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How to Insert an Excel Table Into Microsoft Word

I love giving tips and tricks on how to use popular computer programs.

An open Excel table called "Inroduction.xls"

An open Excel table called "Inroduction.xls"

Inserting an Excel table into Microsoft Word may be easy. But does the result look the way you want it to? The tables in the two programs can look quite different. This tutorial will show you how to import Excel data into Word so that the table will look similar. The basic principle is to insert the data cells from the Excel spreadsheet into a Word table.

Step 1: Open a Microsoft Excel File

To start this tutorial, you will need an Excel table to practice with.

  • You may create a new Excel file, enter some data in it, and save it to your computer.
  • You may already have an Excel file with a table you want to copy.

The example above is a large Excel table called "Introduction.xls." We just open that file by double clicking, and it looks as shown above. In your case, the data and table will be different because this is just an example.

Step 2: Select All or Part of the Excel Table

The next step is to select the data from the Excel file that you want to appear in the Word document. So we need to copy all or part of that table. Select all or part of the information in the table by highlighting it.

In the example below, we selected part of the "Introduction.xls" table to insert into the Microsoft Word file.

It is a good practice to count the total number of rows and columns you have selected. This is not mandatory, but this will help you to create a nice-looking Word table of exactly the right size with borders. If you don't count the number of rows and columns, the main difference is that the Microsoft Word table that receives the data will be borderless.


Step 3: Copy the Data From the Excel Table

We need to copy the table. To do this, right-click on the highlighted part of the table which we selected in Step 2. Right-clicking brings you a menu of options. Choose the Copy option to copy the data table.

Part of the data in Introduction.xls has been selected.

Part of the data in Introduction.xls has been selected.

Step 4: Prepare the Word File to Receive the Table Data

So you have some data on the Clipboard, but you will not paste that data just yet. First you need to create a Word table with the correct dimensions. So do the following steps:

  1. Open a new or existing document in Microsoft Word. For example, here we created a Word file named MyWordDocument.docx.
  2. Click the Insert tab from the Word ribbon.
  3. Locate the Tables group, select the Tables icon, and from there choose Insert Table.

With the Insert Table option open, we need to configure the table, which we will do in the next step.


Step 5: Configure the Microsoft Word Table

We have to create a table large enough—ideally the same dimensions as the data—to receive the Microsoft Excel table data we want to paste into it. To create a table in Word, we have to define the number of rows and columns. To do that, we use the information we got in Step 2.

  1. In the Number of columns field, under the Table Size option in the Insert Table dialog box, we choose the number of columns in the table you are going to paste. fIn our example, the selected data has 3 columns, so we select 3 in the field Number of columns.
  2. In the Number of rows field just below, choose the number of rows in the table you are going to paste. In our example, the selected data has 10 rows, so we select 3 in the field Number of rows.
  3. Under AutoFit Behavior in this Insert Table dialog box, select Fixed column width, and choose the associated behavior as Auto.
  4. Click the OK button to create a table and insert it into the Microsoft Word file.
creating a table with 3 columns and 10 rows

creating a table with 3 columns and 10 rows

Step 6: Highlight the Word Table

After completing Step 5, we will see a table in our Word document. Highlight the rows and columns which best match the dimensions of the Excel table we are pasting. For example, after selecting the rows and columns, our table might look like the following.

Highlight the Word table

Highlight the Word table

Step 7: Select "Paste Special" Option

We will get ready to import the Excel table data that we copied into the Clipboard in Step 3. Just do the following:

  1. Click the Home tab from Microsoft Word ribbon, and you will see the Paste option at the left side of your Microsoft Word software.
  2. Click on the arrow pointer under Paste button, and the button will expand and show more options in a drop-down menu.
  3. Form the options in the expanded menu, select Paste Special and click on it.

Step 8: Select Format for Paste Special option

This is the most important step of this tutorial. Microsoft Word offers a lot of formats in which to paste data, including Microsoft Excel Worksheet (code) Object, Formatted Text (RTF), Unformatted Text, Bitmap, Picture (Enhanced Metafile), HTML Format, Unfomatted Unicode Text. Each option has its own features. What we need here is an option that inserts the contents of the clipboard as text without formatting. So select Unfomatted Unicode Text and click the OK button.

Select "Unformatted Unicode Text"

Select "Unformatted Unicode Text"

After pressing OK, you will see the copied data are pasted into the Word table looking exactly the same as in the original Excel table.

The finished table in Word

The finished table in Word

The resulting Word table looks just like an Excel table. Tables like this look professional in magazine articles, theses, scientific reports, and other publications. Try this method whenever you need to move data from Excel into Word.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.


Abuchi Charles on July 14, 2020:

Good word indeed.

Laurence Smith on January 19, 2018:

TurboFuture - you're the best!

I spent hours on the phone with Apple & Microsoft support. They could barely understand my problem, and not able to fix - paste issue from xl to word ( all the xl cells pasted into each cell of the word table).

Just read your fix and the last step - paste special - Unformatted Unicode Text option - the answer to pasting the xl cells correctly in word table cells. cheers, Laurence

Ucrecia on October 13, 2013:

Thank you, thank you, thank you. You saved my life

Firoz from India on July 04, 2013:

Great hub on How to Insert an Excel Table into Microsoft Word. Voted up.