You don’t need to create a table from scratch every time. You can convert a selection of existing text into a table, as long as it’s properly formatted. You can also convert an existing table into regular text, in case you want to keep the data but don’t need it in a table.
If you have a lot of text already formatted properly, you can quickly turn it into a table.
- Select the text and make sure it’s properly formatted.
Word will insert a new column when a tab character is found, so make sure that columns are separated by tabs.
- Click the Insert tab.
- Click the Table button.
- Select Convert Text to Table.
If the text was formatted right, some of the options in this dialog box should already be filled in. Otherwise, set the number of columns and rows, and how to separate the text into columns.
- (Optional) Customize AutoFit behavior.
- Click OK.
The selected text is automatically turned into a table.
You can also convert an existing table back into plain text. This frees up the text from the table, so that you can keep the table’s data without the strict table formatting.
- With the table selected, click the Layout tab.
- Expand the Data group, if necessary.
- Click the Convert to Text button.
- Choose how you want the cells separated.
You can separate the columns with new paragraph marks, tabs, or commas. You could also specify another custom separator.
- Click OK.
The table is converted back to text.