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Introduction to tables in MS Word 6.0

This handout is designed to introduce the user to tables in MS Word 6.0. A table consists of rows and columns that intersect to form cells. The cells can then be filled with text, numbers, graphics or formulas. After you create the table, you can modify it in a variety of ways: The exercises below should familiarize you with many of these tasks.

Inserting a Table

Tables can be inserted anywhere in a document. If you are already working in a document, you can simply insert a table where needed. If the table will be the only item in your document, you can insert it first thing.

To insert a table, place your insertion point where you would like the table to appear in your document. From the Table menu, select Insert Table. This brings up the Insert Table Dialog Box, which appears below.

Figure 1: Insert Table Box

The Insert Table box allows you to enter the number of rows and columns you need, as well as to specify the column width. If this is your first time inserting a table in Word, you may wish to use the Wizard Option. If you select this option, you will be led through the table creation process with a series of easy to follow steps. The Wizard option is intended for new users, and Word veterans will probably prefer to use the AutoFormat command.

If you want to add formatting options to your table select AutoFormat. The AutoFormat Dialog Box allows you to change the format of the table by selecting one of the table templates shown in the window. If you do not want any special borders or shading in your table, you can select OK and the table will be inserted in your document. Remember that you may go back at any time and add formatting to your table. Exercise one walks you through creating and inserting a table.

Exercise 1: creating and inserting a table

In this exercise you are going to create a table which contains the names and addresses for a hockey team.

  1. Select Insert Table from the Table menu.
  2. For the time being ignore the row and column sections and press the Wizard button.
  3. Once Wizard has loaded select Style 1 as your table format, and press Next.
  4. You are presented with several more options; for this exercise, choose the following:
  5. Click on Finish
  6. When the Wizard closes, the AutoFormat menu allows you to edit the border or shading. Choose none and click OK.

We chose style one since it gives us a very basic table. You can go back and add some fancy formatting features, like the ones you observed in the other Style choices.

1 Tom Jones 555 Lochmere Dr. Cary, NC 27511 919-467-7777
2 Annie Dog 555Yadkin Dr. Raleigh, NC 27609 919-782-5555
3 Alex Boy 1212 Carriage Dr. Raleigh, NC 27612 919-781-1111
4 Jordie Haywood 1111 Big Woods Chapel Hill, NC 919-541-1111

Exercise 1: sample table exercise

Enter the data shown in the above table into your table. Use your tab key to move to the next column or row in your table.

Notice that Column One(player) is actually bigger than we need it to be. Column widths can be adjusted by placing your mouse between the columns. Wait for the pointer to turn to parallel bars with arrows and once we have these directional arrows we can hold down our left mouse button and drag the column and make it narrower. Drag column one to the left to make it narrower. Adjust any other columns in your table that you wish.

To make other changes to the formatting of the table place the insertion point inside the table and select AutoFormat from the Table menu.

Editing a Table

The Insertion Point

When editing a table in Word the position of the insertion point, or cursor, is important. As you move your cursor across the table notice that at different spots on the table, the cursor changes shapes. These shapes determine the operation that Word will perform in that spot. There are four cursor shapes when editing a table:

Adding Rows

To insert a new row onto the end of your table, place the cursor on the line under the table. Go to the Table menu, select Insert Rows. A dialog box appears: enter the number of rows to insert. To insert a row in the middle of the table, select the row in your table that you want to be shifted down by the insertion of the new row and follow the above steps.

Adding Columns

Adding new columns to your table is done in a similiar manner. Using the black down arrow, select one of the columns in your table. Go to the Table menu, select Insert Columns. Word will insert a new column into your table, shifting the selected column to the right. New columns can also be added to the right of your table. Move the cursor to the right of your table where you want the new column to be and select the area using the black down arrow. Once the column is highlighted, follow the above steps.

Exercise two:inserting columns and a formula

For this exercise, insert a column after the Phone Number column.

To insert a column at the end of the table, you have to place your insertion point just outside the last column.

This column will contain numbers and will allow us to enter a formula. Next to each person in the table, enter the following numbers in the new "Paid" column:


Remember, if you run out of space for another column, you can shrink the size of the columns. Your "Paid" column does not have to be very wide.

Now that we have the numbers entered, let's see about adding a formula to add up the numbers. In Word, like Excel, cells are referenced by a number/letter combination. Columns are noted by letters and rows by numbers. So if you look at row 1, column A we have cell A1.

Following this logic, we will place a "total" in cell E10.

1 Tom Jones 555 Lochmere Dr. Cary, NC 27511 919-467-7777 45
2 Annie Dog 555Yadkin Dr. Raleigh, NC 27609 919-782-5555 20
3 Alex Boy 1212 Carriage Dr. Raleigh, NC 27612 919-781-1111 45
4 Jordie Haywood 1111 Big Woods Chapel Hill, NC 919-541-1111 45
5 Everette Johns Apex, NC 919-555-5555 25
10 180

If you add information to your table later on, you will have to go back to the formula menu, accept the formula and click OK. Word will resum the numbers for you. Notice in the above example, we added person number 5.

What else can go in cells?

Other types of information that can go in cells includes:

For more information on tables, Word has an excellent on-line help section on Tables. In fact, it is a good idea to take a look at on-line help when you have a question. You can set it up so that you can see both the help and your document at the same time.

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