PowerPoint Inserting Tables – Tutorial for Investment Bankers

In this lesson, you’ll learn how to insert tables in PowerPoint and how to add and delete rows and columns, merge and split cells, and navigate between cells within your table.

Shortcuts Introduced:

  • Alt + I + B: Insert Table (PPT 2003 Only)
  • Alt + N + T: Insert Table (PPT 2007 / 2010 / 2013)
  • Tab: Move to Next Cell / Insert Row at End of Table
  • Shift + Tab: Move to Previous Cell
  • Right Mouse Button + I: Insert Rows / Columns
  • Ctrl + Tab: Insert Tab in Table
  • Right Mouse Button + R: Delete Row
  • Right Mouse Button + L: Delete Column
  • Right Mouse Button + M: Merge Cells
  • Right Mouse Button + E: Split Cells
  • Alt + JL: Table Layout (PPT 2007 / 2010 / 2013)
  • Alt + JT: Table Design (PPT 2007 / 2010 / 2013)
  • Alt + V + T -> Tables & Borders: Tables & Borders Toolbar (PPT 2003 Only)

PowerPoint Pro – Inserting Tables Transcript

In this lesson you’re going to learn how to insert and manipulate tables within PowerPoint. Previously we looked at how you insert shapes and diagrams; how you rotate them, resize them, and how you can properly arrange them within your presentation. I am treating tables as a separate topic, because many of the features within tables do not apply to any generic shape, they are specific to tables.

The other thing that’s important to note here is that you can create tables within Word or other Office programs and then try to insert them into PowerPoint, but most of the time, unlike with charts and graphs, when you’re working with tables it’s usually easier to actually create them within PowerPoint and to make all the changes there. Often times if you try to paste in the tables from Word, for example, they will not show up correctly. It doesn’t quite work as intended. It’s usually easier to actually insert them and make all your changes within PowerPoint instead.

I’m going to scroll down here to the process recommendation section of our presentation. I want to draw your attention to slide 17 with key recommendations on it. This is the one where we’re actually going to insert a table at the bottom, and you’ll see how the mechanics work and some of the basic formatting and other features related to tables in PowerPoint. The point of this slide is to give a recommendation for how Apple, Aardvark here should approach buying another company. We can have our bullet text here, that’s pretty standard to have with any type of PowerPoint presentation.

Another thing that we’d like to do is to give some type of visual aid. You remember that on the next slide we’ve already inserted the diagram here, so we have this aid as well. But we’d like to have something a little more focused and it doesn’t even necessarily have to have pictures, it can just be text, but to have something visual. Some kind of chart or some kind of table to show us the difference between a broad M&A process and a more targeted M&A process would be very helpful this type of slide.

To actually insert a table in PowerPoint 2007+ it’s ‘ALT + N + T’ and within PowerPoint 2003 it’s ‘ALT + I + B’. That brings up the insert table dialogues. Unlike inserting a shape where you get the option to simply draw the shape, when you have a table in PowerPoint you actually have to select the size of the table up front. In this particular case what we want to do is insert a ‘5×2’ table, or a ‘2×5’ table, really. In other words, we have a title row at the top, then we have four rows and we have two columns. If you want to insert a much larger table than anything you see here, so larger than ‘10×8’, what you can do is insert it and then afterword you can insert rows or insert columns as necessary. Most of the time within PowerPoint you don’t really want to do that. If you have a table that’s this big it’s very hard to read. Normally you like to keep tables of a much smaller size. ‘2×5’, ‘5×2’ is fine. You could go ‘3×5’, ‘4×5’, and so on, but once you go much beyond that then the readability goes down by quite a bit. Normally you like to keep tables on the small side instead within PowerPoint.

I’m going to insert this ‘2×5’ table right now so we have this in place. If you’re using PowerPoint 2003 instead, or using any other version, the table you inserted may look a bit different from what we have here, because this is using some features that are specific to 2007+. It may look a bit different, but the same shortcuts will apply in terms of inserting the table and manipulating it, adding and deleting rows and columns, for example. With this table inserted, what I’m going to do now is press ‘SHIFT’ and simply drag it down. I’m pressing and holding ‘SHIFT’ to keep the vertical position the same and to just change the horizontal position here. I dragged it down to the bottom like that. Move it up a little bit.

We have our table in place now. A couple of things to show you with this. As with many of the other shapes within Excel, if we press the right mouse button and then ‘O’ to go to format shape, we have options here for the fill colors, the line colors, the line style, and then for the text box. The text box doesn’t really apply here because it’s a table, this option only applies if we actually had a text box. The normal options with fill color, line color, and line style would all apply here.

To demonstrate some of these shortcuts I’m going to begin by typing in some text in this table. I’m going to type in “Targeted Buy Side M&A” in our left column here, and then “Broad Buy Side M&A” in our right column. The purpose of this table is going to be to describe the differences between these two processes. I’m going to type in “fewer than 5 parties contacted” right here, the broad one I’m going to say ranges from “10 to hundreds of companies.” To get to the next row when we’re typing in this text within PowerPoint we can simply press the down arrow or the up arrow to move up, left moves to the left column, right moves to the right column. That’s how we can move around within a table in PowerPoint.

Next up, I’m going to type in something about the time required. I’ll say “6 months to 1 year” for the broad process I’ll say “time required is highly variable.” Go to the next row here, I’m going to type in “close ended,” and then “iterative process” for the Broad Sided M&A. “Higher success probability,” and “lower success probability.”
We have all this text in place now. Some useful things that we can do now that we have this text in place – first off, one of the most common things you’re going to be doing with tables in PowerPoint is inserting additional rows or columns.

The way that I recommend you do this is to highlight the row that you want to insert another row above or below, then you can press the right mouse button, go to “I” for insert, and then you have all these options. Insert rows above or below or insert columns to the left or right. If you have a row selected like this I recommend that you stick with insert rows above or below. I press “A” for above; you see a row right there. If I press the right mouse button, “I” and then “B” we see that the row is now inserted below the last one here. Similarly with columns. If we select a column right here, right mouse button, “I,” and then, insert column to the right, so “R” for that one. It’s inserted right there. If we want to insert one to the left, right mouse button plus ’I + L’, and that inserts a column to the left right there.

One useful shortcut within PowerPoint and tables, is that if you’re at the end of a table and you want to insert another row, you can just press ‘TAB’, and that also has the same effect. If you’re wondering how you actually insert tabs within a table, you can press ‘CTRL + TAB’ to do that. ‘TAB’ by itself will either go to the next row if you’re in a table like this, or if you’re at the very bottom of a table it’ll insert another row below that.

If you want to delete rows or columns what you can do is select the row that you want to delete, then you press the right mouse button and go to “delete rows,” so “R” for delete rows. To delete columns you can select the column that you want and press right mouse button and then “L” to delete the column. You’ll notice that I selected the entire column or the entire row when I went to delete it. You don’t have to do that, but often times in tables you’ll end up with complex layouts or merged cells, for example. When you have that, it’s good to be as specific as possible to make sure that you also know what you’re doing. You could just select what cell you want, or put the mouse in the row or column that you want, go into the right mouse button and say delete row. That will have the same effect, but I like to be as precise as possible, and to reduce error as much as you can. I prefer to actually select the entire row or the entire column that you’re going to be deleting.

I mentioned merged cells before. To do that within PowerPoint, you select the two cells that you want to merge. I’m going to select the header at the top, press the right mouse button, and go to “M” for merge cell. Now we see this one single cell here at the top. I could undo that by pressing ‘CTRL + Z’. Let’s say I go back and press right mouse button and ‘M’ to merge the cells, I could now press right mouse button and ‘E’ to split the cells once again. You have options here for the number of columns and number of rows. I’m going to say two columns and one row. The only problem with splitting a cell like this again is that it doesn’t remember where the text was originally, so I would have to cut this text over here and paste it over here once again. Usually when you’re merging cells, rather than merging and splitting if you want to undo them, it’s just faster to press ‘CTRL + Z’ to undo what you’ve done.

In Excel I mentioned that usually you do not want to merge cells because it creates alignment problems. In PowerPoint it’s more common to merge cells like this and it’s not as much of a big deal. I still wouldn’t recommend doing it all the time. If you have tables like this, where it makes sense to merge the header, for example, or to merge something on the left side. If we had some type of category column over there or some type of category row at the top, then in those cases it may actually make sense to merge cells. You still have to be careful with it, but merging and splitting cells within tables in PowerPoint is more common and it’s not quite as problematic as doing it within Excel.

A couple of other features here that are good to know. These are specific to PowerPoint 2007+. You can sometimes accomplish the same in 2003, but 2007+ adds a couple of additional features here. If you press ‘ALT + J + L’ to go to design, you have a number of the same options that we went over before. We have insert above, insert below, insert left, right, you can access all of those with the right mouse button as well. This is just another way to do it within 2007+.

Then, you can adjust the alignment of the text both vertical and horizontal here with some of these shortcuts. The text direction, cell margins, all of these things you can adjust. You could also get the same effect in many places by just going to right mouse button plus ‘O’ to format the shape, but this is another way to access it within PowerPoint 2007+.

The more useful 2007+ specific shortcut here is if you go to ‘ALT + J + T’ for design, then you have a number of different options here for the table style that automatically formats it in a visually appealing style. You have a number of options for the fill over here and the theme colors. ‘ALT + J + T’ is a pretty useful way to set up and format your tables within PowerPoint 2007+.

If I go here I can select different themes for tables, I can change it to red, for example, or I can just keep it at the original blue I had here. You see that as I scroll around the table at the bottom changes colors. This can be useful to set up some of your formatting automatically, rather than you having to go in and do everything here. If you go to “banded columns,” this simply switches on and off the option to have alternating colors for your rows and columns here. You see the description: “Displays banded columns which even columns are formatting differently from odd columns.” That could be another option here. Banded rows does the same thing except for rows, in this case.

If you want to display the totals, if you have numerical data in your tables, you can use this “total row” feature. This one honestly is not too common, because most of the time for any type of data you’re just pasting directly from Excel instead. All these are useful features for getting some of the formatting done more quickly. Some are specific to PowerPoint 2007+, some will work in PowerPoint 2003. Those are the basics of how you insert and then manipulate tables in PowerPoint.

Now, for your exercise, what I want you to do here is to replicate the table setup that I have inserted into this presentation. Targeted Buy Side M&A on the left, Broad Buy Side M&A on the right, and use this exact text to type into your table. This is just to get some practice with inserting tables and then manipulating them. If you’re using PowerPoint 2003, it may not look exactly the same, that’s OK. We’re just focused on getting the text in there and getting something in all of the cells. Don’t worry too much about getting all of the colors right or anything like that, we’ll be addressing formatting separately later on. Give this a shot yourself, remember the key shortcuts for inserting a table: ‘ALT + I + B’ in PowerPoint 2003, and ‘ALT + N + T’ in PowerPoint 2007+.

Once you’re done with that you can un-pause the video and I’ll delete this table and walk you through how to do everything, starting from inserting the table and then going into actually creating text in all of these cells.

OK, good. I’ve reset the slide to its original state now. To insert the table we either press ‘ALT + I + B’ within PowerPoint 2003, or ‘ALT + N + T’ within 2007+. I’m going to select ‘2×5’ for the shape right here. I’m going to move it to the bottom by pressing ‘SHIFT’ and holding ‘SHIFT’ down and dragging it down toward the bottom drawing guide that you see. I’m going to click on the shape and I’ll enter “Targeted Buy Side M&A” right here. To get to the next cell I can either press ‘TAB’ or the right arrow key. Then I’ll say “Broad Buy Side M&A.” To get to the next row I can press ‘TAB’.

I can enter right here “Fewer than 5 parties contacted.” Press ‘TAB’ to go over to the other one, say “Ranges from 10 to hundreds of companies.” Press ‘TAB’ again, “6 months to 1 year.” ‘TAB’ again, “Time required is highly variable.” ‘TAB’ once again, “Close ended.” ‘TAB’ to go to the next cell right here, and then, “Imperative process.”

Then, finally ‘TAB’ to go to the last row here. “Higher success probability,” and then “Lower success probability.” That how we would set up our table.

In this case we have some of our text overflowing, so we’re going to need to change some of our settings to make this look better, to make sure that we’re not overlapping with our logo for our bank here at the bottom. We’ll worry about that later when we get into more of the formatting and alignment of shapes. For now we have our table set up and you should know the basics, have a good idea of how to insert tables, how to manipulate them by inserting and deleting rows and columns, by merging and splitting cells, and by changing some of the design and layout settings.

That’s it for our tutorials covering slides, text and objects within PowerPoint. Coming up next we’ll be getting into how you paste in objects and data from Excel into PowerPoint. How to make everything look good, and how to get around some of the problems you may commonly face when you’re trying to paste in complex charts or diagrams from Excel and make them look good in PowerPoint.

For more tutorials on PowerPoint Pro click here.

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