how can I automatically straighten columns of information within Microsoft Word 2013?

Hello and Good Afternoon Everyone,

            I have created 3 columns of information within Microsoft Word 2013 which is not straight.  Seeing that it would be very time consuming to manually take each one to straighten, I am wondering if there might be some automatic way of straightening each column.  

            Thank you

            George
GMartinAsked:
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dovidfCEOCommented:
Insert a table with 3 columns and they will line up.

Move the insertion pointer to the location where you want the table in your document. ...
Click the Insert tab.
Click the Table button.
Drag the mouse through the grid to create in your document a table that has the number of rows and columns you need for the table.

If you want the borders to be invisible

Select the table.
Click on the Table Tools. | Design tab on the Ribbon (2nd from right).
Click the drop-down arrow that's next to the "Borders" control on that Ribbon, then click on "All Borders" on the drop-down menu that appears.

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Paul SauvéRetiredCommented:
Hi George,

i imagine that each line of the column ends with a carriage return (i.e. that you pressed the Enter key at the end of each line to create a new paragraph, as opposed to using Shift-Enter which creates a new line).

you can check this by clicking on the pilcrow sign (¶) in the Home tab ―> Paragraph group

if so, then select all the lines in the three columns and click on Align Text Left option in the Paragraph group

Paul
DrTribosCommented:
Hi George,

I'm guessing that the columns are separated by spaces, perhaps?, but not tabs...

That being the case you might need to condition your data... if each column is a single word then you could do this using find - replace...

Find " " (space) and replace with ^t  (tab)  then you could select all the data and convert to a table...

If your data is more complex than a string of text separated by a space then you might need to upload a sample so a better find-replace expression can be formulated.

Cheers,
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dovidfCEOCommented:
In a table you don't have to condition the data. You can set the table cells to expand to the text either vertically or horizontally and you can move from one column  to the next by clicking on the next column pressing tab
DrTribosCommented:
Hi dovidf

OP stated he has 3 columns of data, and said nothing about a table.  How do you propose the OP converts the 3 columns of data into a table?

Seeing that it would be very time consuming to manually take each one to straighten, I am wondering if there might be some automatic way of straightening each column.  

Perhaps this bit that comes after conditioning was a little buried...
then you could select all the data and convert to a table...
dbruntonQuid, Me Anxius Sum?  Illegitimi non carborundum.Commented:
This really depends on how you've created your columns of data.  And I don't think there is an easy solution if you have done what I think you've done.

If you've used tables then those should keep your data lined up straight.

If you've used tabs and selected the correct tabs to use and allowed sufficient space then those should line up straight.

If however you've used the spacebar to put spacing between your columns then there is NO easy solution.  Which is quite possibly what you have done.  This method DOES NOT work as font characters have different widths (unless you use fixed spacing fonts like Courier which are ugly).

Now how have you created your columns?
GMartinAuthor Commented:
Hi Everyone,

            I am sorry but I should have been a little more specific with respect to how the columns were created.  They were created using the space bar and not the tab key.    I did experimentally try out the option of creating a table for this data.  While I did figure out how to match up the number of columns to my data, I am finding it a bit more complex for the rows.  For instance, what should I do if the number of rows exceed what is given with the built-in templates?  And, secondly, is it possible to simply highlight the data for each cell or block and drag it into the table?

           George
DrTribosCommented:
Yes. You can highlight the data then use 'convert text to table'
dovidfCEOCommented:
You can also click on the last row and select insert rows to add as many as you want
Paul SauvéRetiredCommented:
here is how i would approach the problem

select the columns and change the document to ONE column

select the entire document and change the font style for a fixed-width font such as Courier this makes the document a bit easier to read, but you can change it back later

click on the pilcrow sign (¶) in the Home tab ―> Paragraph group, now you should easily see all the spaces as dots in your document

i imagine that most of the lines in your existing document will have multiple spaces at the end. use the Home tab ―> Replace function on the right to change, say all occurrences of 3 spaces by a 'paragraph'space to paragraph
this is how your document may look afterwards:Regular-text.docx

now, use Home tab ―> Replace to replace double or triple paragraphs by a single paragraph

you can use my document to try it out first

Paul SauvéRetiredCommented:
forgot to mention:
you can copy the columns into a new document to make the changes

once everything is done, select entire document and change font back to original

select the paragraphs and reformat as three columns

copy the columns back to original document
dbruntonQuid, Me Anxius Sum?  Illegitimi non carborundum.Commented:
>>  I did experimentally try out the option of creating a table for this data.  While I did figure out how to match up the number of columns to my data, I am finding it a bit more complex for the rows.  For instance, what should I do if the number of rows exceed what is given with the built-in templates?

You create your basic table with the correct number of columns.  Number of rows doesn't matter.

There are a number of ways to create more rows.  Generally make sure your cursor is in the table.  Usually you right click in the table and you'll have an option to Insert Rows.  You'll usually add them below your present position.
GMartinAuthor Commented:
Hello and Good Evening Everyone,

           I guess hindsight is always 20/20.   I solved this problem by simply starting over from scratch and creating a table which is what I should have done in the beginning this project.  Inserting the data in each of the columns was easy in addition to the columns being straight now.  Whenever I needed to add rows, I simply clicked on the + sign at the lower left corner of the table template.  Everything turned out much easier than expected.  My project is now complete and I am happy :-)

            Thanks everyone for your attention and feedback given to my question.  

            George
dovidfCEOCommented:
Thanks
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