Microsoft Word/Table/Column question

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Question
Suzanne,
I'm using MS-Word 2007 (version 12) on a Dell Optiplex running Windows 7.

I need to put two separate tables (the same width) side by side on one page.  

I figured that the best way to do that would be to divide the page into two equal columns.  And then insert one table into the left column, and then insert the second table into the right column.  Is there a way to insert tables into columns?  I can create the tables with no problem.  And I can set the page layout for two equal columns.  But when I paste the table in the left column, it seems to delete the right column.  

Do you have a better suggestion as to how to do what I need to do?  (I.E.: Put two equal tables side-by-side on one page in MS-Word?)

Any suggestions or advice would be greatly appreciated.

Answer
You have to create the columns first, then insert the table(s). If you have already created the table, it will be full margin width and won't fit in a column (although setting the AutoFit setting to "Fit to window" should make it conform).

There is a gotcha to this: In order to have two *separate* tables, you have to have an empty paragraph between them. And if you insert a column break between the tables, to force the second table to the second column, that empty paragraph will be above the second table, making it lower than the one in the first column.

If you delete the paragraph, the tables join, and you can't insert a column break at all. So if you have to end the first column before the end of the page and it's not practical to force the second table to the second column by balancing the columns (inserting a Continuous break after the second table), then you have to format all the rows of the second table except the last as "Keep with next."

If you want a single table to be divided across two columns, then this is not a problem. If you set the heading row to repeat, it will be repeated at the top of the second column. And if you balance the columns, the table will be evenly divided.
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Suzanne S. Barnhill

Expertise

I've been using Word for Windows since version 2.0 (1992), and the more I learn about it, the more I realize how little I know. But I may know a few things that you don't, and I'll help if I can. I answer many questions every day in Microsoft's peer support forums and as a result have been awarded the MVP (Most Valuable Professional) designation by Microsoft Corporation. You may be able to find the answer to your question at the Word MVPs' FAQ site or at my own Word FAQ site, so please check those first! Please, no questions about VBA (macros), Registry editing, networks, or complex merges, as I have no experience with these aspects of Word, nor do I have any experience with Word for Mac. Please indicate which version of Word you are using; if you are not sure, see "What version of Word do I have?".

Experience

I have a master's degree in classics (Latin), which is surprisingly helpful, though I no longer teach. The things I am proudest of: Having raised two children to maturity, both Merit Scholars, both college graduates (one a philosophy major!), one Phi Beta Kappa (from Harvard!); having been made a Paul Harris Fellow by my Rotary club; having been designated a Microsoft MVP.

Organizations
Rotary Club of Fairhope, Friends of the Fairhope Public Library

Education/Credentials
B.A. (Latin), Agnes Scott College, 1966; M.A. (Classics), Emory University, 1972.

Awards and Honors
Microsoft Most Valuable Professional award every year since 1999; many Rotary honors

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