Google Docs: How to Select Table Column or Whole Table

Published by Nyau Wai Hoe - Updated on

Google Docs, known for its wide array of functionalities in the realm of online word processors, stands out due to its collaborative features and user-friendly interface. A significant tool within this suite is the ability to create and manipulate tables. Yet, surprisingly, when it comes to selecting entire tables or individual columns, Google Docs may not seem as intuitive as some of its counterparts. This article aims to shed light on this particular aspect, offering insights and workarounds for efficiently selecting a table column or the whole table in Google Docs.

Also see: How to Move an Image to the Front or Back in Google Docs

How to select table columns or the entire table in Google Docs

Understanding how table works in Google Docs

Before we go into the specifics of selecting table columns and entire tables, it’s essential to understand the basic anatomy of a table in Google Docs. A table consists of rows and columns, forming a grid-like structure. Each cell within the table can hold text, images, or other content. This organizational tool is incredibly useful for presenting information in an orderly manner, such as creating schedules, comparing data, or even designing simple layouts.

How table works in Google Docs

Beyond the fundamental structure of rows and columns, tables in Google Docs come with several customization options. Users can adjust the borders, shading, and even the size of each cell, row, or column. This ensures that not only can data be organized efficiently, but it can also be presented in a visually appealing manner. Plus, with Google Docs’ collaborative features, tables can be co-edited in real-time, making group projects or shared tasks a seamless experience.

Related resource: How to Print Front and Back on Google Docs (Double-Sided)

Selecting one or multiple table columns in Google Docs

While many word processors have a direct “click and select” option for tables and columns, Google Docs, despite its extensive features, lacks a straightforward method to achieve this. Here’s an effective method to select one or multiple table column in Google Docs:

  1. Positioning the Cursor: Hover your cursor over the top cell of the column you wish to select. The cursor should turn into an “I” icon, indicating it’s in text-selection mode.Select to highlight a table cell
  2. Selection: With the “I” icon visible, Press and hold down the left mouse button. Now, drag your mouse down the column. As you move downwards, the entire column will become highlighted.Select a table column in Google Docs
  3. If you want to select multiple columns, simply move the cursor to the next column and repeat the process while holding down the Shift key.Select multiple table columns in Google Docs

Another method, particularly useful for larger tables, involves using keyboard shortcuts:

  1. Place your cursor at the beginning of the first cell in the table.
  2. Hold down the Shift key and, at the same time, press the Right Arrow key to begin selecting the content in the first cell.
  3. Continue holding the Shift key and now use the Down Arrow key to start selecting rows downwards. Continue pressing the arrow key until the your desired table cells, rows or columns are selected.Select multiple table cells in Google Docs

Tip: If you’re finding the drag method a bit cumbersome, you can also click on the first cell of your desired column, then hold down the Shift key and click on the bottom cell. This will highlight the entire column.

Selecting an entire table in Google Docs

While one might expect a simple corner “handle” or a dropdown option to select the entire table, as is common in other word processors, Google Docs lacks such direct functionality. Here’s the most effective method:

  1. Position your cursor at the start of the table, ideally at the beginning of the first cell’s content.Position your cursor at the start of the table
  2. Press and hold down the left mouse button.
  3. Drag your cursor diagonally across the table, aiming for the end of the last cell’s content in the table. This action should highlight the entire table. Release the mouse button once the entire table is selected.Selecting whole table in Google Docs

If you have a particularly large and complex table that’s challenging to select by simply dragging the cursor, here’s a quicker method to select the entire table using just a few clicks while holding the Shift key:

  1. Click on the top-left cell (the very first cell) of your table to place your cursor inside.Click the first cell in the table Google Docs
  2. While holding down the Shift key, click on the bottom-right cell (the very last cell) of your table. This action will highlight and select the entire table.How to select an entire table in Google Docs

This method is particularly intuitive and quick, especially for those who are accustomed to utilizing keyboard and mouse combinations in other software or platforms. It allows for precise selection without having to drag the cursor across multiple cells, which can be cumbersome in extensive tables.

Final thoughts

Google Docs continues to evolve with user feedback, so there might be additional functionalities or shortcuts introduced in future updates. However, mastering the basics, as detailed above, will always remain pivotal.

Understanding how to select table columns and a whole table is a fundamental skill in managing tables in Google Docs. Whether you’re creating spreadsheets, reports, or organizing data, mastering these selection techniques will undoubtedly make your workflow smoother and more effective.

Categories: Google

Nyau Wai Hoe
Nyau Wai Hoe is the Founder and Chief Editor of With a degree in software engineering and over 12 years of experience in the tech support industry, Nyau has established himself as an expert in the field, with a primary focus on the Microsoft Windows operating system. As a tech enthusiast, he loves exploring new technologies and leveraging them to solve real-life problems.

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