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Convert Text to Table – MS Word

Guest Author - Chris Curtis

Sometimes you realize that a section of the information in your document would be much better organized had you put it into a table. Don't dispare, Word has a feature that allows you to convert text to a table found on the Table menu.

Let try a practice set. Open a word document and type in the following list of names. Alternatively, you can copy and paste what is shown here into your Word document.

Django Reinhardt
Joe Craven
Brian Sutton
Alison Brown
Chris Thile
DaleAnn Bradley
Sam Bush
Stephane Gapelli
JonLuc Ponte
David Grier
Darol Anger
Mike Marshall

To make the conversion to a table, you need to make a couple of decisions. Do you want the names to reside in one cell or would it be beneficial to have the first name and last name in separate table cells. For practice purposes, let's separate the first and last names.

Select the list of names in your document
Click on Table | Convert | Text to Table

The Convert Text to Table dialog box will be displayed.


Typical of the MS Office program, the dialog box will guess at the number of columns needed based on the text selection. In this case all of the names have two words separated by a space, thus the dialog box suggests 2 columns and the number of rows is set based on the number of items in the list of names.


Your next choice in the dialog box is the Table Autofit behavior. You can set the column width using auto or some predefined sizing, fit it to the content, or fit it to the window. Choosing the auto will create a table with columns equally distributed across the page within the margins. Choosing fit it to the content will create columns of varying widths based on the length of the longest word in a column. Choosing Fit it to window will give you a similar result to the Auto choice in this example. Within the dialog box, you also have the option to select from a myriad of predefined Auto Formated styles for your table. Feel free to experiment on these options. Remember you can always use the undo key to return to your type written list.

Last choice is controlling how your data is broken up into columns and rows. You can choose for it to be separated by paragraphs, commas, tabs or other. In our example, Word suggests "Other" which is blank. In this case it is using a space to separate the columns. You can type in any other character that may define the best way to separate the data into columns.

Once all of your selections have been made in the dialog box, click on OK and your text will now be displayed into a table format. At this point, all table features are available to you as if you had created the table from scratch.

This feature is another powerful tool within Word for you to put into your bag of tricks.

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MS Word - Creating a Table out of Tabbed Text
Using Tabbed Text in MS Word
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Content copyright © 2014 by Chris Curtis. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Chris Curtis. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Laura Nunn for details.

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