you? (I know I would!)

Next question: Is there a better way?

Of course there is! Why else would we be having this discussion?

Give this little trick a try the next time you’re looking to make your already typed text into a table.

First, you should highlight the list.

In older versions of MS Word, you now need the Table menu, Convert submenu, Text to Table choice.

In Word 2007, you’re looking for the Insert ribbon, Table button, Convert Text to Table choice.

The Convert Text to Table dialogue box will open, displaying your choices.

In the top section, you can set the table size. Word will try to guess what you’ll need based on the data you’ve highlighted, but you know what you’re trying to create, so make the changes as necessary. I found that the number of rows was inaccessible to me. Word simply used the amount that matched my highlighted data.

The middle allows you to decide how the columns widths will be created. Should they all be the same width? Should Word AutoFit to the longest piece of data in the column? The AutoFit to window choice is for Web browsers and it will “automatically resize the table so that it fits within the window of a Web browser. When the window size of the Web browser changes, the table size automatically adjusts to fit within the window.”

And finally, at the bottom, you need to tell Word how the data items are separated. That is, what separates each piece of data to tell Word when to start the next column.

For example, with the following list, I would choose the Other option and enter a space in the box to get each of the first and last names into their own columns.

Mickey Mouse
Donald Duck
Daisy Duck
Minnie Mouse

If I had set the number of columns to 4, I would have a table like this:

With the extra columns, I could enter extra data that pertains to each name.

Basically, to start, you must have some idea of what you’re looking to create as the final product. Then you may have to do a little bit of trial and error to find exactly what you need. Also, if you haven’t already “made friends” with the Undo button (Ctrl + Z), I suggest you do during this experimentation process. But, once you get the hang of it, you’ll find it can be a true timesaver!

~ April

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