Add a table to your PowerPoint slide and then populate the table with content. What comes next? Probably you need to add or remove rows and columns. That's the case with most people who work with tables. Yet, very few people realize that table cells can be made larger or smaller without influencing the entire row or column, by merely merging or splitting cells in your existing table. This is essentially true for tables that have two header rows, or even with tables that have a long phrase in the header row, as shown within the sample table shown towards the top in Figure 1, below.
Figure 1: Some tables need to have merged or split cells
Notice that the header content, Weather in C and Weather in F both span two lines each whereas the data below does not really need that much space. So merging the two header cells and then substituting the text in the merged cell makes this table use space much more efficiently, as shown within the table that's shown at the bottom of Figure 1, above.
Similarly, there are plenty of reasons where you can benefit from splitting a large cell into two smaller cells without influencing the rest of the rows and columns within your table. This objective can be achieved using PowerPoint's Merge and Split options that you can find within Table Layout tab of the Ribbon as shown highlighted in red, within Figure 2, below.
Figure 2: Merge and Split options for the table
Using these two options, you can merge and split table cells as required. Note that you may find the Merge option greyed out if you have selected a single cell within the table. To explore more about Merge and Split options in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac, explore the sections below:
Merge Table Cells
Let us start with merging cells in a table:
- Select at least two (or more) table cells and access the Table Layout tab of the Ribbon as shown highlighted in red, within Figure 3. Now click the Merge button that you can see highlighted in blue within Figure 3.
Figure 3: Table cells selected for merging
- This will merge the selected table cells into a single cell. In Figure 4 you can see that the two cells selected earlier are now merged into a single cell (highlighted in red).
Figure 4: Selected table cells merged into a single cell
- Similarly you can select multiple rows and columns in a table and merge them into a single cell.
Split Table Cells
Unlike in Excel where you can only split cells that were previously merged, PowerPoint has no such limitations. However, you really do not want to split a cell unless you have a compelling reason. In our case, we are assuming that we merged some cells by error, and now want to split them so that we can get back the structure of our original table. Follow these steps to split a selected cell into multiple rows and columns in a table:
- Select the table cell that you want to split; in Figure 5 you can see that the last cell within the first row is selected (highlighted in red). Then, click the Split button (highlighted in blue within Figure 5) within the Table Layout tab of the Ribbon.
Figure 5: Table cell selected for splitting
- This brings up the Split Cells dialog box as shown in Figure 6. In this dialog box, enter the number of columns and rows that you want the selected cell to be split into. Then, click the OK button.
Figure 6: Split Cells dialog box
- Doing so will split the selected table cell as shown in Figure 7 (highlighted in red).
Figure 7: Selected cell split into specified number of rows and columns
- Select the table cells and split them as required. You may want to edit or add text in the split cells.
- Remember to save your presentation often.
Table Cells: Merge and Split Table Cells in PowerPoint (Glossary Page)