Office challenge: How can you create uniform table cells that don't change size?

This week's Microsoft Office Challenge: How do you keep users from adjusting a table's row heights and column widths when they change data?

You've gone to a lot of trouble to create a complex table and you don't want anyone to change the row heights or column widths. You could protect the table, but you want users to be able to modify the table's contents, just not its dimensions. Your users aren't power users, so you decide to take the easiest route—how do you keep users from adjusting the table's row heights and column widths when they change data?

Last week we asked…

Why won't my Word table's borders print? Jbenton was the first to respond with the answer I had in mind. Tables can display gridlines or borders (borders are the default). Gridlines are imaginary lines that you can see on screen, but they don't print. If the table borders aren't printing, the most likely explanation is that someone turned off the borders and your users seeing gridlines, not borders.

The document below shows the difference between borders and gridlines. The first table displays borders—the lines are solid. The second table displays gridlines, not borders.

The solution, fortunately, is easy. Instruct the user to set borders, as follows:

  1. Select the table and right-click it.
  2. Choose Table Properties from the resulting context menu.
  3. Click the Borders and Shading button on the Table tab.
  4. Click Grid and then click OK.


Susan Sales Harkins is an IT consultant, specializing in desktop solutions. Previously, she was editor in chief for The Cobb Group, the world's largest publisher of technical journals.

Editor's Picks