When I insert a table in my document the text in the cells looks like it is aligned to the top of the table. Only when I click the remove formatting button or apply the default style is the text aligned more naturally in the cell.

Example of table with default style

In the second cell I have selected the text and re-applied the default paragraph style. The result is how I want it to be by default. The same result can be achieved by clicking the remove formatting button:

This button also works

At first I thought it might be cell alignment, but cell alignment is the same for both cells (left top) and changing it doesn't have the desired result.

Cell alignment is always top

Even though the default paragraph style has a line-height of 1.15 the line-height of the text in both cells is reported as 1.0 by the line-height drop down in the ribbon.

Line height

I have also tried to use the option from the same line-height drop down (image above) to add space before the paragraph (image below, first cell), but that has a different result than just removing formatting (image below, second cell):

Space before

The standard paragraph style has 6pt before and after paragraph. The table style has no cell margin top or bottom, only left and right.

So, my question: what formatting is causing the text to render higher, and how can I remove this formatting from the default table style?

Edit: I can confirm this is a property of the table cell, because when the table is empty and I select the first cell and remove all formatting, then the cell changes height. So it's not the paragraph styles in the cell, it's the styles for the cell itself.

See how the (empty) table looks after I removed formatting from cells A1, B2 and C3 (the selection boxes give an indication of the difference between adjacent cells on the same row):

Empty table selection


[I would add this as a comment, but apparently don't have enough rep yet.]

In your final example above, I wonder: if you delete the text in the second cell (which is apparently oversizing the height of that row), whether the resulting alignment of the first cell won't be what you are looking for. In short, it's not that the first cell is rendering the text "higher"; its just rendering it with no space before. I'm not sure why the table would apply a different-than-default paragraph style. Can you confirm this to be the case?

  • on a blank line, open the paragraph dialog and confirm that you have 6pt spacing before & after.
  • while still on that same line, insert a table and, with cursor in the first cell, open the paragraph dialog again and determine whether a different before/after spacing is applied.
  • Great suggestion, will try that first thing tomorrow! – Michiel van Oosterhout Jan 19 '12 at 21:00
  • I tried your suggestion, inserted a table on a default paragraph with line height 1.15 and space before and after 6pt. The first cell in the table also has the default paragraph style. Applying space before to the paragraph in the first cell, even when all other cells are empty does not have the same result as removing all formatting for the paragraph in the first cell. – Michiel van Oosterhout Jan 20 '12 at 9:03

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