How to Fit a Table to the Page in Microsoft Word

216058 How to Fit a Table to the Page in Microsoft Word

Tables are an extremely useful way to organize and present data in Word documents. However, sometimes tables can be too wide and run off the page or be longer than a single page. Fortunately, Word provides several methods to fit tables neatly on the page.

Ensure Table Fits on One Page

If your table spans multiple pages but you want it confined to one page, there are a couple of options:

  • Select the entire table, go to Layout > Properties, and check the “Fit to Page” option. This will automatically resize the table to fit on one page.
  • Manually adjust row heights and column widths by clicking and dragging the edges of the table rows/columns. Make them smaller until the table fits on one page.

Resize Wide Tables to Fit Page

For tables that are too wide for the page, use these techniques:

  • AutoFit Contents – Select the table then go to Layout > AutoFit > AutoFit Contents. This will shrink columns to the width of the text/numbers in the cells.
  • AutoFit Window – Go to Layout > AutoFit > AutoFit Window. This will resize the entire table to fit the page width.
  • Manual Adjust – Click and drag the right edge of columns to manually reduce their width.
  • Narrow Margins – Reduce page margins under Layout > Margins to fit more table width.

Break Table Across Multiple Pages

If you want the table to span more than one page:

  • Deselect “Allow row to break across pages” under Table Properties > Row. This allows a row to break across 2 pages.
  • Increase row height until table expands to additional pages.

You can also choose to repeat header rows by checking “Repeat as header row at the top of each page” under Table Properties > Row.

Align Table on Page

To align a table on the page, select it, go to Layout > Alignment, and pick:

  • Left – Align table left, with optional indentation
  • Center – Align table in center of page
  • Right – Align table on right side of page

Change Text Direction

By default, text in tables runs horizontally from left to right. You can make text vertical by selecting the cells and choosing Text Direction > Rotate all text 90° under Layout > Alignment. This rotates text 90 degrees to run from top to bottom.

Set Exact Position

For precise table placement, select the table then go to Layout > Positioning. From here you can set an exact distance between the table edges and page margins/edges using the settings under Horizontal and Vertical.

Insert Table in Text Box

To break free from page margins, insert your table into a text box. This allows you to place the table anywhere on the page, even overlapping other text. Under Insert > Text Box, draw a text box, copy your table into it, and resize/reposition the box as needed.

Apply Table Styles

To instantly format tables, use the styles under Design > Table Styles while your table is selected. This provides one-click formatting with color schemes, borders, fonts, etc. Hover over a style to preview it.

Additional Table Design Tips

Here are more ideas for table design:

  • Add borders under Design > Borders. Choose line style, color, and width.
  • Shade every other row under Design > Table Style Options > Banded Rows.
  • Change row height and column width under Layout > Properties > Cell > Size.
  • Add space between cells under Layout > Properties > Cell > Options.
  • Merge cells to span rows/columns – select cells and go to Layout > Merge Cells.

With a little bit of tweaking, you can make tables in Word documents look clean, professional and visually appealing. Use the formatting options creatively to design tables tailored to your specific needs.

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