Microsoft Word MO-100 – Create tables

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  • January 27, 2023
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1. Introduction to Tables

In the section of the course dealing with tab settings, you learned how to set tabs to create defined points, to align data consistently. In the section on columns, you learned how to create and manage multiple columns again to manage the consistency of the information in your documents. However, in my opinion, the best and most efficient way to manage and arrange columns of text and numbers in Word is to use tables. You can also use this feature to create many types of forms by adding borders and shadings. Tables are similar to spreadsheet programs such as Microsoft Excel as they make use of cells, rows and columns to range text and graphics. You can insert spreadsheets from Excel into your Word document and then make changes to column widths or borders. Similarly, you can insert tables created in Word into an Excel worksheet. Excel treats the data like any other spreadsheet data. As well as using tables to represent data, you can also use table to format your documentation.

As you can see from the Sample module Outline document, tables are available from the Insert tab and the Tables group. You can see that this pull down menu allows you to create a table in a number of ways, all of which we’re going to consider in this section of the course. However, to illustrate how these operate, I’m going to create a small table with three columns and three rows by highlighting the number of rows and columns as I move the cursor across the grid. And I get a three by three table, and this is the result. So you can see that the table consists of rows and columns, and that at the intersection of a row and the column, we get a cell.

Each horizontal line in the table is called a row. Rows are numbered consecutively from the top downward, for example, one, two, three and four. So as I position the cursor at the left edge of each row, you can see that the cursor shape changes to a solid white arrow. And when I click on the mouse button, the roll is highlighted, indicating that it’s been selected. Each vertical line is called a colony. Columns are listed alphabetically from left to right, for example A-B-C and D. Once again, the cursor shape changes when I position it at the top of the column, this time to a dark arrow. And when I click on the cursor, the column is selected. The intersection of a row in a column is called a cell. The cell uses a column letter and the role number as its identification. For example, cell C three is located in the third column and three rolls down. I can click into any cell and you can see the insertion point blinking at that position. The complete table can be selected by positioning the cursor at the top left edge of the table. You can see that a small square appears and when I click on it.

The complete table has been highlighted and selected. The default when you create a table is for borders to be placed around all of the cells. You can remove the borders, however, and you’ll still have defining lines called grid lines visible on the screen which will allow you to manage the format and structure of the table. These grid lines don’t print out, whereas the borders do print out. So if I select the complete table, I can now go to the home tab and select no Borders from the borders pull down menu like so. You can see that there are still lines indicating where the rows and columns are, but they won’t print out on paper. However, they still allow you to manipulate the structure of the table. The grid of borders can be used as your guide to determine how wide the columns are, how high the rows are or how text the objects appear in the table.

So for example, I can place the cursor on one of the column lines and drag it to the right to decrease the width of the column. And I can do the same with the rows. You can enter text numbers or graphics into a cell. You can also create a table before or after you type the text. So you can convert a piece of text into a table and vice versa. Whenever you’re in the table, the table tool ribbon is activated here. This allows you to change the properties of the table, change its design and layout, merit cells and more. We’ll use this repeatedly during this section of the course. You can move a table to any position in the document by dragging the table selector symbol on the upper lefthand corner which appears in your point of cursor in or near the table. And that’s just a brief introduction to tables in Microsoft Word. In the next few lectures, we’re going to examine the use of tables in detail.

2. 3.1.1 and 3.1.2 Convert text to tables and tables to text

So, having introduced what tables are in the first section, in this section of the course, we’re now going to learn how to create tables from text and how to convert a table back to text. So let’s start by converting text to a table. I’ve opened a text file on the screen and you can see that the individual pieces of information in the file are separated by commas. This type of file is called a commas separate values file or CSV file. You can see that the information is in relation to aircraft types, date of purchase, and manufacturer. I want this information to be automatically converted so that it’s in a Word table. To do this, I first select the information and now I go to the Insert tab and the tables pull down. Now I select the convert text to table option. When I do so, I get the convert text to table dialog box. Now I have to specify the number of columns I want.

Well, because the information is divided into three categories, I need to specify three columns. Notice that Word has automatically inserted five as the number of rows required. It did this on the basis of the return character, which is invisible but is at the end of each line of text in the file. When I click on the shell hide indicator on the Home tab, you can see where the return characters are. I’ll hide them again. Now, I can allow Word to automatically determine the column width, or I can specify a specific width. I leave this as auto. Then I have to specify what character separates the information. Well, this of course is a comma because we have a CSV file.

Word has detected this and I’ll leave it at the default. Now, when I press OK, you can see that we have a table crater with three columns and five rows. The other way to achieve the same result is to select the text and then on the Insert tab and the tables pull down, select Insert Table. You can convert texts separated by tab, characters, commas, or paragraph marks into a table. Word uses these characters to place the text into individual table cells. So I’ll open a Word version of the file separated by tabs and you can see how it looks. Now, when I convert text to table, word detects that the information is separated by tabs and chooses all the defaults correctly.

When I press OK, the information is converted into a table. You can convert any piece of text into a table, but the results may not be what you want or expect. So, looking at this paragraph on the history of Ryanair, there are three sentences in it, each of which end with a full stop or period character. I select the paragraph and now go to the Insert tab and the table pull down. I select the Convert text, the table option, and now I specify the period character as the separator and I change the number of clients to three when I press OK, these are the results. The reason it looks a bit odd is because there are a bunch of other full stops in the paragraph. For example at the P and A in two places and so on. So sometimes the conversion may not go exactly as planned. Nonetheless, it is possible to convert any text into a table and you now know the mechanics of doing so. Now, looking at the reverse of the process we just reviewed, you can convert a table back to text which specified separated between the columns of text. This is helpful when you want to convert a table created a word that will then be used in another program such as a spreadsheet or database program. Let’s look at the new table we just created and converted back to text. First I have to click anywhere in the table and when I do so, notice that the tabletooth ribbon has been activated under the layout tab.

And in the data group I’d click Convert the text which opens the convert table to text dialog box. Now I’m asked to specify how I want to separate the columns of text. I can choose between paragraph, tabs, commas or other. In each case the selected mark will be placed between each column of text. I select tab and click OK. The table is now converted to text and if I unhide the hidden characters, you can see where the tab characters have been inserted. I’ll undo that action and now repeat the process using commas as a selected characters. And here’s the result. So converting text to tables and vice versa is not a complex process once you understand that the selection of the separator character is very important to the outcome of the conversion. In the next lecture we’re going to look at creating a table from scratch.

3. 3.1.3 Create tables by specifying rows and columns

You can create a table from scratch by going to the Insert tab and clicking on the table pull down menu. There are two methods which can be used to create tables with evenly sized rows and columns. The boxes allow you to drag the cursor across number of rows and columns you want in the table. So for example, if I want the three by three table, I select three rolls down and three across. The selected boxes are highlighted as I scroll across while holding down the mouse button. As I do so, you can see that the table is being drawn automatically and that the number of rolls and columns are displayed in the heading. The limitation of this method is that you’re restricted to a maximum table size of ten columns by eight rows. However, note that when I click the cursor in the last cell of the table and press the tab key Word automatically creates a new row in the table.

This will happen regardless of how many rows I put into the table. So for example, in my three by three table I can click in the last Cell Hit tab and now I have a three by four table. The Insert Table command invokes a dialog box which allows you to specify the number of rows and columns you want in the table by clicking the number required into each of these boxes, this will determine the size of the table. This dialog will allow you to specify a larger table and would be available by using the Drag and the Draw option. This option creates the table with evenly sized columns and rows. The AutoFit Behavior Group allows you to specify how you want the columns behave when you start entering text. If I select the AutoFit the contents you have, each coin accommodate the text as you enter it. Of course, in this case the columns will not necessarily remain evenly sized because it’s unlikely that the text will be equally sized. This is probably not an option that you go on to use very often.

When I generate the three by three table with this option selected, you can see that the table column width is very narrow. As I type information into a cell, the width of the column automatically changes to fit the contents of the text. If you want to make sure that each column remains the same size, which is the most usual option, then select the Fixed Volume Width option. You can specify a measurement for the column width or leave it set to Auto, which results in evenly sized columns that will stretch from the left margin to the right margin. So I can click on these markers to specify an exact measurement rather than the width generated automatically. So if I set my column width to one 6 create the table, this is how it looks if I specify the Auto option, this is the difference. If you want all new tables to have the same dimensions as the one you just create, then you should select the Remember dimensions for new table checkbox. This will then be the default for all new tables. You can just call in with the row heights after creating the table. However, once you create your table layout, Word places the insertion point in the first cell of the table so that you can begin entering text.

Now I can enter the information I want, and the format and dimensions of the table will ensure consistency. You can move it in the table by using one of the following methods press Enter to add more lines of text within the same cell. This, however, will increase the row height. Use the arrow keys to move through the text in the cell. Use tab to move forward to the next cell. Use Shift and Tap to move backwards to the previous cell. If you need to insert a tab or indent within a cell, use the combination of Control and Tab. As I explained previously, if you need additional role center text in the last cell of the column, press Tab. Once text has been entered into the table, you can format it in a manner similar to that of regular text. You must select the text before making any changes. Note that, as with regular text, if you change the font size, the height of the row will change with the size text and other objects such as pictures or drawings can be inserted into a table.

However, when you want to change the text or the object, you must select it first. There are some fast methods for selecting items. To select an entire column, move the corset to the top of the column until you see this down out of shape, then click to select the entire column. To select an entire row, move the corset to the left margin and click to select the entire row. To select multiple kinds of rows, click and drag across the kinds of rows that you want to select one cell, move the cursor to the lower left corner of that cell until you see this angle arrow shape, then click to select the entire cell. To select multiple adjacent cells, click and drag across those cells. To select multiple nonajacent cells, select the first cell, and then press CTRL as you click each subsequent cell to select to select the entire table, click the foreheaded arrow symbol at the top left hand corner of the table.

This symbol appears whenever the mouse cursor is pointing anywhere in the table. You can choose individual elements of a table by going to the Table Tools ribbon and on the select tab in the Table group, click select in order to choose the required option. There may be a case where I want to draw my own table. To do this, I select the draw table option under tables menu. This changes my course pencil shape, and I can draw lines vertically and horizontally to make roles and kinds of my table. As you can see, I can change the size of the table and add in rolls and climbs wherever I want simply by drawing a line in the appropriate place. I can also adjust the table that I’ve inserted using either of the other methods by drawing additional rows and columns in the same manner. As you can see, when I select my three by three table, I add in an extra row into the last cell.

One other thing to note is that the depth of each cell in the table will be determined by the paragraph settings for the document. So this table follows the default settings for Office, which is 115 lines with zero points before and six points after. I can select my entire table and change these setting settings if I wish. So I changed the paragraph settings to single line spacing with zero points before and zero points after, and you can see how the roles on my table become narrower. However, note that the table line settled using the standard method changes, but that the table I drew maintains the rolls and columns where I drew them. Bye.

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