Working With Tables: Is it Even a Table?

How do you know if text is in a table? In the first post in this series, we saw that tab marks and multiple spaces can help you spot text that has been “typewritered” into a table. Gridlines are a dead giveaway that you’re looking at a table, but what if there are no gridlines? How can you tell then?

  1. Click “view gridlines.”
  2. Look for cell end characters.
  3. Look for the Layout ribbon.

These are all really quick checks. Here’s how to do each one.

View Gridlines

  1. Place the cursor in the suspect text.
  2. On the Home ribbon, click the Borders icon in the Paragraph group to open the drop-down menu of options (shown at right).
  3. Click on View Gridlines.
  4. If the light-grey borders appear, revealing a table, you win!

Cell End Characters

cell end character
  1. On the Home ribbon, click the Show/Hide ¶ icon, or press the shortcut:
    Mac: cmd + 8
    Windows: ctrl + *
  2. Look for cell end characters at the end of what would be cells. They look like a blue circle with blue lines radiating out from the “corners.” (shown here)

Layout Ribbon

  1. Place the cursor in the suspect text.
  2. Look at the ribbon for a tab called Layout. If that has appeared, it’s probably a table. 99.9% certain.

Demo Video

See these tips in action!


Text may be in a text box rather than a table. If this is the case, you can see the border of the box when you click on the text, or when you right-click on the text, the context menu that pops open will contain the option to Edit Text.

Check out all the other posts in this series about Working with Tables and download your free multimedia ebook of them all!

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