How to Create Tidy Tables in Word

Tables are great for presenting information in a scannable way. But things can go wrong fast when you’re trying to format a table manually, especially one with dozens of rows spanning multiple pages. Applying these three formatting techniques can save you a lot of grief:

Auto-fit rows and columns
To automatically make a group of columns or rows all the same width or height:

  1. Select the columns or rows you want to make the same size.
  2. Click Table from the top menu bar.
  3. Select AutoFit and Distribute, then click Distribute Columns Evenly or Distribute Rows Evenly. Your cells will automatically shrink or expand as needed.

Keep rows intact
If you have a row at the bottom of a page and want all of its content to stay together rather than split
across pages:

  1. Click anywhere in the row you want to keep together.
  2. Click Table from the top menu bar, followed by Table Properties.
  3. Open the Row tab. Under the Options heading, make sure the Allow row to break across pages checkbox is empty.

Set headers to repeat
A repeating header row reminds readers what each column contains, no matter what page they’re on. You can repeat your headers automatically by following these steps:

  1. Click anywhere inside your header row.
  2. Click Table from the top menu bar, followed by Table Properties.
  3. Open the Row tab. Under the Options heading, check the Repeat as header row at the top of each page box.

NOTE: These instructions are for the Mac version of Microsoft Word. In some versions of Word for Windows, the table formatting options are found in different places.