Creating a Customised Table in Microsoft Word

Mar 2, 2023 | Word Hints and Tips

Often when tables are created in Word they are fairly standard with each row containing the same number of columns.  If you are looking to create something that is more bespoke then using the Draw Table option may be more effective than having to spend a lot of time fiddling around with adjusting a standard table layout.

How to Draw a Table

  1. From the Insert tab select Table
  2. Choose Draw Table
Draw Table image

3. Click and drag to draw the outline of the table you want to produce

4. Add additional horizontal and vertical lines by clicking and dragging inside the table border already produced.  These do not need to be too accurate as you can only draw horizontal, vertical and diagonal lines and these must connect with lines that have already been drawn.  If the pencil cursor disappears then choose insert, table, draw table again to reactivate it.  This option can also be found on the Layout tab

5. Continue this process until all line have been added

6. Add text to the table by clicking into the cell and typing.  You can toggle through each cell in turn by using the Tab key

How to amend a Drawn table

Once the main setup of the table has been produced it can be altered as required

  1. Click on the table already produced to activate the Table Design and Layout tabs on the ribbon.  These are only available when the table is selected
  2. Change the look of the existing borders by selecting the Table Design tab.  Choose a Border Style, Thickness and Pen Colour
Border styles image

3. Then either

a. select the part of the table to apply borders to, choose the Borders icon and where the borders are to apply to

Borders image

b. or reselect the Draw table option and click and drag to draw over existing lines.  They will now be produced in the new style selected.  This can also be used to add new lines to the table

4. Move existing borders by hovering over any border line until the cursor symbol shows a double ended arrow.  Then click and drag to the required position

5. Add extra rows or columns by clicking in the required row or column and selecting the Insert Above, Insert Below, Insert Left or Insert Right icons as appropriate from the Layout tab

insert rows and columns image

6. Erase any lines not required by selecting Eraser from the Layout tab then clicking and dragging over the line to be removed.  If only part of a line is removed it may still be visible as a feint or dotted line as a guide line.  This would not print out. To stop erasing click on the Eraser icon again or select the Draw Table icon to restart drawing lines

Eraser image

How to Tidy up a Drawn Table

There are many other features that can be used to tidy up the table once it has been produced.  Here are some of the most useful.  All of these options are on the Layout tab.

  1. Make columns the same width – Select the columns and choose Distribute Columns
  2. Make the rows the same height – Select the rows and choose Distribute Rows
Distribute rows and columns image

3. Merge cells – Select the cells to be merged and click on the Merge Cells icon

Merge cells image

4. Align the text in cells – Use the options available in the Alignment Section

Alignment image

Further Reading

If you’ve enjoyed reading about how to create a customised table in Microsoft Word, there are some other blogs below that you might find useful:

Want to learn more about Microsoft Word? Then email to discuss how I can help or have a look at the Microsoft Word Courses I run.