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Word: Using Quick Tables

November 10, 2009

Quick Tables (available since Word 2007) are a quick and easy way to insert a preformatted table. However, the default tables are probably not what you want, so you need to know how to add your own.

Adding a Quick Table to your document

  1. Go to the Insert tab and click the Table icon.
  2. Select Quick Tables to open the panel of built-in tables.
    word2007_tables_quick_tables
  3. Scroll down to the table you want to add (tables are listed alphabetically by category name first [look for the heading (A)], then table name (B) within a category).
    word2007_tables_quick_tables02
  4. Click on the table to insert it. Hint: To specify exactly where you want the table to go (e.g. header, footer, beginning, end of the document etc.), right-click on it and select from the list of options.
    word2007_tables_quick_tables03
  5. Complete the table as you normally would.

Adding a table to the Quick Tables list

  1. Insert a blank table.
  2. Format the table the way you want — e.g. borders, shading, row height, alignment, emphasis, font size, etc. for the heading row and the table rows. You can use manual formatting, or one of the built-in table designs (with or without modification). Hint: If your table always has the same column heading names, add those too.
  3. Select the table.
  4. Go to the Insert tab and click the Table icon.
  5. Select Quick Tables to open the panel of quick tables.
  6. Click Save Selection to Quick Tables Gallery (this option is immediately below the panel).
  7. On the Create New Building Block dialog, give the table a Name and a Description, and consider changing the Category (see ‘About Categories’ below).
    word2007_tables_quick_tables04
  8. Click OK.

About Categories

From the testing I’ve done, it seems that categories are listed alphabetically in the Quick Tables panel. They display as a heading with a pale background, which makes them hard to see, and are followed by the tables in that category.

By default, Built-in quick tables are the only ones you see until you’ve added quick tables to other categories. The categories are listed alphabetically in the panel, with the tables in each category listed alphabetically *within* each group. So, Built-in tables are listed before General tables because B comes before G. If you want your quick tables to be listed at the top, you can use one of these tricks:

  • Create a new category that lists alphabetically before ‘Built-in’. If your category name doesn’t start letters alphabetically before Bu, use an underscore or other symbol in front of the name to force it before ‘Built-in’ – e.g. _CompanyName.
  • Change the category to Built-in and add an underscore or other symbol such as an asterisk to the beginning of the name – this will force your table to the top of the Built-in list.

Changing a Quick Table’s category

  1. Go to the Insert tab and click the Table icon.
  2. Select Quick Tables to open the panel of built-in tables.
  3. Scroll down to the table for which you want to change the category.
  4. Right-click on it, then select Organize and Delete. The Building Blocks Organizer dialog opens with the table selected.
    word2007_tables_quick_tables05
  5. Click Edit Properties.
  6. Make the changes.
  7. When you are finished, click Close.

Deleting a table from the Quick Tables panel

If there are some tables in the Quick Tables panel that you’ll never use, you can delete them. This deletes them fully, so make sure this is what you want to do.

  1. Go to the Insert tab and click the Table icon.
  2. Select Quick Table to open the panel of built-in tables.
  3. Scroll down to the table you no longer need.
  4. Right-click on it, then select Organize and Delete. The Building Blocks Organizer dialog opens with the table selected.
  5. Click Delete. You are asked to confirm the deletion.
  6. When you are finished, click Close.

See also:

6 comments

  1. Dear Sir,

    I am creating TEMPLATES for a client – will the Quick Tables I have created for them appear on their computers too? I’m not sure they will – because when I exited word it asked “do you want to save blah blah changes to building blocks” I said NO (which would be existing condition on client’s machine) and the Quick Styles I created no longer exist.

    Any solutions – ie not only for use on MY machine but on documents created on MY machine and to be used on other machines.

    Regards,
    Alex


  2. […] Enter your name for the table in the Name field, [Hint: if you start the name with an underscore the name will be the first in the list. For more information regarding saving and working with Quick Table Styles see Rhonda Bracey’s Cybertext article  https://cybertext.wordpress.com/2009/11/10/word-2007-using-quick-tables/ […]


  3. […] Quick Tables are an option, you won’t get the caption inserted with them. So this solution takes Quick […]


  4. I have a document with many tables done with quick tables. If at any time I want to modify, e.g. the color of the borders, is there any way I perform this modification for all tables on a single action?


  5. Hi Angel

    I’m pretty sure there’s no global way to do this. A macro might work, but to be honest, by the time you figured out how to do it with a macro, you may well have done them all manually anyway.

    Depending on what you need to change, F4 (repeat last action) may work for SOME table features (e.g. if you change the background colour of a row, then you can go to the next occurrence of a similar row and press F4 to apply that same colour. BUT only one action can be done at a time — i.e. you can’t make the row bold and a different colour and then press F4; whatever the LAST action was would be applied).

    Alternatively, if you’re using Word 2007/2010, then you might be able to skip through them fairly quickly applying a different table style to each table from the Table Tools > Design tab.

    Some of these posts may help:
    * https://cybertext.wordpress.com/2010/02/01/word-jumping-to-next-table-graphic-or-field/
    * https://cybertext.wordpress.com/2011/02/11/word-why-can-some-actions-be-repeated-but-not-others/
    * https://cybertext.wordpress.com/2009/11/11/word-2007-using-table-styles/
    * https://cybertext.wordpress.com/2011/08/10/word-macro-to-insert-a-formatted-table-and-an-automated-caption/

    –Rhonda


  6. Hi Rhonda,
    many thanks for the quick reply! I had not thought about F4, it is indeed a good idea.
    I will have a look at the other posts. Have a nice day,
    Angel



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