How to Merge Cells in Word 2016 Tables

The layout of a table that you create in a word processing application like Microsoft Word or Google Docs may not always conform to the default structure.

If you need to have a larger cell in your table then you can merge cells in Microsoft Word tables by selecting the cells in the table, choosing the Layout tab, then clicking the Merge Cells button.

The steps in this guide are going to show you more about how to merge two or more cells in a table that you have created in your Microsoft Word document.

If you have worked in one of the other popular Microsoft Office applications called Excel, then you may already be familiar with the variety of table tools and options that can exist for things like spreadsheets and tables.

In fact, you may have even merged cells in Microsoft Excel before, which likely led you to look for a way to merge cells in Word. Fortunately, you have the ability to select cells in a Microsoft Word table, then take those selected cells and combine them into one large single cell.

Our guide below will show you how to merge cells in Word and help you achieve your desired table formatting.

How to Merge Cells in Word Table

  1. Click inside the table.
  2. Click and hold on the leftmost cell to merge, then drag your mouse to select the rest.
  3. Select the Layout tab at the top of the window, to the right of Table Design.
  4. Click the Merge Cells button in the Merge section of the ribbon.

Our guide continues below with additional information on merging cells in Microsoft Word tables, including pictures of these steps.

How to Merge Table Cells in Microsoft Word 2016 (Guide with Pictures)

The steps in this article were performed in the Microsoft Word for Office 365 version of the application, but will also work in other recent versions including Microsoft Word 2016 and Microsoft Word 2019.

Step 1: Open your document containing the table with cells that you wish to merge.

Step 2: Click inside the table.

click inside one of the table cells

Step 3: Click on the first cell to include in the merge, being sure to keep your mouse button held down.

Step 4: Drag your mouse to select the rest of the cells to include in the merge.

I am merging the top row of my table in the image below, as indicated by the gray fill color appearing in those cells.

select all of the cells to merge

Step 5: Select the Layout tab to the right of the Table Design tab at the top of the window.

click the Layout tab

Step 6: Choose the Merge Cells option in the Merge section of the ribbon.

how to merge cells in Word 2016 tables

Alternatively, you can right-click on the selected table cells, then choose the Merge Cells option that appears on that shortcut menu.

use the Merge Cells option on the right-click shortcut menu

If after you select Merge Cells you decide that it isn’t providing the layout that you were looking for, simply press Ctrl + Z to undo it, or follow the steps in our section below to undo merging table cells.

How to Unmerge Cells in Word 2016

Now that you know how to merge cells in Word tables, it’s also helpful to know how to undo that merge in case you accidentally merge the wrong cells, or discover that you need to change your layout.

Word handles this with a Split Cells command tool. This allows you to select the merged cells in your table, then specify the number of rows or columns that the merged cells should be split into.

Step 1: Select the merged cell that you wish to split into multiple cells.

Step 2: Click the Layout tab at the top of the window, to the right of Table Design.

Step 3: Click the Split Cells button in the Merge group section of the ribbon.

how to split cells in Word 2016

Step 4: Choose the number of rows and the number of columns for the split, then click the OK button.

how to unmerge cells in Word 2016

Our tutorial continues below with additional discussion on table cell merging in Microsoft Word.

More Information on How to Merge Two or More Cells in Word 2016

Now that you know how to merge table cells and split table cells in MS Word you should be able to achieve nearly any table layout that your Microsoft Word document requires.

For even more table tools in Microsoft Word, you could take advantage of the Split Table option that also appears in the Merge section of the ribbon. That option will split your table into multiple tables based on where your cursor is located within the table.

One of the options in the “Merge” section, when you are working with tables, is the “Split Table” option that we discussed above. But you may notice that there isn’t the opposite option, which would be to merge tables in Microsoft Word.

Fortunately, you can merge two separate tables in a Microsoft Word document, although it requires you to take a different approach. When you hover over the bottom of the two tables that you want to merge, a button will appear at the top-left of the table.

If you click that button and drag the bottom table towards the top table you will see an outline of the bottom table. Once the top of that table aligns with the bottom row of the top table you can release the mouse button to merge the two tables.

Note that this can be a little tricky to get right. If you don’t drag the bottom table close enough to the top table then there will be a little space between the two tables. If you drag it too far above the bottom row it will put the bottom table inside of one of the cells in the top table.

If you wind up with one of those situations you can always just press Ctrl + Z on your keyboard to undo the attempted table merge and try again.

Find out how to add space between your Word table cells if it seems like the data in your cells is too close to the data in surrounding adjacent cells.

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