Manage Text in a Table: MS Word

Dennis Faas's picture

Even though most of you know how to format text in a Word document, MS Word allows you to handle text in tables in two neat ways.

First, within the cell of a table, you can specify not only whether you want text left aligned, centered, right aligned, or justified. You can also have text centered vertically within the cell or rest on the bottom edge of the cell. You can even rotate the text in a cell to vertical, like a title on the spine of a book!

You will want to use the alignment feature often with your tables. For example, when the content of one cell is short and the adjacent cell is long, you may want to center the short text so that it looks better in the large expanse. Also, when you have a row of headings, you usually align them at the bottom of the cell, so that multi-line headings start above the shorter headings.

Rotated text, on the other hand, is especially useful when you have a column heading that is much wider than the data in the column. When you rotate the heading, the column requires much less space.

To align text within cells:

Select the cells, and then use any of the methods shown below:

  • Choose Table | Table Properties and click the Cell tab to see the dialog box. Click to choose the alignment you prefer.
  • Right-click and choose Cell Alignment from the shortcut menu.
  • Click the arrow on the Cell Alignment button on the Tables and Borders toolbar to display the menu.
  • The alignment of the content of the cell remains constant, even if you add or delete text.

To rotate text in a table:

Select the cells and then use either of the following methods:

  • Right-click and choose Text Direction from the shortcut menu. This reveals the dialog box.
  • Click the Change Text Direction button on the Tables and Borders toolbar. Click this button several times to cycle through all the choices.

The text changes direction, allowing you to use more narrow column widths. You must use Print Layout view or Print Preview to see the text rotated.

(c) Carol Bratt, all rights reserved. Used with permission. Duplication is forbidden without express consent of author. Visit Carol's web site to learn more tips like this one!

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