Technology

Formatting Tables

In preparing business documentation, there is often a need to present large amounts of numerical and statistical information. It is really useful to be able to present such information in a table.

Do you prefer information presented like this:

The most preferred forms of physical activity for women are walking (67%), swimming (23%) and aerobics (21%), whereas men prefer walking (48%), jogging/running (22%) and football (22%).

or do you prefer information like this.

 
Women
Men
Walking
67%
48%
Swimming
23%
18%
Jogging/running
14%
22%
Aerobics
21%
12%
Football
2%
22%

Which do you think is easier to read?

Furthermore, what would happen if there were a lot more statistics. Is it sensible to write lots of numbers in a paragraph? No, not really!

Therefore you need to be adept at using tables to present data.

Here are some sample tables using Microsoft Word

Sample A is the type of table that usually occurs. It is not glamorous and the figures are somewhat squashed up i.e. there is not much white space between lines and figures. This is the type of table you end up with if you have no skills!

Sample B is an improvement in so much as there is much better spacing. This is achieved by clicking any where inside the table and then selecting "Table Properties" on the table menu (see picture on right).

Then selection Options in Table Properties (see picture below)

Finally change the Default Cell Margins from 0cm to 0.15cm (suggested). This will give your table a much better look.

 

Sample C and D are just the same as Sample B but with shading of the top row (use Borders and Shading which you will find in the Format menu). In sample D the shading is black and therefore the text is white.

Sample E is a tricky table. It looks as if there is no table, but there is! The trick is to change the line colour to white.

Sample F is nearly the same as Sample E except there are two line which are colour black whereas the other lines are white.

 
 

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