Tips for Table Formatting: Rotating Data in Excel and Pages in Word

I’m working through the last chapter of my thesis this week and ran into some little challenges with table formatting. Originally I had site-year as my rows and soil property as my columns for a particular table, but I decided rotating the table 90 degrees made sense. I didn’t want to have to move data cells individually, and my initial searches all sent me down a pivot table rabbit hole. Through some expert Googling, I found an incredibly simple way to automate this process– just copy the entire table in Excel, then right-click and select the “Paste with Transposition” option. This is the article that helped me, and it may also help you: Rotate the Data in Excel.

The resulting table was much easier to read, but was wider than a page width. I needed a landscape page inserted into my Word document. You do this by creating a page break before where you want the page and then again at the start of page you want after the horizontal page. Page breaks are on the Page Layout tab of the main menu. Then you rotate the resulting new blank page using the “Orientation” button and format your table on the newly rotated page.

This is a trick I’ve used before in other documents, so you’d think I’d be a pro. Turns out I new how to make page breaks, but not how to get rid of them. Deleting a page break is an important step if you want to move where a table is in your document. Click the “show paragraphs” button on the Home tab of the main menu. Then you can see where the page breaks are and use the delete button (not the backspace button) to get rid of them. You can learn more about removing page or section breaks here: Delete a section break.

To all of you with term papers, manuscripts, and dissertations this month, best of luck!

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