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Tables are often seen in school reports and business papers. They benefit readers by making it easy to look up information. At their best, tables present data in a concise and orderly way. Of course, concise and orderly doesn't have to mean boring. You can use Word's Table Styles to quickly jazz things up. But which table style to use? There are so many to choose from.When you apply a Table Style to your table, you’re adding color, typography, and other attributes that not only make your table look good, but ideally, these attributes will also reinforce your table's message. And if you think about it this way, you can be guided by logic and purpose when choosing a Table Style.
Rows and columns
The first decision you’ll make is pretty generic. How many rows and columns do you need? Once you know that, click where you want to insert the table. Then on the Insert tab, in the Tables group, click Table, and then drag to select the number of rows and columns.You can always add rows or columns later if you don’t get it right the first time.
Once you have a table and your cursor is positioned in the table, you’ll see the Table Tools contextual tab displayed in the ribbon along with the Design and Layout tabs. Click the Design tab to see the Table Styles gallery along with the Table Style Options.
Before clicking in the Table Styles gallery, it’s best to first choose your Table Styles Options. Choosing your options first will limit the range of what is displayed in the gallery to only the table types you need.
Do you need a Header Row or a First Column?
If you choose to have a Header Row or a First Column, the formatting of the top row of cells or the first column of cells will include highlighting effects such as bold, italics, color, etc. This will clearly separate the category labels from the body of the table – that is, the part of the table with all the data.
Do you need a Total Row or a Last Column?
You can add a row that summarizes the information in your table by clicking on Total Row. If your information is laid out across columns, you may want to add a Last Column to put a total or summary there.
Would you like Banded Rows or Banded Columns?
Banded Rows help improve the readability of large tables by automatically apply shading to every other row in the table. The Banded Rows check box is selected by default. If you want to apply shading to alternate columns instead of alternate rows, you can clear this check box and select Banded Columns instead.
See a live preview of your table
You’ve defined the Table Style Options. Now when you open the Table Styles gallery and move your mouse over the table styles, you’ll see a live preview of your table just as you’ve defined it. The other formatting options such as the available colors and fonts are defined by the Theme you selected for your document.
It may also be helpful to notice that the Table Styles are arranged in columns by color. Knowing this, you can focus your attention on a color group that coordinates well with the other colors already in your document.When you find the style you like, just click it.
Choosing Table Styles is a good choice
Choosing a table style from the Table Styles gallery instead of directly formatting borders, shading, alignment, fonts, and so on is a good choice. If you change your mind and decide to choose a different Table Style, or if you decide to change your document’s Theme, the content of your table will automatically updated.
-- Ron Owens
Thanks for the post, Ron! Nice overview of Word's table styles. You're right. Just because we're using tables doesn't mean they have to look boring. Word really saves me time, so I don't have to format each row manually, especially when it comes to alternating the shading of rows.
Agreed with Allyson. Sometimes style can be something of substance.
Yes, styles can be something of substance. Nicely put. The design of a document can influence how information is interpreted and whether or not the document even gets read.
Very nice post, thanks for sharing.
This really helped me to get my stuff moved from OpenOffice to MS Office 2010. I've been using tables quite heavily in my documents as a means to list delivered products, hour justifications ('what did I do in the time I was hired') and so on...
I already found the tables option but this pointed me to quite a few extras which I can really put to good use!
Very nice post!
ShelLuser, very happy to hear you found the post useful.
I do not write in English, so I apologize if it seems rude but I had to use machine translation to communicate with you. I'm trying to make a table style that fulfills a requirement of a very important rule in Brazil (ABNT) and this standard requires that: 1 has top and bottom in thick lines, and a thinner line below the top. (This I did create this style of agreement, that great until later on for reasons I can not see that applying header). 2 When a table exceeds one page, the place where the breach has continued and the table can not be any horizontal line. (I do the fix manually and created a quick table to preserve this property of not having that line the colon, break and continue). I read many articles of the Office, I log into microsoft answers (CelsoMarin), this Blog, read the Help Office, but can not by such properties in a Table Style that I know would be better. I am very glad that I have created a model to do almost anything you HAVE to ABNT, only this detail escaped me until I hope to share this model, I read several articles ex.: Numbers, colors, margins, broken sections, I just read as a numbered equations, everything is going well just this detail table, I did not understand why I created the table as Table Quick preserve this property and table styles do not have to put, or do not know how. And so I was curious to see that the table created as Table Quick kept this property I would be very grateful if you could read my comment and very glad if you can help me. Apologies for not writing in proper English, I'm still in the 3rd month of school. Thanks!
I designed my own for my company that works with our branding and works in a template I designed. None of these would be something I would approve using. Many of the "canned" colors in the themes do not look very good printed in reports to post online or high end printing. Better but not great.