Tables for Organizing and Formatting
What You Will Learn
After completing this lesson, you will be able to:
Insert a table
Modify an existing table
|Use tables to create a
Excel to increase the functionality of tables|
|Use the Table tools to manipulate and format
|Links to Troubleshooting resources|
Additional Written and Web Resources
Word for Law Firms and Lawyers
Tables of Contents and Tables of Authorities
are not covered in this chapter
|This chapter is about a method of formatting or layout|
|See: Complex Documents
for information on Tables of Contents / and Tables of Authorities|
This chapter last edited by Charles
Wednesday 22 February 2012
(this guide table of contents) ------- (MS
Word New Users FAQ)
Everything from pleading captions to file indices to stock certificate
listings can be managed in tables. In this chapter, we cover the basics
first—how to create, modify, and prepare your tables for the legal
environment. Next we'll look at some of the ways to make tables useful in
your firm. You will also see a greater number of references to Word 2000
than in other chapters. This is because the Table feature in Word 2000 has
been greatly enhanced to offer more functionality.
You can use tables to align numbers in columns, and then sort and
perform calculations on them. You can also use tables to create
interesting page layouts and arrange text and graphics.
"Like a hammer, the time-proven spacebar has been used countless
times to perform chores for which it was never intended. Yes, a
hammer can compel a screw to join two pieces of wood together, and a
spacebar can be used to move text around so it looks like a table.
However, just as a hammered screw makes for a shaky wooden table, a
word processing table fashioned together with spaces is equally
fragile. Add something to the table and it doesn't hold together.
Which table? Take your pick."
Microsoft Word 2010 Bible by Herb Tyson
There are many ways to create tables in Word. Some of the more commonly
used methods include:
|Using a toolbar button to insert the table,
|Choosing Insert from the Table menu, and
|Drawing the table using the Tables and Borders toolbar tools.|
Some less common ways to insert a table include:
|Inserting an Excel worksheet into a document,
|Copying and pasting Excel information into Word, and
|Converting existing text not in a table to a table format by
choosing Convert Text to Table from the Table menu.|
Method 1: The Insert Table button
The Insert Table button on the Standard toolbar is one of the fastest
ways to insert a table in a document. If you click the button, a box
extends below the button with smaller boxes inside. Move your mouse over
the number of cells you'd like to insert into the document. Notice that
the cells change color as you move the mouse over them. This indicates the
size of the table to be created. When you have the desired number of cells
selected, click to insert the table into the current location of the mouse
||Note You can increase the size of the table
you insert. Hold down the left mouse button and drag farther down,
to the right, or click the bottom right corner of the table and drag
to increase both length and width of the table. The number of cells
that can be inserted using this method is dependent on the size of
your display, and the position of the Insert Table button on the
toolbar. You can only select as far to the right as is visible on
Note: In the Word version
of the Legal Users' Guide all Notes, Tips, and Warnings (with the
little pictures) are contained in two-cell tables.
||Tip To increase the number of cells that can
be selected using the Insert Table button you first need to
reposition the button further to the left on the toolbar. Hold the
ALT key, and drag the Insert Table button to a position to the left
of the current location.|
Method 2: The Insert Table dialog
The Insert Table button is limited in how many cells it can display
initially. When building a large or more complex table, you may find using
the Table menu more useful. In Word 97, from the Table menu, choose Insert
Table; in Word 2000, from the Table menu, choose Insert, and then select
Table. The Word 2000 Insert Table dialog box is shown in the next figure.
The Insert Table dialog box in both Word 97 and Word 2000 allows up to
63 columns and 32,767 rows in a table, but Word 2000 lets you exercise
more formatting choices and allows you to set defaults for subsequent
visits to the dialog box.
Practice: Insert a Table with the Insert Table dialog
- Make sure you're on a blank line in your document.
- In Word 97, from the Table menu choose Insert Table. In Word 2000,
from the Table menu choose Insert, then select Table.
- In the Number of columns box, type 100.
- Click OK. Note the error message (Both Word 97 and 2000 have a limit
of 63 columns, no matter the paper size, orientation, etc.).
- In the Number of columns box, type 4.
- In the Number of rows box, type 100.
- Click OK.
If you need more than 63 columns or 32767 rows, consider using
Microsoft Excel or Access, depending on the task.
||Note Microsoft Excel is a powerful spreadsheet
program that includes functions for data analysis, database, and
presentation. The entire Excel worksheet is like a very large table
made up of cells.
Microsoft Access is a relational database application that is
easy to use for simple or complicated
Method 3: Draw a Table
One of the most exciting things about Word is a feature called Draw
Table. Draw Table allows you to create your own tables with special row
and column dimensions to begin with—no more messy eyeballing your row and
column sizes. To activate the table-drawing tool, click the Tables and
Borders button on the Standard toolbar—the button resembles a pencil
resting over a table.
Notice that now you not only see the Tables and Borders toolbar if you
couldn't before, but you can also click and drag with the mouse pointer in
the document to create a table. Draw Table is a great feature for
situations where a standard-sized table won't do: pleading captions are a
perfect example. Let's draw one.
Practice: Insert a Table with the Draw Table tool
- On the Standard toolbar, click the Tables and Borders button. If you
want to add the new toolbar near your menu bar instead of having it
float over the document, you can "dock" it by double-clicking anywhere
in the title bar that says "Tables and Borders." This gets the toolbar
out of the way of your work and gives you more room to create and modify
- Notice that when you move your mouse pointer within the document,
the mouse pointer changes shape and resembles the pencil. Click and drag
from one corner of the table you're making to the opposite corner. You
should see a large box, which is really a one-celled table. Your table
should resemble the following example:
- Inside the middle of the table, click and drag from top to bottom.
Repeat to create a very narrow column in the center of the table as
shown in the next example.
||Tip To eliminate all of the printing borders
in your table, place your cursor in the table and then press
- Type your scallops in the middle column and you're on your way
(scallops are created using the ")" key) and pressing ENTER multiple
times. Your pleading caption probably still needs some touching up, but
once you're finished, you could save this as an AutoText entry and never
have to create a pleading caption again!
If you accidentally lose the Draw Table tool on your mouse pointer,
click the pencil button at the far left side of the Tables and Borders
toolbar to reactivate it.
||Note To create an AutoText entry, select the
text or object and then from the Insert menu choose AutoText, and
then choose New. Type a unique name for the AutoText entry and click
OK. If your AutoText name is less than four characters, or if the
name applied is not unique, you will need to press F3 to complete
the AutoText entry and place the text or object within the document
at the current location. If the entry is four or more characters,
after you type the fourth character, a ScreenTip appears as you
type. Press TAB, F3, or ENTER to insert the AutoText
||Note A new feature to Word 2000 is guidelines
that appear on the ruler as you create the table (shown in the
following figure). This provides a visual representation of the
measurement of the table being created.|
While these three methods are the most common for creating a table in
Word, other methods are also available. They include:
|Inserting an Excel worksheet into the document by clicking the
Insert Microsoft Excel Worksheet button on the Standard toolbar,
|Using the Text to Table feature under the Table menu.|
These methods are discussed further throughout the rest of this
chapter. Help on each method to inserting a table into a document can be
found in Help files in Word.
Method 4: Import Data from Another Application
If you have already created data in a tabular format in another
application, there is a good chance that all you need to do to create a
table with that data in Word is copy and paste.
Practice: Create a Table from Another Application
- Make sure Word is open. Open the file in the other application that
contains your tabular data.
- Select (if necessary) and copy the data from the source file.
- Switch to Word.
- Choose Paste from the Edit menu.
||Note For most applications (and especially
those in the Microsoft Office suite), this will be all you need to
do. For others, a more complicated export procedure is
Word 2000 has the ability to "nest" tables within another table. Nested
tables are particularly useful when you use a table to lay out a page and
then want to use a table to present other information such as quarterly
earnings as a table within the table. To create a nested table:
- On the Tables and Borders click Draw Table. The pointer changes to a
- Position the pencil in the cell where you want the nested table (or
a table inside another table).
- Draw the new table. To define the table boundaries, draw a
rectangle. Then draw the column and row lines inside the rectangle.
- When you finish creating the nested table, click a cell, and start
typing or insert a graphic.
Using nested tables will make your document incompatible with
Word 97. A nested table is a table within a table. You can follow
the directions given above pretty much in Word 97 and create a good
result. That is, you can use the pencil to draw new cells within an
existing cell. What you can't do in Word 97 is create that second
table outside of the first one and then copy or move it into the
You can download samples of a nested table and a pseudo-nested
table if you want to look at this more closely. One document is compatible with Word 97, the nested table sample can't
be properly opened in Word 97. (It will open, it is just that
the table will be scrambled.)
The size of a table is dependent on information being added or removed
from the table structure. To insert a row at the end of a table, press TAB
while in the last cell of the table. You can also add a row or column in
different locations within the table by accessing the Table or Shortcut
menu (alternate click) while the mouse pointer is within the table.
To insert or delete rows and columns, select what you want to
affect—rows to affect rows, columns to affect columns—and then select the
appropriate option from the Table menu (rows or columns).
In Word 97, rows are inserted above the selected row(s), and
columns to the left of a selected column(s). In Word 2000, you can
define whether rows are inserted above or below the current row, and
whether columns are inserted to the left or right of the current
To change row or column height in a table, pause the mouse
pointer over the border between two rows or columns and click and
drag to alter the table structure. In Word 2000, tables act as
drawing objects, which means you can use the drawing handle in the
bottom right corner of the table to modify the table easily. Just
click and drag.
||Tip You must be in Page Layout view (Print
Layout in Word 2000) in order to change the height of a row by
dragging the border.|
||Tip In Word 2000, if you click within a table,
you'll see a move handle that allows you to click and drag the table
to another place on the page. (See the following figure for an
example of this new feature).|
Legal Q&A on Tables
How can I make a pleading caption in Word?
There are a couple of different methods you can use to create a
pleading caption in Word, but tables are one of the best ways to do this.
Practice: Make a "Scalloped" Caption Using Tables
- Perform steps 1 through 5 in the "Insert a Table with Draw Table
tool" in the preceding exercise.
- At this point the bottom left border needs fixing. Click in the
left-most cell and from the Format menu, and choose Borders and Shading.
Click on the diagram on the right side of the dialog box to have only a
bottom border. Click OK.
If you have a lengthy caption (you've probably seen some that go on for
pages), you may have noticed that the scallops don't automatically copy
down the center column of the table. If you don't find this acceptable,
consider another way to make a caption where you use a border line
separating the parties from the pleading title. Many courts now accept
captions prepared this way—check your court rules to see if you can use
this type of caption.
Practice: Make a "Bordered" Caption Using Tables
- In a blank document, create a table with two columns and only one
- Remove the printing borders by clicking inside the table, and then
- Fix the bottom left border as described in step 2 in the "Make a
"Scalloped" Caption Using Tables" example that preceded this exercise.
While you're in the Borders and Shading dialog, turn on the printing
border for the right side of the leftmost cell as well.
In this type of caption, the border automatically extends as you add
cross-complainants or type a long pleading title.
How can I get the first row to repeat at the top of each page
throughout the table?
In lengthy tables such as file or pleading indices, holdings lists, and
other legal documents, if a table spills onto subsequent pages you can
make headings repeat at the top of each new page that contains a part of
Practice: Create Table Headings
- In a blank document, from the Table menu, choose Insert Table
(Insert, then Table in Word 2000).
- Create a table with two columns and 250 rows.
- In the first cell of the first column, type Attorney.
- In the second cell of the first column, type Extension.
- Select the first row of your table, and then from the Table menu,
choose Headings (it's called Heading Rows Repeat in Word 2000).
- Go to Print Preview and view your handiwork.
- Word also allows you to have more than one row repeat at the top of
the page. Just select the rows that you want to repeat and perform step
Continued Note in Heading Lines (CK
How to have the word "continued" in the headings of multipage tables on
There is no automatic way to do this. Several Word
MVPs have posted the following solution,
though, and it works.
Put the word "continued" in the heading line on the first page. Then
create a textbox or autoshape anchored outside the heading row and
use it to cover the word. The shape or text box should have no border and
white fill. This way, the word continued will not appear on the first page
but will appear when the row (without the textbox or shape) is repeated on
When I have a lengthy entry in one of my cells, the text can break
over a page. Is there a way to turn on the equivalent of "Block Protect"
or "Keep Lines Together" in Word?
It's possible to have it either way in Word—you can have your cells
break over a page or not, depending on your preferences for the job at
hand. By default, the text in a table breaks across a soft page break in
both Word 97 and Word 2000. Let's explore the options in the following
Practice: Prevent Cells from Breaking Over a Soft Page Break
- In a blank document, from the Table menu, choose Insert Table
(Insert, then Table in Word 2000).
- Create a table with 2 columns and 250 rows.
- Make sure you're in Page Layout view (Print Layout view in Word
- Go to the bottom of the first page and type in one of the cells
until you see text both above and below the Soft Page Break.
- Make sure your cursor is anywhere in the table, and then from the
Table menu, choose Cell Height and Width (Table Properties in Word
- In the Cell Height and Width dialog box, find the check box Allow
row to break across pages.
- If the option is checked, the text can break over a page. If not,
the row that contains the cell that broke over a page is moved to the
next page in its entirety.
This does not prevent cells from breaking over hard page breaks. Also,
if you have more than a page of text in a cell, a soft page break must
exist somewhere in that text, and the text breaks over a page even though
you've cleared the checkbox in step 6.
Is there an easy way to make a file index in Word? I had a macro in
WordPerfect and now I've got to make them from scratch.
The bad news is that you do have to make it all over again; the good
news is that you'll only have to create it once. Using the power of tables
together with AutoText, you'll be able to make a killer file index that
you can use repeatedly.
Practice: Create a File Index Using Tables
- Open a blank document, and from the Table menu, choose Insert Table
(Insert, then Table in Word 2000).
- Create a table with as many columns as you need (we'll use 4 in this
example) and 2 rows.
- In the first cell of the first column, type "Number".
- In the first cell of the second column, type "Document Name".
- In the first cell of the third column, type "Date Filed".
- In the first cell of the fourth column type "Description".
- Click in the second cell of the first column, and then turn on
numbering (On the Formatting toolbar, click the Numbering button).
This will give you a numbered column down the left side.
As you add rows to your table, the numbered list on the left side
increments. Try it! If you save your finished product from the exercise
above as an AutoText entry, you can retrieve it as many times as you like
in the future.
My table column resizes as I type…
Table columns in Microsoft Word 2000 automatically resize to fit text
or graphics. If you type a word that is longer than the width of the
column, the column adjusts to accommodate the text. If you don't want your
columns to resize when you type, click in the table, click Table
Properties on the Table menu, and then click the Table tab. Click Options,
and then clear the Automatically resize to fit contents check box.
I am doing very simple math in my Word table. Is it possible to create
It's possible to take any value in just about any part of a Word
document (it doesn't have to be in a table) and run it through any number
of math functions against other values in other parts of a Word document.
The way to do it is to use bookmarks. An example of how this works is
shown in the next Practice exercise.
Practice: Work with Subtotals in a Word Document
- In a blank document, create three separate tables with values in the
first two cells of the first two tables.
- We're going to derive subtotals for the two tables and then a grand
total of the two subtotals in the single-cell table at the bottom. Click
in the third cell of each of the first two tables and click the AutoSum
button at the far right side of the Tables and Borders toolbar.
- Select the first sum field (it should say "1500" if you've used the
example above), making sure not to select the end-of-cell marker after
it (it kind of looks like a spider).
- After selecting the first sum field in step 3, go to the Insert menu
and choose Bookmark. For keyboard users, CTRL+SHIFT+F5 gets you to the
Bookmark dialog box.
- Give the selection a bookmark name like "Table1Total".
- Repeat steps 3-5 for the second total ("450" if you're following the
example above), calling it "Table2Total".
||Note Names of bookmarks in Word cannot begin
with a digit, nor can they have a space in their
- Having bookmarked your totals, click in the single-cell table at the
bottom. From the Table menu, choose Formula.
- In the top box labeled "Formula" you'll see an equal sign. Type the
word "SUM", then an open parenthesis "(" and choose "Table1Total" from
the Paste Bookmark drop-down list.
- Type a comma after "Table1Total" then go to the Paste Bookmark
drop-down list and choose "Table2Total".
- Type a close parenthesis after "Table2Total" in the Formula box.
Your formula should look like this:
- Click OK. Confirm your total is the same as what you expect it to be
(in this example, "1950").
If you get a result which says "!Syntax Error,", try the exercise
again, making sure that you don't select the end-of-cell marker after the
number when bookmarking.
I never could understand sorting in Word tables. Is it possible to
sort dates and numbers as well as text?
It's easy to sort dates, numbers and text in a Word table. If a simple,
one-level sort is all you're after, you'll be surprised at how easy it is.
All you have to do is click in a column that has a list of things you'd
like to sort (like filing dates, for example) and click one of the two
sort buttons near the right side of the Tables and Borders toolbar. The
practice exercise below should give you an idea.
Practice: Sorting Dates in Tables
- In a table, enter an array of dates that are near each other but
have varying formats, like the following:
- Click anywhere in the column and click either one of the sort
buttons at the right side of the Tables and Borders toolbar. One button
sorts in Ascending order, the other in Descending order. Word
automatically converts dates in many different formats behind the scenes
so it can sort them correctly.
||Note When you use either of the Sorting
buttons on the Tables and Borders toolbar, Word assumes you have a
header row. If you don't, you have to sort by going to the Table
menu and choosing Sort.|
Part of the text is hidden inside a table cell…
You've probably set an exact row height that's smaller than the text
you are trying to display. Click in the cell. On the Table menu, click
Table Properties, and then click the Row tab. In the Row height is box,
click At least.
Can I insert an Excel worksheet into Word?
One of the reasons Microsoft Office is so popular is how all of the
programs work together. Excel is a spreadsheet program that makes number
crunching, organizing and presenting data very easy — even for the
To insert an Excel worksheet into a Word document, click the Insert
Microsoft Excel Worksheet toolbar button on the Standard toolbar.
Double-click to activate the Excel worksheet. Now you have the full
functionality of Excel without leaving the Word window.
||Note If the data already exists in an Excel
spreadsheet, open the spreadsheet, select and copy the text, switch
to Word, and choose paste the copied text. Word converts the data
into a table format.|
Labels in Microsoft Word (CK
Labels in Microsoft Word are tables, usually set up using the Envelope
and Labels wizard or the Mailmerge wizard. Once the labels are set up, you
can manipulate the them using any of the techniques given here for tables.
See also: Troubleshooting
See also: Table
Causes Document File Size to Increase (Word 2000 +)