Word Skills part 3: Tables

Two more sections to go! The first one is pretty easy (you’ve done it before!)

First, position your cursor wherever you want your table to go

Make sure you’re on the Insert tab/menu, and click on the Table box. Your table should be 4 x 4

Type or copy and paste to put your headings in your table. You can do it two different ways:

Most common:

but if you want to be a little different, this works too:

Then just go fill it in. You don’t really need to ask 3 people. Feel free to just make up answers and put those in (I did!)

The table is a bit hard to read unless you make the headings stand out from the data. Highlight those headings

And then use the paint bucket to shade those boxes in

and center the text inside of the cells

That looks MUCH better:



This is another way of making a table that can be much more effective and useful. It also tends to look pretty good if you do it right. It is new and kind of difficult the first time, but I’ll show you exactly what to do.

Something that really helps when you’re working on this section is to turn on the button that shows you all of the characters in your document that are normally invisible, like spaces, every time you hit enter, and every time you hit tab.

Normally, when you’re typing out information for this type of table (as you will do in your next assignment… hint hint…), you would type an entry then press tab, type the next bit of information, then press tab again, and so on. I’ve inserted the tilde character ~ to show you where the tabs should go

So the first thing we need to do is get rid of those tildes and put the tabs in. Luckily, there’s an easy way to do it all at once.

Make sure you’re on the Home tab

Over on the right, you’ll look for the button that says Replace

You want to search for and replace all of the tildes, so that goes in the top box where it says Find what:

You want to Replace with: the tab character. If you just press the tab key in the box, it exits out of the box, so that doesn’t work. There are two ways to do this instead:

Down at the bottom of the box, you can click More >>


and look for Tab character


You can type in (or copy from here…) ^t

Your box will look like this:

Then you want to Replace All

If you have that Show/Hide button on, your paragraph will look like this: (the arrows represent the tab character

Without that button on, it looks like this:

Hopefully, you still have your Ruler showing, because you’re really going to need it

Right now, those tabs are stopping all over the place, so the paragraph is a big mess. but we can tell the Tab key to stop in specific spots to line things up properly.

Look at the very top of the ruler on the left-hand side of your page. You’ll see a little character that might look like an L (although it could be something else…)

that little L represents a Left tab stop. It will line things up on their left-hand side. The first step is to go and set 5 of these stops on the ruler. Yours DO NOT have to be in the exact same spot as mine, because we will end up moving them later anyway

The first one goes really close to the margin. Go and click on the top ruler somewhere between the margin and 1. 

the next one should go somewhere around 5

the third one put around 11 or so

I’ll put the third one around 18

The last one should go right near the right-hand side of the margin

Now we need to change some of those stops to line up in different ways. In order to do this, on the Home tab/menu, right below where you’d add borders or shading, in the Paragraph section, click the little box with a diagonal downward-facing arrow:

That opens this box:

Down in the bottom left corner, there’s a Tabs… button. Press it:

That will show you a list of the stops that are currently set and will allow you to move, change, or delete them

I have given you instructions explaining which types of stops I want. The first one is called Decimal. It’s good if you are working with numbers, because they will always be lined up along the decimal point

I have the first one set at .5 cm. (yours might be slightly different) Whatever your first one is, make sure it’s selected (click on it if not)

Down in the Alignment section, you can choose where that stop lines up. Click Decimal

Then move on to the second one and select it. Mine is at 5 cm

This one should be lined up on the left

My third one is at 11 cm. It should be Center aligned

My third one is at 17.75 cm. It should also be Center

My last one is at 24.75 and it needs to be Right aligned

NOTE: if your stops get really messed up or you end up with too many or something is wrong, you can always Clear a stop by choosing it and clicking Clear

If you need to start all over again, just click Clear All

Once you’ve set your stops like mine, things should actually look pretty good already. The table of information is now lined up and organized

I don’t really like how my last two columns are so close together

I’m going to go up to my ruler, find the second last one, and move it over to the left.

NOTE: you have to be very careful clicking right on the ruler. If you click right on the little symbol, it’ll work fine. If you click close to the symbol, it’ll add a new stop and will cause problems. Make sure you only have 5 at all times. If you add one by mistake, you can go back into the Tabs box and clear it OR just carefully pull it down off the ruler.

I started here:

And moved it here.

Now I have a decent amount of space between the last two columns

I find my second and third stops a little too close as well

So I’ll move that second one over to the left a tiny bit.



That looks much better to me

Now my list of stops looks like this (again, yours might be slightly different)

When I turn on that Show all characters button

The table now looks like this:

NOTE: Sometimes things won’t be lined up still. Occasionally when you’re typing in your information, you’ll accidentally get two Tabs inserted where there should only be one, and things will not line up properly

If that’s the case, you need to remove one of those Tabs to make things line up

The final step is to take the headings for the table and make them stand out from the data below so that it’s easier to read and understand.

Highlight the top row

and change the colour, make it bold, underline it, or somehow change the look so that it’s obviously different from the data below. I’ll make mine Bold (Ctrl + B) and Underline it (Ctrl + U)


Take a minute to scroll through your document and make sure that everything is done and everything looks good. Move things around or make changes if you need to.

Once you’re done, SAVE your work. CLOSE the file. Follow the steps to DROP OFF.

My finished document looks like this: wordskills

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