Learn: The Table Draw Tool For PowerPoint Tutorial

About this lesson

The PowerPoint Table Draw tool can help transform ideas into tables. Learn all about this tool in our in-depth tutorial for both Windows and macOS.

We cover the gotchas and optimization tricks to sketch out and then refine your ideas into PowerPoint Tables. And the trick when the table draw tool seems to fail.

Plus the cool technique of putting a table on top or inside of another table.


00:33 The Assignment to Build a PowerPoint Table
01:11 Versions PowerPoint with Table Draw
01:24 Ways to Insert a Table
01:58 How to Get Draw Table Commands on Apple Mac
02:25 Drawing The Table Outline
03:28 The TABLE DESIGN Context Menu
03:47 How NOT to Draw – Draw Table Columns Not Working!
04:18 TIP: How to SUCCESSFULLY Draw in Columns and Rows
05:25 Drawing Partial Rows or Columns
06:58 Table Border Erase
07:53 Change Table Border Properties: Color, Width, and Dotted
08:50 Drawing Diagonal Cell Borders
09:40 How To Put a Table On Top of a Table
10:25 Turning Off Table Border
11:10 Change Column Widths
12:00 Auto Distribute Columns and Rows – Evenly
12:44 AutoFit Columns in PowerPoint Table – Double Click
13:14 Changing Row Heights in PowerPoint Table
13:33 Formatting the Table
13:45 Center Text in Table Cell – Horizontal and Vertical
14:14 Color Fill Table Cell


Subject Microsoft PowerPoint

Software Compatibility Windows and macOS - Desktop/Laptop Programs


Course Completed

PDF Files There are not any files associated with this lesson.



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(MUSIC) There are multiple ways to add a PowerPoint table. But there may be situations where the typical set of even rows and columns do not match your visual goal than that draw table tool is the solution to transform your ideas into a PowerPoint table. Hi, this is Les from power-up.training. Let me power you up to creating PowerPoint tables by drawing. Let’s go, okay, you’re sitting in a meeting with your boss who comes up with another, another crazy idea of how to change the support schedule for the staff and the store. And you watch as they sketch out their idea on paper. And you’re thinking, OH, NO! and yes, they shove the paper over to you and say, “Go make this into a PowerPoint table.” Well, let’s go do it. So here’s an empty slide canvas with a copy of the boss’s sketch of our reference. I’m using Office 365 on a Windows computer. But this works going back as far as office 2013. But for Mac users hang in there for a few minutes for me to show you this secret trick to reveal the draw table command. To build a simple grid table, you could just click the Insert ribbon tab menu and use the drop down table menu. To find the different techniques insert a table, including this matrix approach where you need to figure out the layout of advance, this will work, but we want to build this visually to match our boss’s conceptual drawing. So I’m going to delete this out and start again. Now back to the Insert Menu, and select table and then bind the drop table command. And we’re going to now sketch out the outer boundary of our table, a Mac users that draw table command is missing. So the secret trick is to insert the table using the old matrix way. And then the magical table Design Menu appears on the Ribbon Menu, where once you click on it, you’re gonna find that all the draw table commands that you’re going to see in the rest of this video appear even if you delete the original matrix table. So back in Windows, we just drew the table. And yes, we see the same table design context menu that we saw on the Mac. And when we click this new draw table Action Menu, which is different from the insert, table draw, we get a new looking and cursor icon, where we can start to draw our columns and rows. Hold on for a moment. Does this table just look like a regular rectangle? Well, let’s explore that. I’m gonna go ahead and delete this table, I’m going to go ahead now and put in a regular rectangle shape. When I do that, and go back to look for the table Design Menu is no longer there. Because this is just a simple rectangle shape, not a special table object.

So let’s go back and put a table object back in place. So Insert Menu and table and draw a table. And then we’re going to recreate the approximate dimensions of our sketch support plan table by clicking and drawing. At the top of the screen pay attention to the context aware menu of table design, it only appears when a table object is selected, click anywhere else, and it disappears. So with the table selected, and the table Design Menu showing, I’m going to click on the draw table. And we’re going to get a pen cursor appearing, which we can now use to draw our rows and columns. But it is so frustrating if we don’t know the tricks. Watch what happens when I click outside my table area. I’m not getting rows and columns. I seem to be making new tables on top of a table. Even if I try to start right on the edge of my table. I’m getting more tables. No no no no. So here’s the key trick. Start inside the table area. Click and PowerPoint will watch the direction that you’re traveling and then connect to the edges building the columns or the row depending on your movement. Start inside and all is good. Let me build out our five days. Plus weekend, plus labels for a total of seven columns. We’ll take care of the width later on. Just to confirm that we are building a table with columns. I’m gonna turn off the draw table tool to get my regular pointer icon and then click in the tables first column and use the tab keyboard command to move from column to column to column. Look for the blinking text cursor as we go through the cells. So yes, this is a seven cell, one row table. We’re on our way. Okay, let’s go back to draw a table icon. And now let’s replicate the boss’s sketch by creating the Modify set of rows. Note how I stop partway on the middle row to get the same layout. But the bottom row is trickier. And we’re going to come back and fix it in a few moments. First, I want to put in some text to see how we’re doing. Turning off the draw table, I can now click and add in the word Monday. The default text size is a bit too large for me, so into the Home Menu, and we can then bring down the font size to match the table. Do note that I selected the full table so that the font size change is applied to the full table. Even if I add more cells later on. At this point, I’m going to add in the text for my table using more explanatory descriptions for the my boss’s sketch, I do find it best to add in some, maybe not all of the text data in the creation process to see how everything is starting to take shape. It can be a time of experimentation, where I may need to go back and alter my design decisions. That is why I find it wise to do it in the middle of the creation process, not the end, as I might have to go back and make some fundamental changes to my design decisions and redo work. Here I am on the last row putting in the name of Kris for road support. But the layouts don’t match. So let’s learn about border erase. For the time being, I will remove Kris’s name, and then I’m going to make sure the table selected and go back up to the menu of table design and find the erase action icon. The cursor shape will turn into an eraser with a flashing bottom corner. Not really flashing but it looks like it’s flashing. That is the hotspot click on a line and it will erase just that segment, not the full up and down or right and left mine, just that portion connecting up to the next set of lines. Now I could add Kris’s name into the bottom row. So how to handle Bob and Sally shared responsibilities on the weekend. Well, let’s introduce the concept of changing the properties of the border before drawing them into place. As always, with the table Design Menu selected,

we can then find a drop down list for border style. Let’s see if we select a different look that we can now represent the unique shared working responsibilities for Sally and Bob. And while we’re at it, let’s also change the width of the line. Plus select a new color from a color theme. Okay, let’s select the draw table action icon and test out our new line. And now go ahead I’m going to add in Bob. Then I will use the tab key multiple times to move us to the cell below Bob and add in Sally. But now they look at it. This is not right. It does not match our sketch. It looks like Bob is supporting the storefront and Sally is assigned to the phone or the weekends. Let’s erase Sally and go back and erase this dotted line. So when I turn on the draw table action icon, we’re going to find out that we have a third motion to add in lines. And this is where that draw table tool shines. If I draw a diagonal shape, it will split the cell into two matching triangles. This is excellent and it matches our sketch all those good as I tab over to put in Sally into the new cell and oh no wait, wait, wait. There is no cell under Bob my tab key just jumps to the next row. So this diagonal line is just for looks. It does not break the big cell into two triangle cells. So how are we going to fix this? Well, I have a not too elegant trick, but it will work. Let’s put a table on a table. Remember when from the start of the tutorial, we accidentally draw a table on top of our table. Well let’s do this on purpose. I will select the draw table action icon and starting outside our boundary draw a small one cell table, where we can now put Sally on our bigger table. And since this is a separate table, the font size no longer matches the original table. So let me go back and get Sally to match with the smaller font size. And our second issue is that we have that crazy border around Sally. So let’s introduce the idea of changing borders after they’ve been drawn. With the cell selected for where Sally is, we’re then going to look under the table design, where we’re going to find the drop down border command to change the existing borders. And in our case, we want to select no border. Presto Change-O, Sally now looks like she’s in her own cell, even though she’s in a separate table. And we’re gonna find over time if we adjust the bottom layer table that we may have to come back and relocate Sally’s individual cell. For the most part, we are done recreating the basic layout our bosses sketch, let’s do some cleanup to make this looked much more presentable. I cover much of this and more in our other Power Up Training that is dedicated to all about table tutorial that is listed here. Let’s do some changes to starting with column width.

To do this, you can go in and hover the mouse over the row or column lines until you get the double line double arrow looked, then click and drag to resize. When dragging, you’re adding and subtracting widths, or heights between the side by side columns or rows. For the whole table, you almost need to come back and realign the column that you just adjusted a few moments ago. To get this just right if you’re doing it by hand, or you hit ci and use this technique. With the table selected, go to the layout contact menu and click distribute rows or distributed columns or you can do them both. And now this almost works. But it’s a pretty dumb tool, as it will only distribute equally among the columns and rows. There is no intelligence that is found in Excel or Word where those tools are aware of the content and will adjust to match. This just blindly creates equally laid out columns and or rows. So you still need to go back and tweak the layout to best fit. But I’ve got one more better trick. Once you’ve evenly distributed out the columns, go back and now for specific columns. You can go between the two columns to tell you get the double arrow cursor, then double click to autofit the content. And after doing several four columns, we can now take a look at this looks much better for the columns for the row height. Let’s grab for this next trick the bottom corner of the whole table and drag it up to tighten up the spacing in between the rows. Lastly, grab the separate salary table on table cell and move it into position. And now we’re looking pretty sharp. This next final touch is table unrelated. But let’s add some bold to the top row and the left text to give it a more dynamic look. However, what is table related is to go back the Layout menu and use both the center horizontal inside each cell and center vertical for the same cells. This puts our text right in the middle of each of the cells that the bob cell for the weekend does not look right if we center it. I want it to be in the top left corner so I’m going to go back and put it to left aligned and top aligned in the cell. Lastly, one more table formatting to show that we have no coverage for the road on Friday through Sunday. Let’s go back to the table Design Menu. And with the bottom cell selected, choose a solid color from saving to fill in the cell. And with that we now have finished transforming our bosses table sketch into a PowerPoint table starting with the draw table tool.