Data Management

Office challenge: How do you position the cursor above a table at the top of a Word document?

Here's the solution to last week's challenge on showing a total in an Access query. This week, we're testing your Word expertise: If a table appears at the beginning of a document, how do you add blank rows above the table? Try it -- you might find it's not as easy as you think.
I frequently copy tables into blank documents. When I do, I can't move the cursor to the top of the document to add blank lines just above the copied table. You can reproduce the problem quickly enough. Simply open a blank document and choose Insert from the Table menu. Choose Table and then OK (accepting the default table dimensions). Then, try to position the cursor above the table. It's a frustrating problem, unless you know the easy shortcut for accessing the top of the document. Do you know it? Last week we asked… "How can you show a total in an Access query?" It's a bit of a trick question because two traditional methods will work, but they return very different results. First, there's the Totals view, which uses the SUM aggregate function to return a total. The Totals view doesn't return the actual values, just the sum. Then, there's the SQL UNION operator, which you can use to add a SUM function to a series of values. In this way, you can return the values and the total. A Totals view is simple to create but has a few quirks. You might see it referred to as a query, but it isn't a query in the true sense. To create a Totals view, do the following:

  1. Base a new query on the appropriate table.
  2. To the query grid, add the column you want to total.
  3. Choose Totals from the View menu. Doing so will expose a Total row in the design grid. This row applies the Group By aggregate to all columns, by default. To return a total, select SUM from the Total row's drop-down list for that column. For instance, the following query groups by the OrderID value:

    Click Run to see the results. There's one record for each OrderID value, although most orders comprise more than one item. The second column totals the order (UnitPrice * Quantity):

Sometimes, you'll want to see a summary of the data along with all the data. When that's the case, use a UNION operator as follows:

  1. Using the same example query, click SQL View (in Query Design view).
  2. Add the UNION operator as shown below: UNION SELECT "Total", Sum(UnitPrice*Quantity) FROM [Order Details]
  3. Click Run to see the results.

The last row displays a total for all the orders. That's because the sort order pushes the Total text field list to the bottom of the resultset. That won't always be the case, and in fact, displaying the UNION SELECT row can be a bit troublesome. For more information on using UNION in this way, read How do I... Display summary values in Microsoft Access using UNION? Thanks to everyone who replied. A couple of members suggested rather unique solutions:
  • Iansoady suggested a nested query.
  • Mark recommended the DSUM() domain aggregate.
Mark and Tmiller both recommended the UNION query, which is one of the traditional solutions. Thanks to songsu for mentioning 2007's new Totals button, which makes UNION, within this context, obsolete.

About

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.

53 comments
K Brown
K Brown

Left arrow, enter does it for me. Or better yet hit the enter key before inserting the table then there is always space to move to.

SelinaR
SelinaR

I "move" my table down a few lines. Then I place my cursor where I would like the line.

HelenSimpson
HelenSimpson

I click in the top cell and use Ctrl+Shift+Enter

Krishnananda Acharya
Krishnananda Acharya

I have faced this problem many times. What I do is to leave a blank line by pressing enter and then insert table. That way, you can place the cursor at the top of the document

mharris672
mharris672

Place cursor in 1st cell, 1st row, press Enter. This works in Word 2010 (I don't recall prior versions). As a precursor, you could always click at the top of the Word document, hit Enter, then insert your table.

RU7
RU7

Mouse over the table and click the icon in the upper left corner to select the entire table. Press Shift+Alt+Down Arrow You can actually use that icon to drag-and-drop the table anywhere. For more precise control, right click the icon and select Table Properties. Then go to the Table tab and select the Positioning button in the Text wrapping area.

RB1955
RB1955

With the Table at the top of the page, move curser to top left of tabel; look for the "Anchor" icon to appear near outside of table at the top left corner; move curser over the Anchor (curser will change to 4 headed arrow); click and drag the Anchor down a little. This method can be used to position a table almost anywhere. Finally, right clicking on the Anchor icon will bring up context sensitive menu that is closer than mouse-driving around the screen and toolbars. Jeez, it's gotta be bad when I'm too lazy to drive a mouse a few extra inches . But seriously, sometimes when / if I'm in a hurry and working AFAP (As Fast As Possible) saving a few seconds here and there is a good thing. Also having the "Show/Hide" formatting characters (Ctrl+*) is my SOP for Word use. The formatting characters do not print on the document, and knowing what's being formatted-where&how is useful... but if you're sending the doc to someone else, be sure to turn them off before sending the doc.

dave
dave

... select first cell of table ... select the "split table" option (on the table layout toolbar)

loribeck
loribeck

to add a space above a table, go to the first row, hit Ctrl+enter then remove the page break. Works for me every time.

garavan
garavan

I already have an "insert Page and section break" button placed on the ribbon, (an essential button working with Word), therefore I just click that to avoid lifting my hand from the mouse. So there is place to give a Title to your document, followed by a TOC. The constellation you described, happens to me only when I open up a doc coming from an external source. However, in any other cases, when you insert a table at the top, you may reconsider the workflow of how you accomplish tasks. For example, you may update your "new blank document" template to contain at least a paragraph mark at the top. I've Title, TOC, new page, h1, paragraph mark - so I always give a title, under which {at least partially in case of restricted characters usage} the document is automatically named by Word, and the TOC tells me what the document is about it, when reviewed at a later time. I always enter the title first and save the doc before going further. Should you really need an absolutely blank doc, just hit and rest your digit on delete (DEL).

techtrainer1
techtrainer1

I position the cursor in the upper left corner of the table and click "Split Table"

tnyamutenha
tnyamutenha

Activate the table and then take the table down you text

admin
admin

The easiest way to do it is before you create the table press return a couple of times then create the table. You can then put the cursor back on to the top line above the table.

pctrain
pctrain

I created a table at the very top of the document, then pressed Control+Home to ensure my cursor moved to the left of any hidden code. Then just press Enter and the table should move down one line. (It looks like your cursor is still in the table when you press Enter but it actually isn't) - regards, Sharon

bob.roman
bob.roman

Press Control Home, than the Enter Key, Than Control Home again.

fledis
fledis

I prefer Split Table command in the first row of the table. Pressing Enter sometimes creates just a new paragraph in a table cell. By the way- question. I usually use Data Form... command if I have to add new records in an Excel table which contains many columns with formulas. But now I can't find this command in Excel 2007. Is it anywhere there or should I use another feature? Thank you.

fledis
fledis

I prefer Split Table command in the first row of the table because pressing Enter sometimes just creates new paragraph in a table cell.

candzgramma
candzgramma

Place the cursor in the first cell of the table and press Enter. A paragraph will appear above the table.

falysi
falysi

Put the cursor in the first column. Insert a page break. Press enter to add line spacing. Delete page break. There you go.

RayG314
RayG314

Simple; I do it all the time. From anywhere on that page, press PageUp, then Enter

B3_Nick
B3_Nick

Two keystrokes: From ANYWHERE in the document... 1. Press ^Home (CTRL+HOME) 2. Press ENTER

stevenfisher
stevenfisher

put the cursor at the beginning of the first table and hit enter that will move the table down a row

michaeleen_muhovich
michaeleen_muhovich

Whenever I copy something to a new Word document and need space above what I have copied (in your case, a table), I simply press enter several times to move the insertion point down the page some. Then put your cursor at the new insertion point and paste. Works slick. If you forget to do this before you do the paste, just undo the paste, move the insertion point down, position your cursor, then paste. With this method, you can create as much space above what you have inserted as you need.

bkreamer
bkreamer

Select the table, then do Table_Split Table.

bjm
bjm

[Shift] + [Tab] [Enter]

pat_osinaike
pat_osinaike

Position your cursor at the beginning of the first cell and press enter!

dogknees
dogknees

I'm curious why you say the totals query isn't a "query". I would think "query" is a pretty wide category. Generally anything you write using SQL (Structured Query Language) is a query whether it's an action query, select, make table, whatever... Thanks

rcriswell
rcriswell

When I've had this occur, I simply press Ctrl + Home and then press the enter key to create an empty line above the table.

zhogdr
zhogdr

Hit F1, click on the blank search box, type "Data Form", click on the Search icon, read how to use it!

rduncan
rduncan

Delete Office, Install Open Office, laugh smugly and point at your colleagues

mille383
mille383

If you use column break instead of page break there's no deleting needed - table shifts down one line with the cursor positioned above the table on the newly created blank line.

lynnembailey
lynnembailey

use the CTRL + HOME keyboard combination

stevenfisher
stevenfisher

put the cursor at the beginning of the first table and hit enter that will move the table down a row

ShoePhone
ShoePhone

is cut the table, create a series of blank lines, then paste the table under the new blank lines. Perhaps this is the long way, but it works.

ssharkins
ssharkins

It isn't a specific query type, like SELECT, UPDATE, SELECT INTO, INSERT INTO, DELETE. The Access Totals "view" is somewhat equivalent to the SQL GROUP BY statement.

Oz_Media
Oz_Media

Press Enter or even just tap the space bar to move it over and make room for a cursor.

gealogom
gealogom

To put the cursor above the table after its created is to just simply position the cursor at the beginning of the A1 cell of the table then press enter, the table will move down and leaves the cursor outside of the table.

kagnewrick
kagnewrick

Cursor in 1st cell, 1st row, press Enter.

marie.truman
marie.truman

Word 2003 I always used the cut/paste method others have mentioned. Word 2007 hitting enter in the beginning of the first cell does the trick.

warrior114
warrior114

1. Click in the first cell of the table. 2. [Ctrl]+[Shift]+[Enter] will insert a blank line above the table.

fledis
fledis

All I can find this way is an article which says "You can use built-in data form." There is no word about where to found this command in Excel 2007. Unfortunately I haven't got Internet at home nor Excel 2007 at work. May be this is the reason I can't find right help information.

Darryl~
Darryl~

I've resorted to selecting the table than inserting a page break then hit the backspace, it's a little quicker than the cut & paste method.

dogknees
dogknees

If you go to the SQL view of the "query" you're creating, it's still a select query with grouping. The interface might not call it that, but the terminology doesn't change because MS decide to rename a menu option.

jschat1-techrep
jschat1-techrep

If in word 2007 you must also be left most in the cell

kathiharpst
kathiharpst

Or hold down Ctrl and press Home. That takes the cursor to the very beginning of the document. Press Enter to get a new line. Ctrl Home works in Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint and Word to get to the beginning of whatever you are working in.

dogknees
dogknees

I agree it doesn't become a "totals" query, it remains a Select query with a group by clause and aggregate functions. That's all I was trying to say. You are quite correct in saying there is no such thing as a "total" query. I'm not sure I'd agree that the name of the menu option used to display the totals row matters in whether or not the result is a query. Regards

ssharkins
ssharkins

I agree with you, terminology matters. First, consider how you add a Totals rows to an Access query. Is it on the Query menu? No. It's on the View menu. Check the Query menu and you'll see all the queries listed. Totals is not one of them. Check the View menu -- that's where you'll find Totals. Yes, many Access users and developers user the term "Totals query" -- it's all over the place, and so, for that reason, yes, you can call it a query, if you choose. You will be in good company. The truth is, Totals is a specialized view of a query, and not a query "type" in the traditional sense, such as SELECT, UPDATE, INSERT INTO, DELETE. The Totals option adds a GROUP BY clause or an aggregate function to an already existing query, such as a SELECT query -- the SELECT query does not then become a Totals query, a GROUP BY query, a SUM query, or anything other such term -- it's still a SELECT query with a GROUP BY clause or an aggregate function.

dogknees
dogknees

Is an optional part of a SELECT query. I'm a little frustrated that you don't consider this to be important. In development the precise meanings of terms like query, table, relation,.. is absolutley crucial to understanding. When you say say "query" the listener should understand exactly what you're talking about. There is no room for movement in these definitions. They're like the formal grammar of a programming language. It's like the definition of this problem. Provide a single SQL query that contains detail rows and a total row. That's a statement that can only have one possible interpretation in this context. Anyway, as I said, I'm disappointed that you're not interested in discussing it, or directing me to a reference (relational database definitions) that will convince me that your position is correct. I guess people consider this sort of posting to be trolling. I've never quite understood why trying to get an answer to some question is trolling. It appears we're not supposed to look for deep absolute answers or peoples real intentions or motivations, just the surface stuff. Regards

ssharkins
ssharkins

Neither GROUP BY nor Totals is a query -- they are both specialized view of a query. I'm not going to get hung up on this -- you can call it a query if you like. Won't bother me a bit. :)

2rs
2rs

this method works for Office 2003 & Office 2007

r.newland
r.newland

Place cursor in the first cell, go to table, click on split table, the cursor will be above the table