Create and format tables

Convert text to a table

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When you want to improve the look and organization of paragraphs and lists, convert them to visually appealing tables.

Prepare the text

Before you convert a list or text to a table, make sure that your data is formatted correctly. Here are a few tips:

  • Select Home > Show/Hide to show the tabs and paragraph marks in your document.

    The Show/Hide icon is highlighted on the Home tab.

  • Insert separator characters, such as commas or tabs, to show where to divide the text into table columns. If there are commas in your text, use tabs.

  • Use paragraph marks to indicate where you want to begin a new table row.

In this example, two tabs are inserted in the text to create a three-column table and one paragraph mark is inserted to create a second row.

Text to convert to table

Create the table

  1. Select the text that you want to convert to a table.

  2. Select Insert > Table and then select Convert Text to Table.

    The Convert Text to Table option is highlighted on the Insert tab.

  3. Set the column width:

    • To set a custom width for all columns, select Fixed column width and select a number from the list.

    • To resize the columns to fit the text, select AutoFit to contents.

    • To resize the table to fit the width of the available space, select AutoFit to window.

      The Convert Text to Table dialog box is shown.

  4. For Separate text at, select the separator character that you used in the text.

  5. Select OK.

Here’s the example text after it’s been converted to a table.


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Convert text to a table or a table to text

Convert text to a table or a table to text in Word 2016 for Mac

Creating a table here in Word 2016 and filling it up is really a simple process, but what if you already have the content?

When we click anywhere in this content, we can see from the ruler that left-aligned tab stops are being used to separate the data, and it's the same for every single line.

That's important.

Now, we could use commas or spaces, even something like dashes if you wanted to.

So long as it's consistent, you can convert this text into a table, and that's what we're going to do right now.

We're going to start by selecting the content we want in the table.

So let's go into the left margin next to the very first word, Location, and click and drag straight down to include every line.

Next, we're going to go up as though we're going to insert a table.

Click the Insert tab.

Click the Table drop-down, and you'll notice that new option appears available to us because we've selected content, and that is Convert Text to Table.

Give it a click.

It's going to open up a dialogue box where we get to choose things.

Notice a lot of this is being created for us, like the Number of columns.

It recognizes four separate columns, so four appears there.

The number of rows can't be adjusted, but it's picking up on 10 rows.

Now, what do we want to happen with the columns?

Fixed column width, so four equal columns?

Or do we want to automatically fit content?

If we have columns with wider entries, they'll get wider columns.

I like that. Autofit to content.

If you really wanted things to automatically fit and at the same time fill the entire width of your page from margin to margin, you could go to Autofit to window.

I'm going to go with that.

Now, notice down below, Separate text at, Tabs should be selected.

That's what's being used in this selected content.

But it could be Paragraphs or hard returns, it could be Commas, or anything else.

When you choose Other, you can simply type in the character that's being used to separate your content.

We're definitely using tab, so we want that selected before we click OK.

All of a sudden, we have a table with our content inside.

Just click anywhere to deselect it, and you get a good look at it.

Not only is the table created and the content in there, but now we have access to all of the design options to make it look cool.

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