Here at Essential Instructions we use Word for all sorts of projects. If you’ve been following our newsletters you’ll be used to our regular “Tips for Word” articles ranging from simple tips, to overcoming the most bizarre bugs that Word likes to throw at you. This month we have two quick tips to share with you for working with tables in Word.
The first tip concerns populating multiple, contiguous table cells with the same value. If you were to do this in Excel, this would simply be a matter of highlighting the cell to copy and then dragging its bottom right corner to populate the same value into other cells near by. In Word however, there is no such option when working with a table.
The solution is simple however. Simply copy the value you want to paste, then highlight all of the cells of the table which are to be populated, and hit Ctrl+V. Like magic, the value will appear in all of the highlighted cells.
This can be particularly useful when documenting lists of technical items such as method parameters, which often require the same information (e.g. data types) for each column in a series of rows.
Our second tip also concerns tables. Often times when working with an existing table, there is a need to add columns. However, this can often result in the last column going off the side of the page. Worse yet is the fact that resizing columns after the fact doesn’t fix this, and often the right border of the final column is so far off the page, it can’t be accessed to attempt a resize.
Again the solution is simple. Right‑click on the table and select “Table Properties”. Ensure the “Preferred Width” option is enabled and if it is, set it to a smaller size (about ½ the current width) and close the dialog. This will reduce the overall table size, after which you can then manually readjust the columns as required to make things fit.