How to Remove Cell Padding in Word

By Alan Sembera

Lining up your table elements just right in Microsoft Word often requires eliminating or reducing the cell padding. Cell padding creates margins that separate the content of a cell from the edge of the cell. If you create a photo layout using a Word table, for example, the cell padding causes gaps to appear between the photos. Word automatically inserts 0.08 inches of padding on each side of table cells; tables copied from a Web page often have even more padding. You can remove the padding for the entire table, or modify individual cells, by adjusting the cell margins. This procedure applies to both Microsoft Word 2013 and 2010.

Step 1

Click anywhere in the table to select it. If you want to remove the padding from only one cell or a range of cells, select the cell or cells.

Step 2

Right-click your selection and choose "Table Properties" from the options. In the Table Properties dialog box, select the "Table" tab. If you are removing the cell padding from only specific cells, select the "Cell" tab instead.

Step 3

Click the "Options" button at the bottom of the window to bring up the cell margin settings. From here, you can change the left, right, top and bottom margins of the cells. To eliminate all of the cell padding so that your images or text fill the entire cell, change all the settings to zero.

Step 4

Remove the check mark next to "Allow spacing between cells" if it's checked. This setting adds space between the cells in the table -- and may be the real culprit if your table has too much space between its elements. This setting is visible only when you are changing the cell padding for the entire table.

Step 5

Click "OK" a couple of times to save your changes. If you still have unwanted space inside the cells, the problem is usually with your paragraph settings. Check the paragraph settings of a cell by clicking inside the cell, and then clicking the small arrow in the corner of the Paragraph group on the Home ribbon. Reduce the Indentation and Spacing settings to zero to eliminate the extra space.