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How To Convert Texts To Table | Microsoft Word 2007, 2010 Tutorial

Updated on September 22, 2014

You have been assigned the daunting task of converting texts in a MS Word document with pages of paragraph texts, comma-separated texts, and maybe even tabbed texts, into series of tables. You sigh, "this is going to take forever". How am I supposed to do this?

Oftentimes, administrative and office personnel go through the task of converting old files into more readable easy-to-format files and documents. Unfortunately, for some this means doing it the old-fashioned way of typing and retyping, copying and pasting of existing text files or word document texts into table layouts. But, there is an easier way to tackle these tasks.

This purpose of this hub is to show you how to convert paragraph texts, comma-separated texts, and even-tabbed texts to bordered, easy-to-format tables. After this tutorial, you should be able to take tab-tables in a word document and easily convert it into bordered table formats with row and columns that can be easily formatted, divided, and expanded.

Converting Groups of Paragraph Texts To Table

Paragraph texts are texts that are on consecutive lines (spaced or unspaced) in a document. This could be a list of names or addresses in paragraphs, or just a list of objects. Below (figure 1) is an example of paragraph text.

Figure 1. Paragraph texts in successive lines.
Figure 1. Paragraph texts in successive lines. | Source

Looking at the set of texts above, you're probably wondering, "how do I convert these texts to a table format"? This is how. To convert these texts, first,

  1. Select the group of texts that you want to convert to table (see figure 2).
  2. Click the Insert Tab on the Ribbon to reveal the Table (Menu) Group .
  3. Select the 'Convert Text to Table option' from the menu options (see figure 2).
  4. The 'Convert Text to Table' dialogue box appears (see figure 3).

Figure 2.
Figure 2. | Source
Figure 3. 'Convert Text to Table' dialogue box
Figure 3. 'Convert Text to Table' dialogue box | Source

For the example shown above (in fugure 3.) the paragraph option has already been selected. Also notice that the column shows '1', and the number of rows is locked in as 5 rows. Remember, additional columns can be added, but for this tutorial, I have chosen to leave it at one.

When the 'OK' button at the bottom of the dialogue box is clicked, the result is the table in figure 4.


Convert Text to Table Dialogue Box - Breaking It Down

The Convert Text to Table dialogue box is divided into the following three sections:

  • The 'Table size' section - Allows you to specify additional columns for your table if you so desire. Rows are pre-determined for you based on the number of lines of converted texts. Notice that the row toggle button is dimmed. This means you cannot make any changes to the row.
  • The 'Autofit behavior' section - This is the section where you can define how you want your texts to fit into individual columns by changing the width with the 'Fixed column width' toggle button. You can also specify that your table fit right into your document window page.
  • The 'Separate text at' section - The options here are pre-selected based on whether you are converting text that are either separated by commas, paragraphs, tabs or any other special character or symbol, in which case you will have to specify that other character or symbol using the 'Other' radio button. Type the character in the box, then hit the enter key. Your table is created with just the texts only, not the characters or symbols.

Figure 4. Converted text in table bordered table format.
Figure 4. Converted text in table bordered table format. | Source
Examples of Tabbed and Comma-separated texts
Examples of Tabbed and Comma-separated texts | Source

Tabbed and Comma Separated Texts

Tabbed text are texts that are created in a word processing document or text files by hitting the tab key after each entry.

Comma separated text, as the name implies are text that are separated by commas after each word, object or phrase. To convert these text types to table in a word document, follow the same steps as highlighted above for the paragraph text styles. The pre-selected options in the 'Convert text to table dialogue box' may differ slightly, but same rules applies. Remember to specify additional columns if so desire.

Table Tools - Design and Layout Tab

Your Table Object Has A New Tool!

One very important thing to note is that for every table object created, a new tab, 'Table Tools' tab is added to the ribbon (see arrow insert in figure 4). This tab is only visible or enabled when you click or place you cursor inside of the created table. If you click outside the table or when table is not selected, the 'Table Tools' tab is disabled. The Table Tools tab has two sub-tabs, the 'Design' tab, and the 'Layout' tab.

Table Tools Design Tab

The Table Tools Designtab gives you all the options needed to change your table styles and background colors. Also you can use some of these options to draw a table, specify borders width, weight, colors and more using the tools in the Draw Borders Group.

Table Tools Layout Tab

The Layout tab of the Table tools allows you to view your table properties, insert or delete row and columns, specify table cell size, manipulate the alignment of table cell content and data. In the 'Data' group of the 'Layout' tab, you can even re-convert your table back to text. And, guess what? The new "formula" option in this group makes performing calculations on your table values as easy as clicking on the formula.

See It, Learn It!

How To Convert MS Word Table Back To Text

Should you have a need to convert your Word document table back to text (it's original state), you will not be doing this through the 'Insert' tab. Remember, that with every object created in your document, you get a separate set of tools, "Table Tools", "Picture Tools" tab etc. With these special tabs comes, "The Layout " tab - Here, as mentioned earlier, you can view your table properties, insert or delete row and columns, specify table cell size, manipulate the alignment of table cell content and data, and even re-convert your table back to text. This is done in the 'Data' group of the 'Layout' tab. How?

  • Make sure the table in question is selected, or that your cursor is somewhere within the table.
  • Click the Table Tools tab. The "Design" and "Layout" tabs should be visible.
  • Click the "Layout" tab. In the Data Group of menu, the last one on the right, click on "Convert To Text" button. A dialog box will pop up with the option to separated texts with tabs. Unless you choose a different option from these radio button lists, texts will be separated by tabs by default. Click OK. This will convert your table to regular text.

Explore Microsoft Word 2010!

You've just learned how to convert texts in Microsoft Word 2010 to a table that you can format. Don't let it end there! There is so much more that can be done using Microsoft Word 2010 and the accompanying tools.

I know seeing the new menu setup (the ribbon) can be intimidating at first for those who are used to the drop-down menu lists of the old version, but it takes exploring the different tabs and menu options to really get a grasp of the new ribbon setup in all of Microsoft Office Software. So, go ahead, explore! You might find it's easier than you think.

Hope to bring you another tutorial real soon.


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Author: Comfort Babatola - ©2013


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    • ComfortB profile image

      Comfort Babatola 5 years ago from Bonaire, GA, USA

      Thanks Natashalh. It was my pleasure to share this. And, thanks for the votes.:)

    • Natashalh profile image

      Natasha 5 years ago from Hawaii

      I literally never knew this was possible! Thank you so much. This is truly a useful hub - voting accordingly.

    • ComfortB profile image

      Comfort Babatola 5 years ago from Bonaire, GA, USA

      @teaches12345 - I'm glad I can help. Thanks for your votes and comments.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      I have tried this before but it didn't work, however I didn't have your detailed instructions. So, I am going to try this again. Thanks for your help and information. For a novice, this information will save some headaches from happening. Voted useful and interesting.