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Since there is no option to merge table cells in Google docs, creating a new table inside a cell could be a possible work around for this.

When I insert a table inside a table cell, blank lines are inserted before and after the table. How can I remove these blank lines? or create a layout similar to the one shown in the picture below (without the extra lines in first column)

Nested table in Google Docs

I have tried playing around with cell padding and minimum row height in table properties but found no solution.

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I commend your ingenuity but fear it is just not possible. –  pnuts Jun 5 '14 at 23:35
Actually it is now possible to merge cells in Docs: support.google.com/docs/answer/141104?hl=en –  filipeglfw Feb 2 at 22:54

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