How To Convert a Table To Text in Word

Microsoft Word, a staple in document creation and editing, offers a myriad of functions designed to enhance productivity and efficiency. One such versatile feature is the ability to convert tables into text.

This article explores the Convert function in Word, detailing how to transform a table to text, the benefits of doing so, and the utilization of keyboard shortcuts and command line options to streamline the process.

How To Convert a Table To Text in Word


What is the Convert Function in Word?

The Convert function in Microsoft Word allows users to change the format of data within the document. This includes converting tables into plain text, which can be useful in various editing and formatting scenarios.

The function is designed to provide flexibility in how content is presented and edited within Word documents.

Can I Convert a Table to Text in Word?

Yes, converting a table into text in Microsoft Word is not only possible but also a straightforward process. This function helps users who need to simplify complex table data into a more manageable text format, making the information easier to edit and format.

Is it Safe to Convert a Table to Text in Word?

Converting a table to text in Word is a safe process that does not affect the integrity of your data. However, once the conversion is done, the original table format is lost unless you undo the action immediately or have a saved version of the document.

It’s advisable to ensure that the table does not need to remain in its original form before converting it to text.

How to Convert a Table to Text in Word

Here’s a step-by-step guide to converting a table to text in Microsoft Word:

Step 1: Select the Table

Click on the table that you want to convert to text. You can select the entire table or just specific rows or columns depending on your needs.

Step 2: Convert to Text

  1. Go to the Layout tab under Table Tools in the ribbon.
  2. Find the Data group and click on Convert to Text.
  3. In the dialog box that appears, you can choose how you want to separate the text. Options typically include tabs, commas, or other custom characters. Select the option that best suits how you want your data organized.
  4. Click OK to apply the conversion.

Where is Text Formatting in Word?

Text formatting in Word is primarily found under the Home tab in the ribbon. This tab includes options for font adjustments, paragraph settings, and styling options. For more advanced formatting features, other tabs like Insert, Design, and Layout may be used.

Benefits of Converting Tables to Text in Word

Converting tables to text can offer several advantages:

  • Enhanced Editability: Text is easier to edit and format compared to table cells.
  • Improved Document Flow: Text flows more naturally within a document, which can enhance readability and layout.
  • Versatility in Content Use: Text can be easily copied, pasted, and adjusted without the constraints of table borders.

Alternative Method: Using Keyboard Shortcuts

For those who prefer using keyboard shortcuts for efficiency, the process of converting a table to text can be expedited:

  1. Select the table.
  2. Press Alt, then J, then L to jump to the Layout tab under Table Tools.
  3. Press K to open the Convert to Text dialog box.
  4. Use arrow keys to select your desired separator and press Enter to finalize the conversion.

How to Convert a Table to Text in Word Using CMD and Shortcuts

While there is no direct command line interface within Microsoft Word, you can use Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) scripts to automate tasks like converting tables to text.

Here’s a simple example of how you might write a VBA script to convert the first table in a document to text using commas as separators:

Sub ConvertTableToText()
     Dim doc As Document
     Set doc = ActiveDocument
     doc.Tables(1).ConvertToText Separator:=wdSeparateByCommas
End Sub

You can run this script from the VBA editor in Word, which can be opened by pressing Alt + F11.

Expanding Your Mastery of Word’s Convert Function

Understanding and utilizing Microsoft Word’s Convert function for tables can significantly streamline how you manage and format content in your documents. Here are further insights and tips to maximize the utility of this feature and enhance your productivity in Word.

Advanced Usage Scenarios

While the basic conversion of tables to text is straightforward, several advanced scenarios can benefit from deeper understanding and strategic use:

Document Automation

For users who frequently need to convert tables as part of a larger document processing task, automating this process using VBA scripts, as mentioned earlier, can save considerable time. Automating the conversion can be particularly useful in scenarios like report generation, data presentation, or preparing documents for publication where consistency and efficiency are crucial.

Integrating with Other Word Functions

After converting a table to text, you might want to further process the text using Word’s other powerful functions. For example, you could use Find and Replace to clean up or modify the text, apply Styles for consistent formatting, or use SmartArt to visually represent the newly formatted text.

Tips for Handling Complex Data

Tables often contain complex data that might not convert cleanly into text. Here are some tips to manage this complexity:

  • Pre-Conversion Formatting: Before converting a table to text, adjust the table’s formatting to simplify the data. This might include aligning text within cells or merging cells to maintain logical data grouping post-conversion.
  • Post-Conversion Review: Always review the text after conversion. This check can help you catch and correct issues like misplaced delimiters or misaligned data, which are common when converting more complex tables.

Customizing Separators for Specific Needs

While Word offers default separators like tabs and commas during the conversion process, choosing the right separator can make a significant difference, especially when preparing data for use in other applications like spreadsheets or databases:

  • Use Tabs for Spreadsheet Import: If you plan to import the converted text into a spreadsheet, using tabs as separators can help ensure that the data aligns correctly into columns.
  • Use Commas for CSV Files: If you’re preparing data to be saved as a CSV file, use commas. Ensure that the text does not contain additional commas that could disrupt the format.

Keyboard Shortcuts to Enhance Efficiency

Leveraging keyboard shortcuts can dramatically speed up your workflow in Word. Beyond the basic shortcuts for converting tables, consider integrating these into your routine:

  • Ctrl + Z: Immediately undo the conversion if the results are not as expected.
  • Ctrl + Y: Redo actions if you undo too many steps.
  • Ctrl + F: Quickly find text in the document to review or replace after conversion.

Learning More Through Templates and Tutorials

For those looking to deepen their understanding of Word’s capabilities, including using the Convert function effectively:

  • Microsoft’s Online Resources: Microsoft offers tutorials and templates that can provide guidance and practice opportunities.
  • Online Courses: Websites like LinkedIn Learning, Coursera, and Udemy offer courses on Microsoft Word that cover a wide range of features from basic to advanced levels.


The ability to convert tables to text in Microsoft Word is a powerful feature that enhances document editing flexibility. Whether through the graphical interface, keyboard shortcuts, or VBA scripts, understanding how to use this function effectively can significantly improve your document management efficiency.

FAQ: Using the Convert Function in Microsoft Word

Q1. What does the Convert function do in Microsoft Word?

Answer: The Convert function in Microsoft Word allows users to change the format of certain elements within a document. One common use is to convert tables into plain text, which can help with editing and formatting tasks.

Q2. Can I convert a table to text in Microsoft Word?

Answer: Yes, you can convert a table to text in Microsoft Word. This feature is useful for simplifying complex tables or when you need text format for further processing.

Q3. Is it safe to convert a table to text in Word?

Answer: Yes, converting a table to text in Word is safe and does not affect the integrity of the data within the table. However, it’s important to note that once converted, the original table format is lost unless you undo the action immediately or have saved a previous version of the document.

Q4. How do I convert a table to text in Microsoft Word?


  • Select the table you want to convert.
  • Go to the “Layout” tab under “Table Tools” in the ribbon.
  • Click on “Convert to Text” in the “Data” group.
  • Choose the desired separator for your text, such as tabs or commas, and click “OK”.

Q5. Where can I find text formatting options in Microsoft Word?

Answer: Text formatting options in Microsoft Word are primarily located under the “Home” tab in the ribbon. Here, you can find tools for font adjustment, paragraph settings, styles, and other formatting features.

Q6. What are the benefits of converting tables to text in Word?


  • Flexibility: Text is easier to edit and format than table data.
  • Compatibility: Text can be used more readily in other types of documents or exported to different programs.
  • Simplicity: Reduces the complexity of the document if large tables are making it cumbersome to navigate.

Q7. What is the difference between rebooting and resetting a computer in the context of document recovery in Word?

Answer: Rebooting a computer simply restarts the operating system and can resolve minor software issues without affecting files, while resetting a computer typically restores it to factory settings, potentially erasing all documents unless they are backed up.

Q8. What is the best method to convert a table to text if I use keyboard shortcuts?


  • Select the table you wish to convert.
  • Press “Alt + J, L, K” sequentially (this will take you through the “Table Tools” > “Layout” > “Convert to Text”).
  • Choose your separator and confirm with “Enter”.

Q9. Can I use command line tools or shortcuts to automate the conversion of tables to text in Word?

Answer: While there is no direct command-line interface for Microsoft Word, you can automate repetitive tasks, including converting tables to text, using Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) scripts. You can execute these scripts from the VBA editor, which you can open by pressing “Alt + F11”.

Q10. Does converting a table to text in Word require any specific settings or preparations?

Answer: No specific settings are required, but it’s helpful to ensure that your table data is well-organized and that you choose an appropriate text separator during the conversion process to maintain the data’s structure.

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