Word: Convert Text to Table, or Table to Text… in 3 Clicks

There are a variety of reasons you may need to move text into (or out of) a table in Word. Sometimes you inherited a document with an odd layout, or you exported from another source, and  for whatever reason the text just looks odd. You could insert a table and copy and paste for half an hour, or you could do this little trick.


Comma delimited list transformed into a table

Starting Place: Comma (or Tab) Delimited Values

In my case, my starting values are separated by commas. This is common for a lot of text exported from other sources. But you may also run into documents that export with other delimiters, like tabs, paragraphs, semi colons, etc. Those can all be addressed.

Comma delimited list

Convert Text to Table

I am going to use the example of the comma separated values above.

1. Highlight the block of text.

2. Go to the Insert tab and select the Table dropdown. Select Convert Text to Table…

Insert tab, Table dropdown, Convert Text to Table

3. Word will guess the delimiter. In my case, Word has caught on that the values are separated by commas. Note you could change the delimiter under the Separate text at section, if Word does not pick up on it automatically.

COnvert Text to Table menu

4. Press OK and a simple table will be created with the text values you highlighted.

Simple table

Don’t forget… you have a lot of options for styles and formatting in the Table Design and Layout tabs.

Make sure you have clicked onto your table for these to appear, as they are contextual tabs.

Table Design and Layout contextual tabs

I always go for green for some reason…Table with green formatting

Convert Table to Text

Sometimes the inverse is true… you have inherited a document with a table and you need it to be converted to text. This can happen when you are trying to meet accessibility standards, or when an old table formatting just doesn’t behave well in modern versions of Office.

1. Click into your table to activate the Table Design and Layout contextual tabs.

2. Select the Layout contextual tab.

3. In the Data group, select Convert to Text.

Layout tab, data group, Convert to text button

4. You will have the option to choose how to separate your text at the existing cells. I chose Tabs for mine, but I may sometimes select Commas when I want to export as a comma separated value (CSV) file.

Convert table menu

5. The table is now a list of tab separated values, ready for you to work with outside of table formatting.List of tab separated values


What do you think, will this save you some headaches in your Word documents? I would love to hear from you!

Congratulations, Power Users!

Congratulations to our newest Power Users! For the full gallery, and more information about the WSU Microsoft Office Power User Program, please visit: wichita.edu/poweruser

  • Denise Gimlin
  • Kelly Gurik
  • Debra Haslam
  • Alma Hidalgo
  • Angie Myrtle
  • Denise Northup
  • Tisha Whitehead

2 thoughts on “Word: Convert Text to Table, or Table to Text… in 3 Clicks”

  1. Wow … I’ve been doing table-to-text the hard way, by using mail merge and creating a “directory”/list. Don’t I feel silly?! 🙂 Thanks!

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