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How to Select Columns, Rows and Cells in a Word Table

written by: Krystyne20•edited by: Michele McDonough•updated: 5/4/2010

Learn how easy it is to select single or multiple columns, rows and cells in a Microsoft Word table. Also find out how you can quickly select the entire Word table with one click.

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    How to Select an Entire Word Table

    It is very easy to select an entire Word table. All it takes is one click of your mouse. Just hover your mouse pointer anywhere over the Word table. Look at the top left corner of the table and you will see an icon that looks like a 4-sided arrow. This icon is called the Table Selection Handle. Clicking this icon will select the entire Word table. You'll know that the table is selected when it is highlighted in black.

    Alternatively, you can also select a Word table by clicking Table on the menu bar, then choose Select, and then Table. If you prefer to use keyboard shortcuts, just place your cursor anywhere in the table and press ALT+5 (use the 5 on the number keypad, but turn NumLock off).

    Table Selection Handle 

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    How to Select a Column in a Word Table

    To select a column in a Word table, hover your mouse over the top of the column until the mouse pointer turns into a small black down arrow. Then click your left mouse button and the column will be selected. You will know that the column is selected when it is highlighted in black.

    To select multiple columns in a Word table that are next to each other (contiguous columns), simply select one column as noted above while dragging your mouse to the left or right. This technique will select contiguous table columns. Alternatively, you can select one column, and then hold down the SHIFT key and use your left and right arrow keys on your keyboard to select additional columns.

    To select columns that are NOT next to each other (non-contiguous columns), select one column, then hold down the CTRL key while selecting more columns with your mouse.

    selecting column 

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    How to Select a Row in a Word Table

    To select a row in a Word table, hover your mouse to the left of the row until the mouse pointer turns into a large white arrow. Then click your left mouse button to select the row. You'll know that a row is selected when it is highlighted in black.

    To select multiple rows that are next to each other (contiguous rows), select one row, then drag up or down with your mouse to select more rows. Alternatively, you can select one row, then hold down the SHIFT key and use your up and down arrow keys on your keyboard to select additional rows.

    To select multiple rows that are NOT next to each other (non-contiguous rows), select one row, then hold down the CTRL key while selecting more rows with your mouse.

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    How to Select Cells in a Word Table

    To select a cell in a Word table, hover your mouse to the left side of the cell that you want to select. You will see your mouse pointer turn into a small black arrow. When you see the arrow, click your left mouse button and the cell will be selected. You will know that the cell is selected when it is highlighted in black.

    To select multiple cells that are next to each other (contiguous cells), select one cell as noted above and then drag left, right, up or down with your mouse to select more cells. Alternatively, you can select one cell, then hold down the SHIFT key and use your up, down, left and right arrow keys on your keyboard to select additional cells.

    To select multiple cells that are NOT next to each other (non-contiguous cells), select one cell, then hold down the CTRL key while selecting more cells with your mouse.

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    Conclusion

    Knowing how to properly select portions of a table helps immensely when inserting and deleting rows or columns, adding borders or shading, changing font, text color, etc. Now that you have learned the proper techniques for selecting rows, columns, cells and the entire table, it should make formatting your table much easier.