How to Convert Text to Table in Word 2010

By Dan Gookin

If you started working on your Word 2010 document before you discovered the Table command, you probably have lists set up using tabbed text. If so, you can easily convert that text into a bona fide table. And if you decide after the change that you want to free your text from the confines of a table’s cruel and cold cells, you can do that, too:

1Select the text you want to convert into a Word table.

It helps if the text is arranged into columns, with each column separated by a tab character. If not, things get screwy but still workable.

The Convert Text to Table button in Word.

2Click the Insert tab and choose Table→Convert Text to Table.

The Convert Text to Table dialog box appears. Ensure that Tabs is selected.

3Confirm that your text-to-table transition is set up properly by consulting the Number of Columns item in the Convert Text to Table dialog box.

If the number of columns seems correct, the conversion most likely is a good one. When the number of columns is off, you have a rogue tab somewhere in your text.

A table in Word.

4Click OK.

A table is born.

5To turn that table back into text, click the mouse inside the table.

You have to identify for Word which table you want to work with.

6Click the Table Tools Layout tab and, in the Table group, choose Select→Select Table.

The table is selected.

The Table design tools in Word's Ribbon

7From the Data group, choose Convert to Text.

The Convert to Text dialog box appears.

8(Optional) If your table's cells contain long expanses of text, choose Paragraph Marks from the Convert to Text dialog box.

The text then looks less ugly after the conversion.

Highlighted text in a Word document.

9Click OK.

Bye-bye, table. Hello, text.