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How to use the Draw Table function in Microsoft Word

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If you use Microsoft Word, chances are you are familiar with tables. Tables allow you to present information in an easy-to-understand format, in rows and columns. This can be useful when preparing reports, listing features, or viewing data in Word.

Maybe you know how to add tables in Word using the popular Insert Table function among others. But have you ever tried to draw your own custom tables?

In this article, you will learn how to use the Table Drawing feature in Microsoft Word to quickly draw tables, and how to customize the tables you draw.

What is Draw Table in Microsoft Word?

As the name suggests, the Draw Table feature in Word allows you to draw and design your own tables by hand using your mouse and pen.

Drawing a table is one of the five methods of creating tables in Word. Others include Insert Table, Convert Text to Table, Insert Excel Spreadsheet, and Quick Tables.

Draw Table allows you to customize your tables in many more ways. For example, you can place a table exactly where you want it and manage its proportions quickly if you draw it.

If, on the other hand, you use the Insert table option, your table will expand to fit the page. You will then need to start adjusting its proportions using the table formatting tool.

Moreover, with Draw Table, you can draw diagonal lines and cells in cells. Below is an example of what is possible with Draw Table.

MS Word Drawing Board Example

The Draw Table feature isn’t currently available in the Microsoft Word mobile app, but here’s how to use it in Microsoft Office 365.

How to use the Draw Table function in Microsoft Word

Here is how to draw a simple 10 × 5 table in Microsoft Word using the Draw Table function.

  1. Launch the Microsoft Word desktop application on your PC and open the document in which you want to insert a table.

  2. Click it Insert tab in the ribbon area and select Table from the menu options.

  3. Scroll down and click Draw a table. This will activate the pen tool with which you will draw your table.

    Draw a table click on Table Draw a table

  4. Now click your mouse and drag an inch down to create a unique cell outline for your table.

  5. Use your pen to draw a vertical line that divides this cell into two equal parts to create a 2 × 1 table.

    Draw a table create a 2x1 table

  6. Click outside the table to turn off the Pen tool. Now place your mouse pointer in the middle and click on the + button. This will add more columns to your right. Do this until you have a 10 × 1 table.

    Draw a table create a 10x1 cell

  7. Place your pointer at the top left of the table to reveal the same + front button. Click on it until you have four more rows.

    10x5 drawing board created

  8. You have now created a 10 × 5 table using the Draw a table characteristic. Note that the cells have the same proportions.

And just like other boards, you can also format and customize this board as you like.

Related: How to Rotate a Table in Microsoft Word

Basic formatting and customizations for drawn tables

There are several ways you can format and customize the tables you have drawn with Draw Table. Here are some of the basics.

1. Insert rows, columns and cells

If you first draw a 2 × 1 table, you can expand it to any size you want by clicking the + button on the edges or using the Insert function. Simply select the table, right click inside, scroll down and select Insert.

Draw a table Insert rows into columns of cells

Using this method, you can insert columns on the left and right, rows above and below, as well as cells.

Related: How to Format Table Border Rows in Microsoft Word

2. Distribute rows and columns evenly

If you’ve drawn your own table by hand, chances are some cells are out of proportion. To resolve this issue, select the table and right click inside. To select Distribute the lines evenly Where Distribute columns evenly.

Draw Table select distribute columns evenly

This will make all cells in your table the same size. You can always grab the pen tool if you want to add irregular shaped cells.

3. Restrict editing

If you’ve worked hard to create your tables, you wouldn’t want this to go to waste. You can prevent other authors from making certain changes to your tables during a review.

To do this, select the table or part of it for which you want to restrict editing. Now click on Review, then click Restrict editing to your right.

Draw the table Restrict editing

In the Restrict Editing pane, set your preferences and click Yes, start applying protection.

Related: How to Create a PivotTable in Excel

4. Watermark your table

Another way to mark your table is to watermark your table and prevent unauthorized copying and distribution. If your table contains sensitive information, you should definitely add a watermark.

Place your cursor where you want the watermark to be, and click Insert> WordArt. Select your preferred style and enter the watermark text in the Your text here box.

Draw a table with watermark

Drag and drop the box wherever you want in the table.

5. Color code of your table

You can color code your table to highlight certain key information. This is ideal for easy reference when working with large tables that have a lot of data.

To color a single cell, place your mouse pointer in the cell and click once the black pointer arrow appears. Click on the Shadows and choose a color to apply to your selection.

Drawing table color code table

You can also apply a single color to an entire row or column by highlighting the row or column. It also makes your table visually appealing. With Draw Table, the sky is the limit. You can cut, copy, paste, delete, distribute, auto adjust, insert text, insert caption, and even add comments.

You can also access the Table properties from where you can make additional changes to table, rows, columns, cells and alt text.

Related: How to Add a Table to Your Gmail Messages

Tabulate your Microsoft Word documents with more flexibility

DIY or not, hand drawing your own tables gives you a certain level of control and input over the look and feel of your tables. You can create just about any type of table you can imagine in Microsoft Word and customize it accordingly using Draw Table. So go ahead and be creative.

You can also use Draw Table in combination with other methods of adding tables in Microsoft Word for more variety and customization. If you use tables a lot in your work, it can help you improve your table game.


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