Bite Sized Tech Pudding – Tip #1: Title Your Tables

I clearly remember the last time I prepared instant noodles, but was too hungry to wait for the water to boil completely before adding them. The result was soggy noodles, which equalled diminished enjoyment of a sacred comfort food experience. This is an example of a time when I learned something that was supposed to be simple, yet the solution just wasn’t logical or easy to figure out (not for me, anyway).

With these types of situations in mind, I decided this afternoon that I will begin offering quick tips regarding specific pieces of hardware or software and/or how to plan or implement ed tech strategies. All of these tips come from my own personal experiences with technology. I am calling what I hope will become a long series of quick tips, Bite Sized Tech Pudding.

Bite Sized Tech Pudding Tip #1 explains how to Title Your Tables. For as long as I can remember, one of the many quirks of Microsoft Word has been how to insert a title above a table. For some reason, if you insert a table at the very top of a page, you will very likely be unable to insert a title above it later on without messing up the formatting. Clicking and dragging the table down or using your arrow keys usually does not put the cursor above the table in the correct place. There are three ways to get around this strange quirk:

  1. Always insert a title before inserting your table. If you haven’t decided on the title yet, simply enter a few characters as a placeholder and then insert your table on the line below. To be doubly sure that this method is successful, type in your new title before erasing the old one, instead of highlighting the entire title and re-typing it (this could remove the entire title line altogether, leaving you with the original problem).
  2. Open a new file, type a title on the first line, and then copy and paste your existing table below it. Side note: I try not to use the ‘cut’ function–I always ‘copy’, just in case something happens (i.e. children cry, you get hungry, 10 crazy emails enter your inbox, etc.) before you get around to pasting!
  3. Add a new row above the top row of your existing table and put your title in there. Insert the new row and then right-click on it and select ‘merge cells’ to combine the cells in that row into one. Then you can place your title inside the top row. And if you dislike the box around your title, you can always make the top and side lines of the box transparent.

Let me know if this Bite Sized TP Tip helped, if you have additional solutions to this problem, or questions that I might be able to help you with in regards to software or hardware quirks!

(Image: Lunch #26 – Instant Noodles, by PurpleDinosaur. 2009. Available under a Creative Commons License.)