Saturday, April 22, 2006

Word: Text to Table and Table to Text

Microsoft Word is an often overlooked tool in a designers toolbox. Not in actual design, but in data organization. If you are given a column of information and want to make it a row of information or select only one column of tab separated text, Word is an excellent tool.

Selecting only one column of tab separated text
There are two commands under the Table Menu, "Text to Table" and "Table to Text." This will divide any text by tabs, paragraphs, commas, or any other character into table cells (rows and columns). From there, you can select a column with the mouse (click above the column, so the cursor turns into an arrow pointed down). Then, copy the whole column to the clipboard (Ctrl+C). Open a new document, and paste the column into the new document (Ctrl+V). Now use the "Table to Text" command under the Table Menu to convert the table back into paragraph text. Now you can select any column you want and bring it into Illustrator or InDesign as its own text box. Now that each column is it's own text box. You can right justify any of the columns.

--Stephen M. James


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