Default settings for tables in Microsoft Word are not as useful as they could be.  Here are my three top tips for taming tables in Microsoft Word.

  1. Allow Row to Break Across Pages
  2. Repeat as Header Row
  3. Auto-fit to Window

Transcription for: Taming Your Tables in Microsoft Word – Part 2: My 3 Top Tips

Hi, Lynette from Kits and Bits here.

Today we’re going to look at three top tips to tame your tables in Microsoft Word.

I believe that Word’s default table setting are not as good as they could be, so here are the three things that I do to any table in Word before I use it

I’ve got a document open or “here’s one I prepared earlier” as they say.

We’re going to start with a simple three by three table. You can see here I’ve got three columns and if I scroll down I’ve got three rows each with some dummy text in them.

As soon as we activate a table by clicking anywhere in it, you can see that the table tools design and layout tabs appear.

The Design tab focuses on coloring of the cells and borders and the layout tab focuses on settings of the table such as columns, rows, cells, size, margins, distribution etc

We’re going to focus on the layout tab in this session.

We’re going to change three settings.

We’re going to stop rows from breaking across pages, we’re going to add header rows and we’re going to make the table
fit to the page size.

Stop Rows breaking across pages

So why do rows breaking across pages matter?

We’re going to go to multiple page view so that you can see the whole document that once.

Here we have three columns and three rows with large amounts of text.

Because of the default settings Row 1 is breaking over the page, which means it can be a bit confusing to read especially if it’s printed you end up flicking back and forth between pages – so let’s fix that!

Select the whole table by using the double arrows on the top left-hand corner of the table.

From the table layout tab we’re going to go to table properties which we can get to by clicking on this little down arrow on the cell size group or we can go to properties under the table group and then we go to the row tab.

You can see here that [Allow row to break across pages] is ticked.we’re going to un-select that and say

Clear the check box and say [OK].

You can see here that it’s forced Row 1 onto a page all of it’s own, but don’t worry, we’re not finished yet.

Repeat Header Row

In the same example even with the rows not breaking over pages we have no idea what the columns on the following pages are.

So we’re going to set our header row, which is here to repeat across all pages that that table appears on.

So this time we select just the header row, by using the arrow off to the left-hand side of the row.

We go to the same properties, then row tab and this time we SELECT [Repeat as header row at the top of each page].

Say OK and that will force it onto the other pages.

Now, this doesn’t look particularly neat at the moment because it’s got set column widths and is not necessarily making the most of the page.

AutoFit to Window

When we inserted the table it automatically filled the width of the page, if we go to page layout and change the orientation of the page to landscape, you can see that the default column or table width is not making the most use of the page.

We’re going to change that!

Again we select the whole table using the double arrows at the top left-hand corner of the table and this time we go to the table layouts.

You can distribute the columns evenly which has been done automatically here using these settings. I like to allow Word to do it based on the amount of content.

The first thing I do is do Autofit contents, which will be set at to what’s in there, so if you’ve only got a header column with not much text in it it will squash that and then it will spread out to fit the rest but then I also do Autofit window which will maximize all of that space but you do need to do both of those settings because if you do Autofit Contents, it will do it based on what the current settings are.

If you do Autofit to window if we now change that page layout back to portrait it will still keep the same settings but it will actually fill the whole page this time so now we’re only using two pages rather than three.

You can also change the margins, currently set on normal too narrow it will fill the page again or we can do it to wide and it will set the columns to suit.

That’s all for this video I hope you got something out of it.

I’ll be doing follow-up videos on some more table settings as well as how to save your table settings as quick parts so that you can insert them quickly into a document.

Take a look at my other videos to learn more about taming your tables in Microsoft Word as well as other office products!

If you like this tip you might like others that I share on my Youtube Channel so you can go there and subscribe or go to my website and sign up to my email newsletter.

Okay, thanks. Seeya.

End of Transcription
N.B. This transcription has been edited for better readability, however, the general structure is the same as the video.


Video Tutorial - How to change default settings of Tables In Microsoft Word

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Lynette embodies an intrinsic ability to save business owners money by delivering back the all-elusive “spare” time so they can use it to do what they love. She puts these principles into practice in her own business – Kits and Bits. Lynette is an avid genealogist and tango dancer.

Lynette Delane

Tech Translator, Kits and Bits

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