How to Use the Draw Table Feature in Microsoft Word

142809 How to Use the Draw Table Feature in Microsoft Word

Adding tables to your Word documents can help organize and present information clearly. However, inserting basic tables with uniform rows and columns doesn’t always meet formatting needs. That’s where Word’s Draw Table feature comes in handy!

The Draw Table tool gives you greater flexibility to create custom table layouts that perfectly fit your content. Whether you want irregularly shaped tables, cells that span multiple columns, or other unique designs, Draw Table makes it possible.

In this beginner’s guide, you’ll learn:

  • How to access and enable the Draw Table tool
  • Step-by-step instructions to draw a basic table
  • Tips for creating advanced table layouts
  • How to format and customize drawn tables

Follow along to start mastering this useful but underutilized Word feature!

Accessing the Draw Table Tool in Word

The first step is accessing the Draw Table tool. Here’s how:

  1. Open the Word document you want to add a table to
  2. On the Insert tab in the ribbon, click the Table icon
  3. Select “Draw Table” from the drop-down menu

Your cursor will change to a pencil, and the Table Tools Design tab will appear. This indicates Draw Table mode is active and you can start drawing table lines.

Drawing a Basic Table

With the tool enabled, here are the steps to draw a simple table:

  1. Drag the pencil cursor diagonally to outline the table boundaries
  2. Lift the pencil then drag horizontally to draw column divider lines
  3. Lift and drag vertically to draw row divider lines
  4. Repeat steps 2-3 until the desired layout is complete

As you draw lines, Word automatically straightens and connects them into a table structure. Cells become filled with placeholder text you can overwrite later.

Pro Tip: Press Escape to exit Draw Table mode when finished.

Creating Advanced Table Layouts

While square grids are common, Draw Table isn’t limited to uniform rows and columns. Feel free to experiment with irregular layouts:

  • Make cells wider, narrower, taller and shorter
  • Skip cells or leave intentional gaps
  • Merge cells vertically and horizontally
  • Draw tables within tables for more complex information

Play around with the tool to discover just how flexible and customizable it is!

Formatting and Customizing Drawn Tables

You format drawn tables the same as regular Word tables. With a table selected, use the Table Tools Design tab to:

  • Apply built-in table styles
  • Change borders, shading and alignment
  • Adjust margins, cell spacing and padding
  • Insert/delete rows and columns
  • And more!

Don’t forget to give tables a descriptive title using the Caption tool. This improves document accessibility.


The Draw Table feature unlocks new table-building potential in Word. Use it to organize information in creative layouts that fit your unique needs.

Now that you know the basics, it’s time to put this tool to work! Import data, customize templates, design calendars and more.

What will you create with Draw Table? Share your designs in the comments!

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