Since Microsoft Word 2002, it has been possible to format a series of cells in a table all at the one time, even if they are not contiguous (a lovely word that means not side-by-side).
To do this, select the first cell then Control + click on the other cells that you want to share the same formatting. Once all the cells are selected you can apply a formatting such as a shading to those cells. Note, that the Shading button on the Tables and Borders toolbar in Word 2002/2003 is the one to use, the one on the Drawing toolbar is the Fill button – it looks the same but doesn’t work the same!
Selecting and formatting non contiguous cells all at ones makes it a quicker process to format a table than it would be if you selected and formatted each cell individually.
However, of course, the F4 key still works in cells in a table so you can, for example, fill a cell with a shading color or a format option and then click in another cell and press the F4 key and have that format applied to this cell too. The F4 key is a repeat key which repeats the previous command and it’s a great key to learn to use anytime you’re working with Word.