Using Table Styles

Word's table styles feature makes it easier to reuse complex table formats after you've created them. Conceptually, table styles are similar to other Word styles: They allow you to store a set of formats and reapply them all at once. Table styles can incorporate

  • Borders and shading

  • Font, font size, font attributes, and font color

  • Alignment of text or images within each cell

  • Paragraph formatting, such as indents

  • Table properties, such as alignment of the entire table, text wrapping, and whether rows can break between pages

  • Whether stripes will appear in row or column bands

  • Tab settings within table cells

Word provides dozens of sets of built-in table styles through the Table AutoFormat dialog box. These are covered in the following section. You can also create your own table styles. This is covered later, in the section "Creating a New Table Style."

Using Table Styles to AutoFormat a Table

Formatting a table attractively can be a time-consuming task. Fortunately, Word can do it for you. You can automatically format your table by choosing from one of 45 prefabricated table styles available in Word.

To automatically format an existing table, place your insertion point anywhere inside the table and choose Table, Table AutoFormat. The Table AutoFormat dialog box appears, as shown in Figure 12.23.

Figure 12.23. Choosing a table style from the Table AutoFormat dialog box.


Choose the table style you want to use, and click Apply. Figure 12.24 shows a table AutoFormatted with the Table Web 1 table style.

Figure 12.24. A table AutoFormatted in Word's Table Web 1 style and displayed in Internet Explorer 6.



If you want to apply a table style instantly, there's a shortcut that uses Word's default settings (and doesn't give you control over which rows and columns of your table are reformatted). Select the table, click the Styles and Formatting button on the Standard toolbar, and choose the table style from the Pick Formatting to Apply scroll box.

To AutoFormat a new table, choose Table, Insert, Table; set the number of rows and columns (and optionally the column width); then click AutoFormat. Then, to choose a table style, select it from the Table Styles list box. The style's built-in settings are shown in the Preview box.

By default, Table AutoFormat applies borders, shading, and font color from the built-in table style. It does not override other settings you may have applied manually, such as your choice of font, or how you've chosen to align text within cells.

Word's built-in table styles often include special formatting for Heading Rows and for the First Column. These are turned on by default. Word assumes that you are actually putting something special in the top row and first column?such as headings. If you are not, clear these check boxes. Word will then format the corresponding cells as it formats other cells containing ordinary data.

Alternatively, you might want the last row or column to contain special formatting; perhaps you're showing a total there. Check Last Row or Last Column to place special formatting there. Again, the Preview box shows you what to expect. When you have your AutoFormat the way you want it, click OK. (If you don't like the results, click Undo.)

Creating a New Table Style

If none of Word's built-in table styles meets your needs, you can create your own or modify a table style Word provides. To do so, click inside a table and follow these steps:

  1. Choose Table, Table AutoFormat.

  2. If you want to create a new table style, click New. The New Style dialog box opens (see Figure 12.25). If you instead want to modify the settings associated with an existing table style, select it from the Table Styles list and choose Modify. Both the New Style and the Modify Style dialog boxes offer the same options, and they are both similar to the Style dialog boxes you learned about in Chapter 10, "Streamlining Your Formatting with Styles."

    Figure 12.25. Creating a new table style from the New Style dialog box.


  3. In the Name text box, enter the name of your new table style.

  4. If you want to base your table style on one that already exists, choose the style from the Style Based On drop-down box. The Preview box changes to reflect the style you've chosen to work from.

  5. Set the formats you want to include in your style, using the Apply Formatting To drop-down box and the associated formatting options. Again, the Preview box reflects the changes.

  6. If you want greater control over the formatting of your table style, click the Format button. Then choose the category of formatting you want to adjust: Table Properties, Borders and Shading, Stripes, Font, Paragraph, or Tabs. Clicking any of these options opens its corresponding dialog box; make changes there and click OK to return to the New Style or Modify Style dialog boxes.

  7. If you want to include the new table style in the template associated with your current document, check the Add to Template check box.

  8. When you're finished establishing settings for your new table style, click OK. The new style now appears selected in the Table AutoFormat dialog box. If you want to use it on the table you've already selected, click Apply. Otherwise, click Close.

    Part I: Word Basics: Get Productive Fast
    Part II: Building Slicker Documents Faster
    Part III: The Visual Word: Making Documents Look Great
    Part IV: Industrial-Strength Document Production Techniques
    Part VI: The Corporate Word