Formatting Tables

Learning Objectives

  • Apply table styles and formatting.

Once the table is created, you can make the table more interesting to look at and easier to read by applying formatting such as colors, spacing, and borders. Click somewhere in your table, and some new menu options will appear in the top menu, Design and Layout.

A Microsoft Word document is open with a table on it. The table has five different rows and two individual columns. A red rectangle surrounds the "Design" and "Layout" tabs on the ribbon menu.

There are many options in the Design menu. A table style will do a lot of formatting for you. Click on the Table Styles dropdown menu (circled in the screenshot above) and hover over each style to see a preview of it. Click on a style to apply it to the table.

A Microsoft Word document is open with a table on it. The table has five different rows and two individual columns. The option to change the table to an orange grid table has been selected.

You can add borders to individual cells, rows, or columns. Select the cells, then go to the Borders area of the menu in the top-right corner to customize the border settings. In the screenshot below:

  1. This changes the type of border. There are solid, dotted, and dashed borders to choose from.
  2. This changes the width or thickness of the border. The smaller the point, the thinner the line.
  3. This controls which side or sides of the cell the border appears on. From here, you could make only vertical borders appear, only outside borders appear, and so on.
A Microsoft Word document is open with a table on it. The table has five different rows and two individual columns. The option to change the table to an orange grid table has been selected. There are 3 orange numbers. The first one represents how to change the type of border. The second changes the width or thickness of the border. The third controls which side or sides of the cell the border appears on.
A Microsoft Word document is open with a table on it. The table has five different rows and two individual columns. The option to change the table to an orange grid table has been selected.

It’s a good idea to create a table in Microsoft Word and fiddle with the table design settings yourself. Remember, you can always hit Ctrl+Z (Command+Z on Mac) to undo a previous action.

Practice Question

Check Your Understanding

Answer the question(s) below to see how well you understand the topics covered in the previous section. This short quiz does not count toward your grade in the class, and you can retake it an unlimited number of times.

Use this quiz to check your understanding and decide whether to (1) study the previous section further or (2) move on to the next section.