10 easy ways to turn a dull Word table into a design element

Wrapping text around the table

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By default, inserting a table into a Word document gets you a grid. Which is fine. At least Word isn't second-guessing you and applying its own format or foisting some overbearing wizard on you. And if you're after structure rather than design, that grid is all you need. But when you want to move beyond utility and create an attractive element on the page, you need to know a few formatting tricks.

Word comes well supplied with features for jazzing up tables--maybe too many, in fact, empowering users to produce some fairly hideous results. Other users steer clear of table formatting completely after a few failed attempts to put a border where they want it or change a column width without disrupting the table dimensions. Here are a few simple techniques that will enable your users to quickly improve the appearance of their tables without going overboard or wasting time with confusing options.

By Jody Gilbert

Jody Gilbert has been writing and editing technical articles for the past 25 years. She was part of the team that launched TechRepublic.