How to Put Text in a Table in Word 2016

By Dan Gookin

Text fills a Word 2016 table on a cell-by-cell basis. A cell can be empty or contain anything from a single letter to multiple paragraphs. The cell changes size to accommodate larger quantities of text.

  • Within a cell, text is formatted just as it is elsewhere in Word, including margins and tabs.

  • Although a single cell can deftly handle vast quantities of text, graphic artists don’t put a lot of text into a single cell. Consider another way to present such information.

  • Don’t format text inside a cell with first-line indents. Although it’s possible, such formatting can be a pain to manipulate.

    Show the ruler when you work with formatting text in a table: Click the View tab, and in the Show group, place a check mark by the Ruler item.

Text appears in whichever cell the insertion pointer is blinking. Type your text and it wraps to fill the cell. Don’t worry if it doesn’t look right; you can adjust the cell size after you type the text.

  • To move to the next cell, press the Tab key.

  • To move back one cell, press Shift+Tab.

  • Pressing Tab at the end of a row moves the insertion pointer to the first cell in the next row.

  • Pressing the Tab key while the insertion pointer is in the table’s bottom-right cell adds a new row to the table.

  • To produce a tab character within a cell, press Ctrl+Tab. Even so:

    Putting tabs into table cells is not recommended. It makes the cell formatting all funky.

    When you press the Enter key in a cell, you create a new paragraph in the cell, which probably isn’t what you want.

    The Shift+Enter key combination (a soft return) can be used break up long lines of text in a cell.