Word tables for formatting magic
Use Word tables to do formatting tricks or make complex formats easily.
There’s more to Word tables than just showing grids of information like this:
Tables have all sorts of little tricks in them and let you do clever things in Word. Here’s a look at some of those tricks …
Using hidden tables
Tables don’t need to have gridlines and shading, they can be completely hidden with only the cell contents showing up. Why do that? To do formatting tricks that Word can’t normally handle.
In headers/footers you often want three items on one line, left, center and right. You can do that a few ways in Word but the easiest to do and control is a single row table like this:
Which looks like this when editing the document with table gridlines showing:
The table has three rows/cells and each one can be formatted independently of the others. For example the cells are justified differently, left, center and right. The cell width can be adjusted to make or prevent line wrapping of longer text.
Another example is an image with ‘side-by-side’ labels:
Which is a two column, three row hidden table like this:
Make a hidden table by removing all the borders and shading from the table. The fast way is from the Table | Design tab, choose a Plain Table style with all the options turned off.
Otherwise, select the entire table and choose Borders | No Border
If necessary, clear any cell colors from Shading | No Color:
Finally, show the table gridlines while editing the document from Table Tools | Layout | View Gridlines
The gridlines appear in Word but not in the printed or PDF output.
Office Watch has the latest news and tips about Microsoft Office. Delivered once a week.