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I would like to make a gradient background in a Word 2010 table cell. Unfortunately, Word only provides solid color filling and premade patterns. There does not seem to be an easy way of doing this. The best method I have come up with is to use the drawing tool and create a rectangle, which I then fill in with a gradient. Then I have to align the rectangle over the cell. The issue with this is that the on screen and printed alignment do not match up. If the rectangle fits in the cell while editing the document, the print preview/PDF output shows the gradient misaligned. If I adjust the rectangle to print properly, it looks poorly in the Word document.

There has to be a better and easier way to accomplish this. Anyone know how?

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

I actually remember doing this once, but I used a text box instead of a rectangle. Sized it to exactly match the cell, then positioned it precisely over the cell as well. Removed the text box's borders, set a gradient and typed my text inside. Previewed and printed perfectly, and the PDF was fine too.

Edit: Here are a few examples:

Word 2010 Gradient in Table Cell 1
Word 2010 Gradient in Table Cell 2

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Ive tried text boxes before, but I gave it another shot. Still have the same issues. – Keltari Sep 21 '12 at 19:27
@Keltari: Just tried it again, see image above. Previews fine, looks fine when saved as PDF, and a test B&W laser print seems fine as well. Maybe the text box is getting misaligned in your case due to varying fonts/styles used? – Karan Sep 21 '12 at 19:39
My issue is that the cells are the minimum height allowed. If you were to resize your cells to that size, you would see my issue – Keltari Sep 21 '12 at 19:42
Just tried it, see my attempt above. I did have to zoom in to around 400% or so while drawing the text box, so I could get it to line up properly with the underlying cell, and a little Ctrl+Arrow position tweaking did the trick. – Karan Sep 21 '12 at 19:54

Another option could be to nest a table inside a shape. Add a gradient to the shape and then insert a table inside of the shape. Then inside the table, set the background of the table to white (or whatever desired color) except for the cell you want to have a gradient.

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