Convert a Table to Text in Word


by C.K. MacLeod


When you’re writing nonfiction, you often need to think about how best to present information—as a bulleted or numbered list, in a table, as a diagram, in a paragraph, and so forth. Your options are many.

Recently, I wanted to convert a two-column table to a single-column bulleted list in Word without having to re-key the whole thing. Here’s how you can do that quickly in Microsoft Word 2010:

Table-to-Text Quick Steps

  1. Select the table. This will bring up the Table Tools tab in Word. Click on the Layout tab.
Table Tools in MS Word
Table Tools in MS Word
  1. Click on the Convert to Text button in the Data area. A dialogue box will ask you to choose what separators you want to use. I chose the hyphen but you can choose a comma, too. It doesn’t matter because you’re going to remove the separator, anyway.
Convert Table to Text dialogue
Convert Table to Text dialogue
  1. You now have a list with hyphens between your two “columns” of words. To get rid of the hyphens, and put everything into a single column, use Word’s Find and Replace function to remove the hyphens and put a hard return between list items. Put a hyphen in the Find What box and put the paragraph code ^p (to indicated a hard return) in the Replace With box:
Remove hyphens and hard returns with Word's Find and Replace
Remove hyphens and hard returns with Word’s Find and Replace

And that’s it! You turned a table into a single-column list in a few short moves.

Image by Sid Mosdell