Google Slides – Tables

Adding tables to your slides is a common thing to do with slides, especially when presenting some data. If you have used tables in Google Docs, then you will see that in Slides it is very similar. Here we’ll look at:

  • Inserting table
  • Inserting rows & columns
  • Deleting rows & columns
  • Text alignment
  • Borders
    • Colour
    • Thickness
    • Type
  • Cell background colour
  • Rows and column widths
    • Distributing rows & columns equally
  • Merging & unmerging cells

Inserting a table

To insert a table go to the “Table” menu, select “Insert Table” then decide how many rows and columns you want.

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You can also insert a table via the Insert>Table menu, but as all the other table functions are in the dedicated table menu, I always use that one.

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Your new table will appear in the middle of your slide.

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Then I fill in some details in the table. For example, here I’ve got the odds and groups of three football teams playing in the Euro 2016. To add text just click in the cell and start typing.

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Inserting rows and columns

To insert a row or column, go to the “table” menu and select either insert row above/below or column left/right. This inserts a row or column either before or after where the cursor is.

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Here I’ve inserted a row below the last row.

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Deleting rows and columns

To delete a row or column, just click on a cell in the row or column you want to delete (no need to select the whole row or column). Then from the “Table” menu, select “Delete row” or “Delete column”.

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Changing the alignment of the text

Select the text you want to change, then go to the align icon on the toolbar. You can control the horizontal and vertical alignment. You can do this for individual cells, groups of cells, or for the whole table.

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Here I selected the whole table and centered the text.

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Borders and cell background colour

We can also change the way the table looks by controlling the line type, size, and colour and the cell background colour.

Select the part of the table you want to change. Here to keep it simple, I’m going to change the whole table.

First, let’s change the line colour of the table borders. Click on “Line colour” on the toolbar.

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Select a colour from the palette.

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Here the lines are a darker grey.

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Now let’s make them a bit thicker. Click on the line weight icon on the toolbar and select a line weight.

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Here I’ve chosen 3px.

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We can also change the line style. Click on the “Line dash” icon and select a style.

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Finally, let’s change the cell background colour of the header row. Select the row.

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Click on the “Fill colour” icon and select a colour from the palette.

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Here I’ve changed the header row to green.

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Changing the row and column sizes

By default, the rows are the same width and the columns are the same width as each other. To change the size, click on the border of the row or column you want to change. The cursor will change to the symbol in the picture below. Then just click and drag it to the new position.

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Here I’ve widened the first column. Note, that the second column gets narrower, as the overall width of the table doesn’t change.

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If you want to distribute the rows or columns equally, go to the “Table” menu and select “Distribute rows” or “Distribute columns”.

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Here I’ve clicked on “Distribute columns” and it’s returned the table back to columns with equal width.

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If you want to change the overall size of the table, click on one of the edges (when the arrow appears) and click and drag it to either make it bigger or smaller.

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Here I’ve made it smaller and as you can see, the columns have automatically been made smaller, whilst keeping the equal size with each other.

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Merging cells

We are not confined to rows and columns, we can also merge cells to allow us to work across rows or columns. To do so, select the cells you want to merge, in this case, the top row I’ve inserted.

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Then go to the “Table” menu and select “Merge cells”.

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In this example it’s merged the top row, so that the width of the cell is the equivalent of the 3 columns. Here I’ve changed the colour and added the text to create a title for my table.

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There are some differences between creating tables in Slides and in Docs. The main thing is that in Slides you don’t have the Table properties option, although Slides does in fact cover most of the functions that are in that dialogue box. What is missing, is the ability to define the column width or row height exactly and cell padding. However, Slides does have the bonus of having the equally distribute the column widths and row heights, which is something that Docs lacks.

If using the tables in Docs meets your needs better, you can always copy and paste the table from Docs to Slides.


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Baz Roberts (Flipboard / Twitter / Google+)


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