Using TextEdit, I created a table in a RTF document. Now I want to delete one of the columns in the table, and I see no option anywhere to delete a column. How do I delete a column in a table in TextEdit?

  • 4
    If TextEdit formats the table so that each column starts at the same horizontal position you could try holding down the <Option> key to select the rectangular area of the column you want to delete. Then press <delete>.
    – jaume
    Feb 3, 2014 at 7:56
  • @jaume why not make that an answer?
    – Ruskes
    Feb 3, 2014 at 8:58
  • Let's see if it works for the OP... if that's the case I'll make an answer out of it.
    – jaume
    Feb 3, 2014 at 9:05
  • @jaume I can't seem to get the ⌥-drag to work with tables. The mouse cursor changes correctly, but it selects normally?
    – grg
    Feb 3, 2014 at 17:23
  • @jaume I held the Option key and selected all the text in the column, then pressed the Delete key. All the text vanished, but the column was still there with empty cells. Feb 4, 2014 at 7:09

2 Answers 2


RTF table support is quite limited in TextEdit.

If the column you want to get rid of is not the last column in the table (in which case grgarside's answer above is your best option) you can try the procedure below:

  1. Let's say you want to delete column "c" below:

    enter image description here

  2. Hold down Option to mark the contents of the column (note that the cursor changes shape to a cross):

    enter image description here

  3. Now you can either:

    • Press Delete to delete its contents:

      enter image description here

    • Position the cursor in every empty cell and press the fndelete key combination (you can also use the delete ⌦ key, but you will have to rearrange columns later):

      enter image description here

      until you have deleted all of them:

      enter image description here


    • Press Merge in Format > Table...:

      enter image description here

    • Select the contents of the column and delete them by pressing Delete:

      enter image description here

    • Place the cursor in the empty column and press the fndelete key combination (you can also use the delete ⌦ key, but you will have to rearrange columns later) to delete it.

I wish it were more straightforward, but unfortunately it isn't.

  • Thanks jaume. On my MacBook Pro, I had to press fn+delete while doing Step 4. Then the remaining columns were automatically resized so that the table continued to fit the entire width of the window, so that I didn't have to do Step 5. Feb 5, 2014 at 7:10
  • Thanks for sharing the fn+delete trick, I've added it to the answer and deleted step 5.
    – jaume
    Feb 5, 2014 at 7:38

If it's the last column in a table, you can reduce the number of columns in the Table inspector, available from Format → Table…

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