All versions of Word have given users the ability to arrange text into a Table format – an ideal way to present information in the form of a list with defined Rows, Columns and Cells. However, making structural changes to a Table, like adding additional Rows and Columns to an existing Table, has always meant making sure that your cursor was in the proper Row or Column and then taking a trip with your mouse to the top of the screen to use the various Insert Row and Column tools provided on the Table Tools Layout tab as pictured below:
Now, these tools were not difficult to use, but they were out of the way when you were working in a Table and you had to keep moving your mouse to the top of the screen. Also, if you were not aware of what Row or Column your cursor was in at the time you used one of the buttons, you’d end up with the new Row or Column in the wrong position in your Table.
This makes it faster and more intuitive to add the new Rows and Columns you need without having to move your mouse out of the Table and up to the Ribbons.
The other Table tools that have been enhanced are the tools that let you enhance the thickness, color or style of borders in your Tables. In past versions of Word, you’d first have to select the Rows, Columns or Cells whose borders you wished to enhance and then use the drop down menu from the Borders button and make the correct choice of which Border (top, bottom, outside, inside, etc.) you wished to enhance. This menu was easy to misinterpret and you’d end up with an incorrect border choice that you’d have to undo and try again:
Or, you could have used this menu to open the Borders & Shading dialog box, which was also a non-intuitive and time consuming box to work with:
First, the Border Painter. In order to use this tool, you must first be in an existing Table so the Table tools contextual tabs are present. Then on the Table Tools Design tab, select the style, color and weight (thickness) of your desired Border Style. This automatically turns on the Border Painter as pictured below:
Your mouse pointer will now look like a pen, and you simply drag your mouse over the borders you wish to enhance and they will acquire the border style you want as pictured below:
You will then see a palette of existing Border Styles as well as Recently Used Custom Border Styles. All you need to do is select the Border Style you wish to reproduce. Your mouse pointer will then look like a pen, and you can copy the selected Border Style over any additional Border segments you wish to enhance.
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