Using tabs to format information works well for simple blocks of information, but if a complex or more visually appealing layout is desired, Word's "Convert Text to Table" feature is available. By using Word's AutoFormat options, a tab-divided list can be easily converted to a professional-looking table.
Converting Text to a Table
It is often expedient to add data to a document by typing it in and separating individual pieces of data by commas or tabs. Word can read this as data and then create a table from it. The current data is separated by tabs.
NOTE: When you add data, make sure that you have an equivalent number of pieces of data, or columns, for each record.
Let's convert our "Northern State Parks" list to a table.
Step 1. To select the entire list, if necessary,
Press & Drag across the entire list, including the column headings
NOTE: Again, take care to not include the paragraph marks in your selection.
Step 2. To switch to the Insert command tab, on the Ribbon,
Click the Insert tab
Step 3. To begin converting the list to a table, in the Tables group,
Click Convert Text to Table...
Step 4. To make the table as wide as it needs to be to hold the contents,
Click the "AutoFit to contents" radio button
Step 5. To complete the conversion,
NOTE: When the Show/Hide Formatting Marks feature is activated, you will see a small graphic () throughout your table. This is the End of Cell marker. It is the formatting mark that indicates the end of a cell. When the Show/Hide Formatting Marks feature is turned off, those markers will disappear.
Formatting the Table
Let's add some formatting to the table by using the Table Tools Design tab. In this tab, Word has several pre-formatted table styles that can quickly give our table a professional look.
Before we can work with table styles we need to make sure that the table is selected.
Step 1. To begin selecting the table, in the upper-left corner of the table, if necessary,
Point to the table
Step 2. To select the table,
Step 3. To view the Table Tools Design tab, if necessary, on the Ribbon,
Click the Design tab
NOTE for MacOS Users: To view the Table Tools Design tab, Click the Table Design tab.
Step 4. To view more table styles, in the Table Styles group,
Step 5. To view various formatting options, in the Table Styles group,
Click different styles
NOTE: If the Styles Gallery is covering the table, it can be reduced by clicking on the bottom border and dragging up.
Step 6. To select a style,
Click any style
Step 7. Deselect the table.
Step 8. Save the file StateParks.docx.
Applying Alternative Text to a Table
When we put any type of graphic element into Word, it is important to include alternative text.
Step 1. To select the table,
Click the table, Click
NOTE: It is possible to add the Table Properties button to the Quick Access Toolbar.
Step 2. To open the Table Properties dialog box,
Right-Click the table, Click Table Properties...
Step 3. To move to the alt text options,
Click the Alt Text tab
Step 4. To add alternative text, in the Description area, type:
A table showing Northern Indiana State Parks including the year established and acres.
Step 5. To close the Table Properties dialog box,
Step 6. Deselect the table.