Organize Information in Columns and Tables in Microsoft Word 2010

  • 6/2/2010

Formatting Tables

Formatting a table to best convey its data can be a process of trial and error. With Word 2010, you can quickly get started by applying one of the table styles available in the Table Styles gallery on the Design contextual tab.


The table styles include a variety of borders, colors, and other attributes to give the table a professional look.

If you want to control the appearance of a table more precisely, you can use the commands on the Design and Layout tabs. You can also format the table content. As you saw in the previous exercise, you can apply character formatting to the text in tables just as you would to regular text, by clicking buttons on the Mini Toolbar. You can also click the buttons in the Font group on the Home tab. You can apply paragraph formatting, such as alignment and spacing, by clicking buttons in the Paragraph group on the Home tab. And you can apply both character and paragraph styles from the Quick Styles gallery.

In this exercise, you’ll first apply a table style to a table. Then you’ll format a table row and column. You’ll also apply character and paragraph formatting to various cells so that the table’s appearance helps the reader understand its data.

  1. Click anywhere in the table, and then on the Design tab, point to each thumbnail in the first row of the Table Styles gallery to see its live preview.

  2. In the Table Style Options group, clear the Banded Rows check box, and select the Total Row check box.

    The table style thumbnails no longer have banded rows, reflecting your changes.

  3. In the Table Styles group, click the More button.


    The Table Styles gallery appears.

  4. Preview all the styles in the gallery. When you finish exploring, click the second thumbnail in the fifth row (Medium Shading 2 – Accent 1).

    The style needs to be modified to suit the data, but it’s a good starting point.


    This table style applies formatting to the header and total rows, the first column, and the text of the table.

  5. Select all the cells in the last row by clicking in the selection area to its left. Then in the Table Styles group, click the Borders arrow, and click Borders and Shading.


    The Borders And Shading dialog box opens, displaying the borders applied to the selected cells.

  6. On the Borders page of the dialog box, scroll to the top of the Style list, and click the thick black border.

  7. In the Preview area, click the top border button once to remove the current border, and click again to apply the thick black border.

  8. Click the Shading tab, and click the Fill arrow. Under Theme Colors in the palette, click the fifth box in the top row (Blue, Accent 1). Then click OK.

  9. Without moving the selection, on the Home tab, in the Font group, click the Font Color arrow, and under Theme Colors in the palette, click the white box. Then press Home to release the selection.


    The table now has the same border at the top and bottom.


    You can customize a table style to meet your needs.

  10. Point to the left side of the Elastomeric Decks cell, and when the pointer changes to a black right-pointing arrow, drag downward to select all the cells in the Item column except the TOTAL cell.

  11. On the Design tab, in the Table Styles group, click the Shading arrow, and under Theme Colors, click the third box in the blue column (Blue, Accent 1, Lighter 40%).

  12. Select all the cells containing amounts in the Cost, $ column, including the cell with the total. Then on the Layout tab, in the Alignment group, click the Align Center Right button.


    Now you can judge how well the table displays its data.


    The total now stands out better, and the amounts are easier to read.