How to create a simple table in Word 16

A.C. Flory
Mar 13, 2018 · 5 min read

This is a short guide for those who are unfamiliar with tables in Word 16.

This is an example of a table:

An example of a table in Word 2016

As the example shows, a table is basically just a grid of ‘boxes’ [cells] that can be formatted in all sorts of interesting ways.

But what are tables for?

Well, you could use a table to display pictures:

Creating a colourful picture gallery with a Word table

Or you could hide the table borders to create a letterhead:

Example of a four-celled table with the borders hidden

Or you could keep the borders and create a simple invoice or quotation:

An example of a simple invoice using Word tables

Okay, so how do you make a table?

The easiest way to create a table in Word 16 is to select the number of cells needed for the ‘grid’.

To begin, open a new document and click the Insert tab on the Ribbon:

The Insert Tab on the Word Ribbon

Now click the Table option to display the ‘Insert Table’ menu [as shown above].

Next, point [but do not click!] the cursor at the grid until the desired number of cells are highlighted:

Selecting the grid

Only when the table contains the correct number of columns and rows should you click the cursor. This will lock the grid and cause it to display on the page. In the example shown above, the cursor is positioned above the cell that gives a 3 x 3 table.

The new, 3 x 3 table will look very basic:

A simple table of 3 columns and 3 rows

Click inside a cell to enter data into it. The data can include text, numbers, pictures or formulae.

To Insert a picture, click inside the cell where you want the picture to appear. Next, click Insert on the Ribbon and select either the ‘Picture’ or ‘Online Picture’ option:

The Picture options on the Insert tab

Select ‘Picture’ to insert a graphic saved to your own computer. Select ‘Online Picture’ to find a graphic on the internet.

Once a picture is inserted into the cell it may need to be resized and/or repositioned.

A graphic that is left aligned inside the cell

To resize the picture, click on it to display the ‘handles’ around the outside:

Picture ‘handles’ in Word

To keep the graphic in proportion, click-hold-and-drag one of the corner handles in to the centre to reduce the size of the graphic, or towards you to increase its size.

To centre the graphic inside a cell, click inside the cell but not on the graphic. This will select the whole cell.

Next, make sure Layout is selected on the Table Tools tab and look for the alignment options:

Location of the Alignment options on the Table Tools, Layout tab

Select the option that centres the object vertically and horizontally as shown in the screenshot above. The graphic should now be in the exact centre of the cell:

An example of an object centre aligned in the cell

To change the formatting of a single cell, point the cursor at the cell and when it changes to a small, black arrow, click. This will select the whole cell:

Selecting a single cell in a table

With the cell selected, click Table Tools/Design to see the Shading options:

Shading options on the Table Tools, Design tab

Or Border Styles:

Or, if you want to work with all the available Borders options in one place, click the Borders option as shown:

Working with all of the Borders options

Clicking on Borders displays a drop down menu of commonly used Borders options, but right at the bottom is an option that leads to a dialog box that contains all of the available Borders and Shading options.

Click Borders and Shading to display the dialog box:

The Borders and Shading dialog box

The three tabs inside the dialog box allow you to select the style, colour and width of both a simple border and a page border. You can also select the fill or shading applied to the inside of the cell.

To apply formatting options to the entire table, you have to select the entire table first. The easiest way to select the whole table is to click inside [anywhere] and then click the small icon displayed just outside the table:

Selecting the entire table

Once the table has been selected, any formatting will be applied to the whole table.

To delete a table, select it as shown above and then click Layout from the Table Tools tab. The delete table option can be found on the ‘Delete’ menu:

The Delete options on the Table Tools, Layout tab

For a step-by-step guide on how to add formulae to a table, please see this post.



Tikh Tokh

acflory writes how-to guides for absolute beginners and science fiction for everyone else.

A.C. Flory

Written by

Science fiction writer, gamer [mmo's], fan of Two Steps From Hell [and opera], foodie and animal lover.

Tikh Tokh

Tikh Tokh

acflory writes how-to guides for absolute beginners and science fiction for everyone else.

Welcome to a place where words matter. On Medium, smart voices and original ideas take center stage - with no ads in sight. Watch
Follow all the topics you care about, and we’ll deliver the best stories for you to your homepage and inbox. Explore
Get unlimited access to the best stories on Medium — and support writers while you’re at it. Just $5/month. Upgrade