91 Creating a Table

When you create a table of comparisons/contrasts, you probably will be dealing with three columns, one for the standard you want to compare (audience, use of white space, paragraphing, headings, etc), one for one document and one for the other document. Then you will create as many rows as items you have to compare/contrast. You will also create headings for the different sections of your table (one for similarities and one for differences, for example).


The following menu is for creating a table using Microsoft Word. If you follow it from top to bottom, you should be able to create a table that you can use to plug your facts into. Remember, use phrases for each comparison (example: Use of White Space: Document 1- None, Document 2- Plenty).


Create a Table

Go to “Table,” Click on Insert Table

Choose 3 columns, 10 to 15 rows.

Click OK.

Edit Table

Join Cells:

  • Block three cells in a row by depressing left button and dragging cursor to the right (cells should be darkened).
  • Go to Table, choose Merge Cells.


  • Go to View, Toolbars, click Tables and Borders so check appears.
  • Go to Line Style (the icon with one long, single line on it).
  • Click upside-down triangle and select Double Line.
  • Go to Edit and Select All (the entire table should be darkened).
  • Go to Border Icon (a square with four smaller dotted squares inside).
  • Click Outside Border.
  • To edit any other lines, place the cursor in the cell you’re editing and choose the lines you want to edit (top, bottom, inside, etc.). You can also change lines to dotted, dashed, darkened, etc.


  • Place cursor in cell you want to shade.
  • Go to upside down triangle next to Paint Can icon.
  • Choose fill from one of the shaded squares (20 percent is good).


Your table should look similar to the following example looking at apples and oranges. However, your table will obviously look at two documents and their similarities and differences.


Table of Comparative Data
Standard Apples Oranges
Size 3 to 6 cm. 3 to 6 cm.
Weight 2.5 to 3 oz. 2.5 to 3 oz.
Shape Round Round
Source of fruit Trees Trees
Texture Very firm Very soft
Taste Vary from sweet to sour Tart, often sour
Color Vary from red to golden Orange, sometimes dark yellow
Skin Can be eaten but often is peeled Bitter and always peeled before eating
Pie Delicious Not a standard use


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