Trainers' thoughts on Microsoft Office products

I really like using tables in Microsoft Word. You can use tables to create some pretty nifty layouts that would otherwise be difficult in Word. In a recent training session, I was asked about a table behavior that I don’t particularly like. By default, if your table breaks across pages, Word allows the table row to also break. So if you’re creating something like a glossary, it’s quite possible for a row’s content to be split across two pages. Let’s look at how to prevent that in Word 2007 and 2010.

To change the behavior for a particular table:

  1. Select the entire table (you can make changes row by row, but it’s easier to do it for the entire table).
  2. Open the Table Properties dialog box by clicking the Layout tab and selecting Properties in the Table group, or right click in the table and select Table Properties….
  3. Click the Row tab, and uncheck Allow row to break across pages.
  4. Click OK.

You can also modify the default table style (and any particular styles you frequently use, or have created).

To modify the default Table Grid:

  1. Insert a table into a Word document (you need it to get to the Table Tools Design tab) or click in an existing table.
  2. In the Table Tools Design tab, right click the Table Grid style (it’s usually the first style in the Table Styles group) and select Modify Table Style

  3. Make sure Apply formatting to: is set to Whole table. Click Format and select Table Properties…
  4. Follow Steps 3 and 4 above.
  5. Select New documents based on this template and click OK.

Now any table you insert won’t automatically break rows across pages. Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be any way to set this as a preference, so if you use one of the other table styles, you’ll have to make adjustments to those styles.

If you want to learn more, check out some of our Microsoft Word 2010 training classes.

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9 Responses to “Table Row Breaks in Word 2010”

  1. in 2003, I could put a break in a table to create 2 tables. i can’t figure out how to do that in 2010

  2. With an already created document (300 pages), and while adjusting the formatting, I want to split a TABLE, so that one part is on one page and the rest is on the next page.
    Most of your HELP info seems designed for people working from scratch. Not in this case.

  3. How do you do a Table Break??? I used to be able to do it in previous versions of Word. Frustrating. Going to make whole new tables to make up for the missing “break” feature. Please respond. Elaine

  4. In Word- Go to “Page Layout” tab, click the drop down “Breaks”. The Table Break slection is there.

  5. I have a document where the page one table won’t break, even though all rows have the check mark.

  6. Thank you! I have long wanted a way to stop ‘Allow row to break across pages’ being on by default! Seems to me like a feature that should be off by default…

  7. I want to allow a table row to break across pages. I know how to find my way to the checkbox, as described in your guidance, but it is greyed out (and unchecked). How do I make it live again?

    My big problem with guidance sites like this is that you only tell us how it is supposed to work. Usually we can find that out for ourselves. What wwe come to your sites for is to find out what to do when it doesn’t do what it is supposed to do. When you write these notes, could you give some consideration to exceptions to the rule and make sure you highlight these?

    Many thanks.

  8. David,
    I’ve been wrestling with the same problem this week of the box being greyed out, and I finally discovered that Word will not allow you to uncheck that box IF you have any cells in the row that have font running verticle (versus the normal horizontal). Once I made that cell normal horizontal text, I was able to uncheck the “allow row to break” box, then I could go back, turn the cell text 90 degrees and the table worked the way I needed it to. Hope this helps!

  9. I’ve linked a spreadsheet into a Word document and every time I try to do an update it messes up. It used to go over 5 pages, now it puts everything on just 2 and I’m missing the middle part of the table.

    I’ve started over from scratch and when I linked the spreadsheet everything is so small I can’t read it and it’s all on 1 sheet. Please HELP!

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