Word Delete Table

Creating a table in Microsoft Word is quite simple, all you need to do is select required number of rows and columns and you are done. However, when you need to delete a table, the traditional method of pressing the Backspace key won’t work.

Fortunately, there are many ways to delete a table in word, whether you want to cut it or just some rows/columns. It’s possible to remove just text or borders only also. In this tutorial, we are going to show you how to delete a table in Microsoft Word using different methods.

Note: This article was written using Microsoft Word 2007, 2010 & 2013 but the instructions for other versions of Word is same.

Delete a Table using the Top Menu

The most simple way to delete a table without any need of keyboard shortcuts is from the top menu options in Word. You won’t have to press any keys or need to highlight specific areas. Click anywhere inside the table you want to delete and navigate to the “Layout” tab.

Here you will see an option to “Delete”, click on it. A menu will open with options to delete parts of a table or the complete tab. Click on “Delete Table”. Doing this removes the table from your document.

Another way to delete a table is to first of all select it and then delete it. There are two ways of selecting a table: using commands in the ribbon and using the right click menu. Let’s look at using the ribbon first. Place the cursor into any cell in the table and notice that the Table Tools contextual tab appears in the ribbon. Click Layout > Table > Select > Select Table.

You can also use the same process to delete specific rows or columns. Instead of just clicking inside the table, highlight the columns or rows you want to delete and click on “Delete Rows” or “Delete Columns” from the “Delete” option.

Tip: To highlight any area, you can click-and-hold at the start or end of the area you want to highlight and drag your mouse cursor to highlight the area.

To select - do this:

  • Cell - Click the left edge of the cell.
  • Row - Click to the left of the row.
  • Column - Click the column’s top gridline or border.
  • Contiguous cells, rows, or columns - Drag the pointer across the cells, rows, or columns that you want.
  • Noncontiguous cells, rows, or columns - Click the first cell, row, or column that you want, hold down CTRL, and then click the next cell, row, or column that you want.
  • Entire table - In Print Layout view, rest the pointer over the table until the table move handle Four-headed arrow handle appears, and then click the table move handle.

Using Backspace & Delete Key to Delete a Table

Yes, the traditional way of pressing backspace key to delete anything will not work, but if you specify exact area to delete, then the Backspace key will work. This might involve using your keyboard, and highlighting the area to delete first, but it is much faster than navigating between menus.

All you need to do is to highlight the area you want to delete and press the “Backspace” key. This will delete any highlighted area on the table, you won’t have to specify columns or rows. Using this method, you can delete any number of rows, columns or even a single cell. You can also highlight the full table and press “Backspace” key to delete the whole table.

Pressing the “Delete” key on the keyboard will not delete the entire selected table. It will only delete the contents of the cells. However, if you have selected at least one paragraph before or after the table as well as the table, the table can be deleted using the “Delete” key.

Cut the Table

This is not actually an official way to “Delete” a table, but it will also get the job done. You can also cut the table and copy it to the clipboard while deleting it from its original location. Although, pressing the “Backspace” key is a similar (and better) option, copying the table to clipboard has its advantages too: you can just paste from the clipboard. Furthermore, this will also be handy to move the table from one area to another.

All you need to do is highlight the area like we did above, and click on the “Scissors” icon under the “Home” tab to cut it (you can also press Ctrl+X to cut it). The table will be deleted and copied to clipboard to use it again any time you like as long as you don’t copy/cut any more content.

Delete Table in Word while Retaining the Text

There are one more interesting trick you can do in Microsoft Word - to remove table in MS Word, while retaining the text inside of it you can do:

  • Select the table
  • Go to the Tables Tools / Layout tab on the ribbon
  • Press Convert to Text

This feature work for Word 2007, 2010 and 2013 as well.