In this video, learn how to select existing rows of text that use tabs and returns to maintain alignment, and convert that text to a table that you will then format using table options to improve its appearance.
- [Instructor] A great way to organize content on your page in a word document is to put it into a table. The table can be invisible, hiding all of the borders and the cells so that all you see are the contents, whether it be text, images, et cetera, lined up nicely on your page. Well, what happens when you already have that content, say text, like we see here in this file, and we want to put it into a table? It can be a tedious task, copying and pasting. There's a better option, it's converting text to a table and that's what we're going to do in this week's Word Tip.
We're going to work with this file, LH invoice013, go ahead and open it up if you have the exercise files. Take a look at what we have, up here in the top in the header section, we see the Landon Hotel logo, but when we move down into the title, the slogan, the word invoice over here on the right, you'll notice a little icon appearing in the top left corner that's the table icon, that's where we go to select an entire table. That tells me I'm in a table here. When I move down a little bit further it disappears. So parts of this document using an invisible table, other parts not.
You can also tell from the ruler. If you're not seeing the ruler across the top and down left side of your screen, just go up to the View tab, give it a click and make sure it's checked off here, Ruler. I like using the ruler at all times. You always get some hints, for example, just click anywhere up here in the address for the Landon Hotel. You're going to see the little markers indicating where the columns or table columns in this case, start and end. And we can make adjustments from the ruler if we wanted to, but everything looks good.
When we go down to the description, hours, rate, amount, where we see the actual invoice items and click there. Notice they disappear, that tells me I'm not in a table. But I do see on the ruler these tab stops, you can see them and because they're shaped like Ls I know they're left align tab stops, and as we look down below, everything in those supposed columns appear aligned on the left. That's something to keep in mind as we go to convert this content to a table. Well, the first step is to select everything, starting to the left of description, we'll click and drag across and down to the last zero here in the grand total.
That's exactly what we want to convert to a table. To do that, we go through the process of starting to insert a table by clicking the Insert tab. Next, we'll click the Table dropdown. We can't select columns and rows from here because we have text already selected. What we can do, though, is go a little further down and we'll go to the third option which is to convert this text to a table. Give it a click. Opens up this little dialog on your screen where you can now do things like choose your table size, how things are going to fit.
But we're going to start down here indicating how our text is separated. We already saw on the ruler, these tab stops. So that means, everything that's lined up here on the page is being separated by tabs, that's what we're going to select. Look what happens when we select tabs. Automatically it knows the number of columns is four. The number of rows, you can see, is not adjustable, set at six and down below we can use a fixed column width. With Auto selected it's automatically going to set our column widths.
We could also set it to automatically fit the content. So, wider options like we see here in the description column will get a wider column, automatically fitting it, or we can automatically fit to the window. All that means is if we're working with a document that might be displayed for example on a webpage, it's automatically going to stretch to fit the window. So I think we have everything we need, we'll leave it at fixed column width. These are things that can be adjusted after. So when we click OK, look what happens.
Everything appears in a table. It's a very plain looking table. You can see the formatting here with the Design tab now selected under Table Tools, just using that plain old formatting. Let's just click off to the edge to see what that looks like. Not bad for a start, but everything's lined up now in rows and columns and that means we can start doing a little formatting. Let's go inside again now. When we see that little table icon appear at the top left corner, we can click to select the entire table.
We can do some things like go to the Design tab again and choose from some table styles. Click the dropdown to see some colored options for example. Kind of like this one, using the Landon colors, banded rows, you can see a darker row at the top, that's great for headings, we'll click it a click. All right, we'll click off to the edge to really see what that looks like, looking better. The next thing we might want to do is adjust the row height. Look at the first row. Everything's crammed in there pretty good.
Let's just click inside, anywhere in the first row. I'm going in the description field here. And next, you can see with Design selected, a lot of different design options, including borders and so on, but it's Layout that we want. Go to Layout and instead we're going to adjust what we would call the row height, currently set at .14 and we can use these little arrows to bump it up to .2, .3, I'm thinking .4 for the the top row, looks pretty good.
You'll also notice now that the text is lined up on the left inside each cell and at the top. We can change that, I like it on the left, I like it centered though, vertically. So we'll go into the alignment group here, and just center it, on the left, but vertically centered. There we go. Now that's just that one field. We should get the whole row, so you can click inside description, click and drag across to get all of those and make the same option, there we go, click.
Left aligned, centered vertically, just like that. Let's click off to the edge again to see what we have so far, it looks pretty good. Now, the row heights for everything else down below can be adjusted as well, let's just go into this blank row click and drag across and down to select the rest of the table and in this case we'll just bump it up and you could type in actual values here if you wanted to, like .25. If I hit the up arrow I go by .1 and I want .25, so you can just click in there and type in .25, press enter to lock it in, that looks better.
Click off to the right, to deselect to see what things look like. Again, you can see the contents lined up at the top vertically, so we might want to go in here, select everything again, you can select the entire table if you wanted to, if everything's going to be left aligned, centered vertically like so. Looks pretty good. All we need now are some extra rows, we might be adding some items, so we'll just click in the empty row here above the grand total, and let's start inserting some rows.
Notice with the Layout tab still selected we can insert below, we can also insert above if we wanted to, but it really doesn't matter, we're on a blank row, so insert below. With each click, we get a new row just like that. And notice the formatting, it stays banded. Now we can click off to the edge to deselect everything, that looks pretty good. Way better than when we started. So we scroll down, we still see content below in the footer area, our table nicely formatted.
It was originally text but thanks to a feature here in Microsoft Word, we can convert text to a table. Of course we can also do the opposite. If you want to go back, just go to your table, select it, and if you want to convert it back to text, you'll notice with the Layout tab still selected, in the data group, we can convert to text. When you click that, you get to choose how it's going to be separated, with tabs, commas, or something else. Let's use tabs and click OK. Now you can see what it looks like, kind of where we started.
I prefer the table, Control + Z on your keyboard or click the undo button to go back to working with a table. Click off to the right to deselect, and there's a nice looking finished product.
Skill Level Intermediate
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