How to Convert a Word Table to Excel

By Louise Balle

The format of a table in Microsoft Word is very similar to the look of a set of cells (columns and rows) in its sister program, Microsoft Excel. But it is preferable to have information from a table in Excel because you can better analyze the data, define formulas, format the fields, and make automatic calculations (if you have numerical data). Even if you only have words, such as a list of addresses or names, you can sort and manage the data more efficiently in Excel. There are very quick ways to convert your Word tables into Excel files.

Things You'll Need

  • Microsoft Word
  • Microsoft Excel

Simple Copy and Paste Method

Step 1

Select the entire table in Word. The best way to do this is to place your cursor to the top left of the table, click and hold, then drag the cursur down until the entire table is completely selected. Everything should be highlighted in blue.

Step 2

Copy the table (CTRL + C) and then go to Microsoft Excel.

Step 3

Click inside of the first cell. Press CTRL + V to paste the table over. Each cell from the Word table will paste over to its own cell, keeping the formatting intact. If you don't want the formatting to transfer over, click "Paste" then "Paste Special" from the main menu (may be under the "Edit" menu in some older versions of Excel). Select "Text" from the list of options to paste the data only.

Plain Text Conversion Method

Step 1

Select and copy the entire table (using the same suggested instructions from step one of the last section).

Step 2

Open a new Word document. Click "Paste" then "Paste Special" from the Word menu (again, this may be under the "Edit" menu in some versions). Select "Unformatted Text" from the list and then "OK."

Step 3

Navigate to "File" then click "Save" on the Word main menu. Choose "Plain Text" on the "Save as Type" drop down list in the dialog box. A "File Conversion" box will pop up---review the layout of the data to assure it appears correctly (there should be tabs between each piece of data in each row) and then click "OK."

Step 4

Go to Microsoft Excel and click "Open" from the "File" menu. Assure that "All Files" is selected on the "Files of Type" drop-down list. Find the plain text file that you just saved in Word and open.

Step 5

Click "Next" on the first page of the "Text Import Wizard" that pops up (it's okay if a strange character appears between the data---that represents a tab mark). Select "Tab" in the "Delimiter" section and then next. On the final screen, review how the data will appear and click "Finish." The contents of the Word table will now appear in Excel.