Try the Word Course for Free!

Format Tables in Word – Instructions

/ / Latest, Microsoft, Office 2013, Office 2016, Office 365, Word 2013, Word 2016
Format Tables in Word - Instructions: A picture of a user selecting table style options in Word.

Format Tables in Word: Overview

            You can format tables in Word to clarify the data and also enhance the appearance of the information. Word has many pre-created table formats you can apply to your tables. In addition to these table styles, you can also select individual elements of the table and then apply your own custom formatting, if desired.

            To format tables in Word by applying a table style, start by clicking into the table to format. Then click the “Design” tab in the “Table Tools” contextual tab in the Ribbon. The styles you can apply to the table appear in a list in the “Table Styles” button group. Use the arrow buttons to the right to scroll through the list. Then click a style to apply it to the table. You can also click the “More” button to fully expand the list.

            You can modify the styles in the “Table Styles” list by using the checkboxes in the “Table Style Options” button group. These checkboxes let you decide which elements of the table styles to apply or remove. For example, to apply a “Total Row” to your table, check that option in the “Table Style Options” button group.

Format Tables in Word - Instructions: A picture of a user selecting table style options in Word.

Format Tables in Word – Instructions: A picture of a user selecting table style options in Word.

            You can also make custom formatting modifications to a selected table element, like a selected cell, column, or row. To do this, select the table element to format.

            You can change the shading, or fill color, of the selected cells, by using the “Shading” drop-down button. This button appears to the right of the listing of table styles in the “Table Styles” button group. After clicking this button, then select a background color from the drop-down menu that appears.

            To show the borders you can apply or remove from selected cells, click the “Design” tab of the “Table Tools” contextual tab. Then click the “Borders” drop-down button in the “Borders” button group. In this button’s drop-down menu, any highlighted border buttons appear in the selected cells. Non-highlighted border buttons do not appear. Click any border button in the drop-down menu to toggle its visibility on or off.

            You can click the “Border Styles” drop-down button in the “Borders” button group to apply a preset style to the selected cell’s borders. To do this, first click the style to apply in the drop-down menu that appears. Then select the borders to which you want to apply the selected style. To do this, click the “Borders” drop-down button in the same button group. Then click the names of the border buttons to which to apply the newly selected style in the drop-down menu. To not apply borders after selecting a border style, click the “Border Painter” button to turn it off or press the “Esc” key on your keyboard.

Format Tables in Word: Instructions

  1. To format tables in Word by applying a table style, click into the table to format.
  2. Click the “Design” tab in the “Table Tools” contextual tab in the Ribbon.
  3. Then scroll through the list of styles in the “Table Styles” button group.
  4. Then click a style to apply it to the table.
  5. To modify the styles in the “Table Styles” list, use the checkboxes in the “Table Style Options” button group to select the table styles elements to apply or remove.
  6. To make custom formatting modifications to a selected table element, (cells, columns, or rows), first select the table element to format.
  7. If you want to change the shading (fill color) of the selection, click the “Shading” drop-down button in the “Table Styles” button group.
  8. Then select a background color from the drop-down menu.
  9. To apply or remove selected cell borders, click the “Borders” drop-down button to show the borders that can be applied or removed.
  10. In this button’s drop-down menu, any highlighted border buttons appear in the selected cells. Non-highlighted border buttons do not appear.
  11. Click any border button in the drop-down menu to toggle its visibility on or off.
  12. To apply a preset style to the selected cell’s borders, click the “Border Styles” drop-down button in the “Borders” button group.
  13. Select a style from the drop-down menu.
  14. Then select the borders to which you want to apply the selected style by clicking the “Borders” drop-down button in the same button group.
  15. Then click the names of the border buttons to which to apply the style.
  16. To not apply borders after selecting a border style, click the “Border Painter” button to turn it off or press the “Esc” key on your keyboard.

Format Tables in Word: Video Lesson

            The following video lesson, titled “Formatting Tables,” shows how to format tables in Word. This video lesson about how to format tables in Word is from our complete Word training, titled “Mastering Word Made Easy v.2016-2013.”

TOP