Everyone knows how to cut-and-paste a table from Excel into Word, but did you know you can build that same table – actually, you can build a much more elegant one – in Word 2016?

So now, instead of switching back and forth from an Excel spreadsheet and a Word document, you can take advantage of the excellent Table functions built into Word 2016.

There are three easy ways to make a table in your Word document, and they all start at the “Insert” tab on your ribbon.

1. Pre-formatted table templates

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From this tab, you can pick any ready-made table that suits you.

  • All sorts of calendar templates- no more typing out each and every day into each cell
  • Matrices ranging from simple to complex
  • The double table template is especially helpful if you’re trying to keep your whole table on a single page

But maybe you’re looking for something slightly different than what Microsoft has developed. Instead of going through the trouble of adding rows and columns and adjusting height and width in the preformatted templates, you can create your own table:

2. Table menu

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Here, I’m about to create a three-by-three table.

The user interface on this function is pretty great. Put hover your mouse over the cell corresponding to the number of rows and columns you want and it’s there—even before you click, so you can see what your table is going to look like. You can add in your own flourishes—color shading, border weight, font size—as you fill the table in.

3)      Insert Table dialog box

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The good old fashioned “Insert Table…” function lets you do pretty much the same thing, but it gives you more options up front. Don’t want to adjust the size of the cells? Use the AutoFit options.

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It’s easy to confuse this function with “Draw Table,” which can be useful, but it can also be a huge waste of time because it’s much less intuitive than Microsoft would like us to think.

Now you know three ways to quickly create a table in your Word doc! And since you’ve created your table so quickly, you can spend more time actually inputting the information you needed to organize in the first place…