Thursday, January 30, 2014

Work Life: Creating "Merged" Cells in Google Docs #GAFE #EdTech

One of the biggest complaints about Google Docs is the inability to merge cells together in a table.

I recently had a project that required a specific layout in Google Docs. The layout consisted of a Word Docx that used tables with merged cells to produce a particular feel.  Since you cannot merge cells in Google Docs, I needed a way to emulate the desired layout.

Luckily, there is a workaround that gives you the appearance of merged cells!

Click on any image to see a larger version.

First, I need to create the "outer shell" that will hold the pieces and parts together. To do this, I chose TABLE > INSERT TABLE > 1x1:

Now, I had the shell and needed to add elements to give the appearance used in the original Word Doc. In this case, I am adding a 1x2 table INSIDE the "shell:"

Making sure my cursor was inside the "shell," I repeated the TABLE > INSERT TABLE for the various sizes I needed.  In once place, I needed a series of cells on one side of the layout. So, inside the right section, I clicked my mouse and inserted a 3x2 table:

 Below is the final result of the layout. It may be a bit confusing to see it all in black and white:

To help you visualize the various pieces and parts, I have colored the cells (below). Notice that I can add text inside any of the cells. I could have put text between the various nested tables as well!
It may take some trial and error to get the layout you're wanting, but with a little patience and practice, you can get Google Docs to give you Word-like table layouts!

*How did I color the cells? Right-click in a cell (or group of selected cells), choose "Table Properties...," then click the color-picker for "Cell Background Color!"