An easy way to make tables

Many of my clients spend too much time making their data tables. I know this is true because of the presence of the many spaces (……….) within the tables present in documents I receive for editing. Extraneous tabs and spaces make for unnecessarily complex tables that tend to behave badly (for the authors, editors, and readers) and that do not convey information in a clear and coherent manner.

To easily construct a data table, use a Microsoft Word (2013 and earlier) feature called “Convert Text to Table.” All the details are given here. I show the method that works for me below. One can also “Convert a Table to Text,” which can be very handy.

The steps illustrated below to make a simple 4 x 4 table in Microsoft word are:

1. Enter column text separated by a tab stop; press enter to add text for subsequent rows,

2. Select all text to be included in the table,

3. On the “Insert” menu, select “Table” and then “Convert Text to Table,”

4. Select “OK” and there you have it! You can format the text (center, bold, italic, etc) however you like.