How Do I Add Shading to Microsoft Word Tables?

By Sue Aveyard

Shading a Word 2013 table not only makes the table more interesting to look at, it makes it more readable, giving contrast between lines and making separate sections distinct. Word 2013 provides options for shading, sometimes called background color, which includes all colors, any degree of gray and a few select patterns for styled shading.

Gray Shading

Highlight the cells in the table to be shaded. In the Paragraph group on the Home tab, click the down arrow next to the Borders and Shading icon, which is a square with four sections. Select "Borders and Shading..." at the bottom of the drop-down list and then select the “Shading” tab. Choose the percentage of depth desired in your gray shading and confirm by clicking “OK." This drop-down list also includes different designs for your shading.

Color Shading

Highlight the cells you are going to fill in with color. Select a theme color by clicking on the down arrow next to the Shading icon, which looks like a tilted paint can, in the Paragraph group on the Home tab ribbon. This drop-down menu also includes an option called "More Colors... ." The "Colors" menu will appear. The "Standard" tab provides a limited spectrum on which to click to choose from some colors not included in the main choices. The "Custom" tab provides the ability to enter specific values of red, blue and cyan. This allows you to make any color possible and is used often by companies who have a specific color associated with their brand.

Shading With Table Tools Design Tab

When the cursor is placed anywhere in a table, the Table Tools tab appears at the top of the document window. Select this tab and then the Design tab. On the right side of the Table Styles group, you will see drop-down boxes for shading and borders options. In this same tab, you can also choose different styles and designs for your shading like zigzags and dots. Hovering over each of the selections temporarily changes the table to show how it will look if the style is chosen, but these styles can only be selected for the entire table.