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How to create and customize tables in Microsoft Word

Julie Sartain | Aug. 6, 2014
Creating tables in Microsoft Word used to be so annoying that most people just did it in Excel, then imported it into Word. It's worth giving Word 2013's table tools a try, though, because the process is easier, and there are some new graphical options.

The Design tab is for adding borders, shading, styles, and customizing the header columns and rows. Highlight your table, then select Table Tools > Design> Table Styles, Shading, Border Styles, Borders, or Border Painter (see the graphic below for ideas). There's no learning curve, just play with the features and see what happens. If you don't like a feature you've added, just click the Undo button or press CTRL-Z.

There's also an option to add artwork borders to your pages. Select Table Tools > Design > Borders > Border Painter, and click the Page Border tab in the Borders and Shading dialog box. Click the down arrow in the field box under Art, then choose a border — mostly simple clip art — from the list. 

The table below uses one of the many preset styles that comes with Word. Select Table Tools > Design > Table Styles, then scroll through the gallery of styles. If you want to change the font or customize the paragraphs inside the table, use the Format Shortcut menu. Right-click anywhere inside the table, and this small menu pops up adjacent to the longer Table Options menu. If the formatting feature you need is not on the Shortcut menu (which is fairly limited), click the Home Tab and select the features you need from the Font or Paragraph group. All of the buttons and groups on the Home tab are available for formatting tables as well as documents. The options are endless. 

Stay tuned for more articles on getting the most out of Word 2013.


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