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Author Topic: Question About MS Word Lists & Tables  (Read 4530 times)
J-Mac
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« on: September 23, 2009, 01:06:53 PM »

Here's hoping that we have a Word expert here at DC. Or at least more expert than I!

Is there any way to get a list into a table in Word? I have Office 2003 on my desktop and Office 2007 on my notebook, so replies regarding either are fine with me. I want to know how I can copy a list - of sentences, of phrases, of words; whatever the case, but a text-based list - and either paste that list directly into a table, or paste the list onto a new page and then somehow format the list so that it becomes a table. Just a simple table; it can be one column wide or more, and as many rows as the list is long. BTW, if there is a way to do this in OneNote 2007 that would be just as welcome!

This is not for a specific project, but for any old time. There are so many times that I copy a list from a web page or from another application and I want to put the contents into a table. And right now the only way I know to do that is to paste the list into OneNote or Word, create a table, and then move each single, stinking, rotten word or line into its own cell. Sometimes I highlight and then drag-and-drop each piece of text, and other times I copy and paste them. And it is maddeningly slow, time consuming! Occasionally pasting the entire list into a table column works, but most of the time the entire list squashes into one cell instead of filling the column. Blah! I keep thinking that there must be a way to do this; I can't believe that everyone goes through this terribly slow process of cut/paste, cut/paste over and over again like me. I would guess that a macro could be recorded or written to do this but my own attempts at it have failed.

So if anyone knows how to get a list into a table quickly and easily, please do tell!

Thanks!

Jim
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katykaty
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« Reply #1 on: September 23, 2009, 02:14:59 PM »

You're reliant on the consistency of the original list, but if you're feeling lucky:

Paste it into a blank document, select it, then Table, Convert, Text To Table.

If it's consistently formatted Word should guess the layout and therefore the number of rows and columns. If not you can try to force it yourself but you'd need to be lucky.
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cranioscopical
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« Reply #2 on: September 23, 2009, 02:20:35 PM »

...or,

just paste in your text, select what you pasted and choose Table/Autoformat (2003)
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Chris
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« Reply #3 on: September 23, 2009, 04:26:07 PM »

Depending on how long the list is it may be worth a bit of quick massaging with Search and Replace to insert some characters to use as delimiters to help the program convert to a table with less errors.
If you have excel as well, it may be worth pasting into that and then using convert to columns where you can use either fixed length fields or delimiters. Again, you can do this in 2 or 3 stages so as to isolate one column by delimiters and then the remainder split by field length etc.
It all depends on how many items there are in the list how much trouble you can take massaging before it becomes just as quick to enter it bit by bit
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AndyM
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« Reply #4 on: September 23, 2009, 08:44:09 PM »

What happens when you copy the list from wherever and then just paste it into a blank Word document?
« Last Edit: September 23, 2009, 09:03:24 PM by AndyM » Logged
J-Mac
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« Reply #5 on: September 23, 2009, 10:39:33 PM »

Aha! Table>Autoformat did the trick, but...  only after I inserted a hard break after each line. Leaving the text as pasted caused it all to go into one cell, which was the problem all along. So I guess I'll have to manually add a lot of hard returns whenever I want to do this, but it's still a heck of a lot easier than moving each line into a table cell one by one!

Searching online wasn't coming up with much useful; then again Google has been so subverted by SEO that it is difficult to find relevant results until you blow past the first couple hundred it seems. Sad really. And my Word Help file crashed and wouldn't start again. (Never, ever had a Help file crash before?!?!)

Thanks all.

Jim

BTW, Andy - Exactly what you would expect: the text is pasted normally onto the page. It was getting it into a table with each line in a separate cell that was stumping me.  Yet I am guessing that you have more in mind. What is your idea? All advice is appreciated!
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Perry Mowbray
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« Reply #6 on: September 23, 2009, 11:25:41 PM »

I think what Andy would be getting at is that one of the formats on the Clipboard may have been a Table (depending on what you were copying from).
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J-Mac
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« Reply #7 on: September 23, 2009, 11:27:43 PM »

I think what Andy would be getting at is that one of the formats on the Clipboard may have been a Table (depending on what you were copying from).

OK, I still don't quite get it. If I highlight and copy, say, a list in a post here. How would my clipboard have a table format? I'm not saying that it doesn't; just that if it does, I sure never knew about it!

Thanks!

Jim
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Perry Mowbray
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« Reply #8 on: September 23, 2009, 11:34:19 PM »

Aha! Table>Autoformat did the trick, but...  only after I inserted a hard break after each line.

Using Find-Replace should be an easy way to change those pesky end of lines:
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Perry Mowbray
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« Reply #9 on: September 23, 2009, 11:36:06 PM »

I think what Andy would be getting at is that one of the formats on the Clipboard may have been a Table (depending on what you were copying from).

OK, I still don't quite get it. If I highlight and copy, say, a list in a post here. How would my clipboard have a table format? I'm not saying that it doesn't; just that if it does, I sure never knew about it!

You're right, but if you go to a web page with a table on it, I'm pretty sure that when you paste it'll use the html version of the Clipboard. You can always use PasteSpecial to paste other formats (if available).

OK: I've just tried it over on a table at W3Schools and you have to ensure that you select the full table. Copying a bit of the text before and after ensures this.
« Last Edit: September 23, 2009, 11:41:19 PM by Perry Mowbray » Logged

J-Mac
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« Reply #10 on: September 24, 2009, 01:57:34 AM »

OK, you mean if I copy a table. But I'm talking about copying lists only.

BTW, copy/paste table from the web works about half the time, in my experience.

Thank you.

Jim
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J-Mac
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« Reply #11 on: September 24, 2009, 01:58:03 AM »

Aha! Table>Autoformat did the trick, but...  only after I inserted a hard break after each line.

Using Find-Replace should be an easy way to change those pesky end of lines: (see attachment in previous post)

I'll try that. Thanks!

Jim
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AndyM
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« Reply #12 on: September 24, 2009, 06:45:54 AM »

One easy way to force a list into a table in Word is to first paste it into Excel, and then copy it from there and paste it into Word.  Particularly if it's only a one-column list, Word will automatically assume anything coming from Excel should be a table.  And Excel will almost always give each line in the list a row in the spreadsheet, which when pasted into Word will definitely result in a table.

Otherwise, table results in Word are sometimes hard to predict.  Sometimes creating the table first and then pasting the list into the first cell of the table works, sometimes it just puts everything in that one cell.

Quote
the text is pasted normally onto the page.

Turn on Show Formatting and tell us what is at the end of each line (paragraph mark, tab, soft-return, etc.) of your pasted list.  You might not have to do a Search& Replace to get your list into a table.
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AndyM
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« Reply #13 on: September 24, 2009, 06:51:30 AM »

One easy way to force a list into a table in Word is to first paste it into Excel, and then copy it from there and paste it into Word.  Particularly if it's only a one-column list, Word will automatically assume anything coming from Excel should be a table.  And Excel will almost always give each line in the list a row in the spreadsheet, which when pasted into Word will definitely result in a table.

Results are less often satisfactory with multi-columned lists, but at times I've found it easier to first use Excel's importing tools to get the columns right than to do it immediately in Word.  Also some formatting tasks are easier in Excel than in Word.

Otherwise, table results in Word are sometimes hard to predict.  Sometimes creating the table first and then pasting the list into the first cell of the table works, sometimes it just puts everything in that one cell, or puts a whole new table in the first cell (not necessarily a bad thing, you can cut and paste it from there).

Quote
the text is pasted normally onto the page.

Turn on Show Formatting and tell us what is at the end of each line (paragraph mark, tab, soft-return, etc.) of your pasted list.  You might not have to do a Search& Replace to get your list into a table.  If the list is more than one column, are there tabs between the fields in each line/row?  From the way you described your source lists, I'm assuming they aren't fixed length fields.
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cranioscopical
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« Reply #14 on: September 24, 2009, 07:09:44 AM »

Aha! Table>Autoformat did the trick, but...  only after I inserted a hard break after each line.

Using Find-Replace should be an easy way to change those pesky end of lines: (see attachment in previous post)

I'll try that. Thanks!

Jim
Not to encourage using a steam hammer to crack a walnut, but a tiny Word macro to replace breaks and then table/autoformat might alleviate the annoyance level. I don't use Word but if it has some kind of bookmark function to locate cursor position you should be able to coax it to paste and then make the selection for you as well. (Table/autoformat separates text with hard breaks into cells e.g. text editor, btw, so it depends on the source from which you copy.)
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Chris
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