Tables can be difficult to read. Adding shaded bands to a table improves readability and really makes it look better. Here’s how you can add bands to your Excel tables.
Insert a table in Word
First, you need to add a table. Switch to the “Insert” tab and then click the “Table” button.
The dropdown menu allows you to create your own table or use one of Microsoft’s built-in tables. To find these built-in tables, hover your mouse over “Quick Tables” and another menu will appear. Here you can select the table you need: calendars, tabular lists, tables with captions, etc.
If the table style you want is not in the built-in list, there are several options for creating your own. One of the quickest options, assuming you’ll only need a 10×8 or smaller table, is to use Word’s table builder.
Back in the “Table” menu, hover your mouse over the number of columns and rows you want. For example, if you wanted a table that had four columns and five rows, it would look like this:
If you need something bigger than that, first click on the “Insert Table…” option.
The Insert Table window allows you to create a table with up to 63 columns and 32,767 rows. In addition, it allows you to manipulate the autofit behavior and save your settings for future tables. Enter your table specifications, select your autofit preferences, and then click “OK.” In this example, we will create a 4 × 15 table.
Add borders and shading
Let’s play a little with our table. First, let’s remove some of the borders, starting with the top row.
On our top row, we’re going to delete the left, right, and top border, leaving the bottom one. To do so, highlight the entire top row. In the “Design” tab, click on “Borders”.
In the menu that appears, deselect Top, Left, Right, and Inner Borders.
Next, highlight all but the first and second rows in the first column, return to the border menu, and deselect the bottom, top, left, and inside borders.
Finally, in the first column, highlight the box in the second row, go back to the border menu, and deselect Left Border.
We should now have a table that looks like this:
Let’s try to improve readability by adding dashes to our table. Highlight the second row of your table. Under the “Design” tab, select “Shading.”
Select the color you would like to use for your highlighted row. We will select the lightest shade of blue.
As you can see, the second row will be a light blue shade. Go ahead and repeat this for every even row. Once you do, your table will look like this:
We now have a custom table with striped rows. There are a lot of things you can do with this feature, so play around with it and build the best table you can.