Word 2007 - Insert Tables -
Length: 05 Minutes 43 Seconds

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Hi, I'm Chris Grover, the author of Word 2007: The Missing Manual.

This screen cast introduces you to one of Word's handiest tools for organizing text and pictures on the page. The tool is Word's tables. You'll learn about the three ways you can insert a table into a Word document with extra emphasis on the tool for drawing a table.

You'll see how to push and pull table borders into shape and you'll pick up a few tips about moving around a table and entering text and graphics. Last, but not least, you'll see how easy it is to format a table with shading.

The first step to popping a table into your document is to go to the Insert tab and click on the Table button. From there you can choose one of three techniques to put a table into your documents. The quickest is to use the grid. As you drag your mouse over the grid, you don't have to click; you see the table takes shape in your document. Notice up at the top how the numbers tell the exact dimensions of the table.

When you're happy with your layout, click on the grid and there it is, a table in your document. Now it's easy to modify your table once it's in your document so you don't have to get too hung up on making it perfect.

An equally precise but somewhat boring way to enter a table into your document is with a dialogue box. Start at the same place, on the Insert tab and then click the Table button. Go down and choose Insert Table and there you see the dialogue box. Now there are a number of options, they're all explained in the book. All you really need to do though is enter the number of columns and the number of rows you want in your table and then click the "Okay" button.

Now if you want a table that's an irregular shape or if you have an artistic nature you'll prefer to draw your table. It's easy, it's fun, and it's surprising how complex your table can be when you do it freeform.

You start off the same way. Go to the Insert tab and click on the Table button, go down to the third option which is Draw a Table. When you click on that your cursor turns into a pencil. Now to draw a box you do it like you would in any art program. You click someplace and then you draw it diagonally and you get one big cell in your document. You can create columns and you can create rows.

If you want to, you can even create a table that overlaps another table and start dividing that into columns and rows. There's a lot you can do with this freedom. You don't have to worry if you make a mistake because you always have that magic Control Z button which undoes the last thing that you did.

Once you have your table it's pretty easy to whip it into shape. For example, to move one of the column borders just hold your mouse over the line. Notice how the cursor changes with the two arrows. From there just click and drag the border where you want it. If you want to change the row height it works just the same way.

Now if you want to select an entire column move your cursor just above the table and you notice it changes into a different style of an arrow. One click and you've selected the column or you can click and drag to select more than one column. Works the same way with rows, just start your mouse to the left of the table, click to select, click and drag to select more than one row.

While you're working in a table right click to bring up a context menu. In there you'll find all sorts of commands related to your table such as Insert, Rows and Columns, Delete Rows, Merge Cells, Distribute Evenly, even commands for borders and shading and text direction.

You probably noticed that when your cursor is in the table there are extra tabs up on the right side of the ribbon. At the very top you see the words Table Tools and underneath you see the Design tab and the Layout tab.

You use the Design tab to change the colors and borders of your table. You use the Layout tab to change the structure and the dimensions of your table. Going back to the Design tab you won't believe how quickly you can spruce up your table using Words Table Styles.

Click on the Design tab, open the Table Styles button and then choose one of the styles from the table. Voila, you have a drastically changed table. Of course you can always fine tune the table any way that you want. The Table Styles options give you a quick way to make some popular changes. Just check the features you'd like to see in your table.

Well, I'm afraid that just scratches the surface when it comes to what you can do with Word's tables but you'll find plenty of other details and tips on how to use Tables in Word 2007: The Missing Manual, hope you'll take a look.