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Table styling - alternate row/column styles plus..

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The table feature strikes me as not very well developed.

There's been a feat accomplished launching Publisher so well developed btw. I can understand the Table feature has not had the same attention as the rest of the app.

I hope it's an area identified for attention going forward.

Just for clarity: the only reason to have a table feature within Publisher is for pretty tables. Pretty. Please maintain this focus and don't drift into "mini Excel" territory.

So, having tried to use it, I'd like to request the following:

  1. Easily alternately style rows / columns (ie: every third row)
  2. Copy-paste cell styles from cell to cell
  3. Fix the line styling workflow. It appears the last applied style persists in the dialogues (toolbar and studio panel). To reproduce this.. create a table, select a few cells and style the line (dotted and thicker/thinner). Then select a cell in the original style... you'll see the dialogues reflect the last style setting...
  4. Ability to clear contents of multiple cells (ie: right click -> clear selected)
  5. Ability to create a *visual* space between columns by making the borders white. See attached.

In the attached

On the left is a screencapture of a Publisher table. At the top it's selected and clearly shows it's divided into columns.. below is the table when not selected. You can see the white column borders are completely ignored.

On the right is the reason why you might want to do this - not untypical of the kind of table I need to do regularly in brochures and flyers. The table on the right is your challenge btw, though it needs to have 20 rows in the middle alternately mid-grey and light-grey.... best of luck should you choose to accept this mission. ūüĎć

example.jpg

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I'd suggest that you could look at using mulitple tables stacked on top of each other.

I do a table that has alternating coloured lines for each row - so that's one table and I just select alternate rows and change the colour - in theory you may only need one column??
Text is in a duplicate table where the rows have a transparent background.
I have a third table between the two so I can change the colour of individual cells

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On 5/18/2020 at 8:42 PM, ProDesigner said:

best of luck should you choose to accept this mission

Challenge accepted:

I didn't bother matching the colours on your table. I didn't bother creating Text styles that would match the styles of your tables exactly.

The only thing Publisher cannot achieve is the round corners and cell vertical gradient fill (which I asked for already).

But I think this comes darn close to what you want to achieve.

Yes, you can add as many rows in between as you need and the rows will continue to alternate.

Best regards

 

 

image.thumb.png.5d6950d3b36a5c6f72882d27bf2c55bd.png

Table.afpub

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@Seneca How do you get the alternating row colors without applying it manually? I played with your file, and I see that you have done it, but I don't see how.

I very rarely get to play with tables, so this is outside my area of familiarity.

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2 hours ago, garrettm30 said:

I played with your file, and I see that you have done it, but I don't see how.

Hi @garrettm30, it's all done with Table Styles. Have a look at my file and at the View-> Studio->Table Formats (if it's not opened). Double-click Hosting Plans Table and explore the styles. Have a look at the table format on the left of the window. Observe where the Table Head ends and where the Table Footer begins (dotted lines) everything in between are the contents of the table. If you set the table this way the raws will observe alternating colour. I didn't bother naming most of styles, etc. But once you have table styles applied the alternating rows work as they should.

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@Seneca Thank you for that. I fancy myself to have a pretty firm grasp on Publisher, and it is a really exciting thing to discover something pretty major I never knew before. I didn't know you could double-click an item in Table Formats (and I didn't try the alternate approach Edit "format name" menu item). That panel that comes up is entirely new to me, and it looks awesome. Now I must resist the urge to start putting tables into my work where they don't belong, because as I said, I don't often have the chance to use tables, and they are of a basic sort when I do.

To the Serif documentation team, I would recommend a video about that Edit Table Formats dialog. I watched all the tutorial videos back in the early days, and just now I went back to rewatch the table tutorial video again, but sadly it only goes so far as what I already knew before Seneca enlightened me. It looks like the Edit Table Formats dialog has some real power, but exactly how it works is not entirely clear at first glance, such as what the various triangles do. I think I get the idea now, but there may be some interesting capabilities in the usage that I haven't considered.

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Hello @Seneca

Good work. Fascinating. I've not tried to recreate the table myself using the table format and it looks a bit opaque (as in: not intuitive) on a couple of things.

1) You talk about dotted lines denoting header and footer, which I see... yet in the format window there's only the dotted lines tell me anything about the header/footer. Where/how do you specify those?

2) I added another 20 rows and sure enough they automatically alternately coloured. I have absolutely no idea how you've set that up? It's completely opaque to me.

I'm also really intrigued and not fathomed how come your white vertical boundaries actually do show-up where mine refused point-blank to do so...

Really pleased you accepted my challenge. Thanks for taking the time - very generous of you. I'm sure lots of people will find it really valuable besides me. I'm going to find some time to give this some head space when I've a break between deadlines.

I've attached a screen shot of the 'studio > table format' you mention for others who might come along here and struggle with what they're supposed to see - just for info.

Screen Shot 2020-06-03 at 14.34.08.png

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Thank you so much for starting this topic! I was researching videos on how to do table styles and didn't really find anything. It's probably buried within another video about tables, but what I was looking for was how to set up table styles (format maybe?) that once I create a certain style, I could retain it and copy it to other tables. 

For example, I create planners. I create a monthly calendar template for each month and if I want to change the style of the layout, I currently do them all manually. After updating them yet again this year or if I want to completely change things that is very tedious so I knew there had to be a way to store what so that I could apply it across all master templates.

Because I use text styles, I just assumed it would be called "table styles" but it seems to be "table format". The reason I'm posting this here is that if someone else searches for "table styles" this post will come up for their reference. Thank you!

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12 minutes ago, ProDesigner said:

I've attached a screen shot of the 'studio > table format' you mention for others who might come along here and struggle with what they're supposed to see - just for info.

That was a good idea. I had not known about that particular screen until Seneca's post above. The screenshot will be useful to others to bring home what it offers.

12 minutes ago, ProDesigner said:

You talk about dotted lines denoting header and footer, which I see... yet in the format window there's only the dotted lines tell me anything about the header/footer. Where/how do you specify those?

It's all about the triangles, so let me try to explain as I now understand it (and I invite correction in case of inaccuracies). Let me quote your screenshot so you don't have to scroll during this explanation:

52 minutes ago, ProDesigner said:

 

Screen Shot 2020-06-03 at 14.34.08.png

With the triangles, you define starting, middle, and ending columns, and the same for rows (header, middle, and footer). Referring to your screenshot, notice the triangles at the left and the corresponding dashed line at the right. That indicates the boundary of the header rows. Currently there are two header rows. On the right side you see a pair of triangles with corresponding dotted lines on the left. That marks the boundary of the footer rows (currently just one). Everything between would be the middle (body), and that would be repeating. Here, for example, you see two body rows, which is how you get alternating shading. When apply this format to a table with many more rows, the additional rows will be styled according to this middle section in a repeating fashion. If you define only two middle rows, it will be alternating. You could have only one (every row formatted the same), or three or more for different formatting. Let's say you have five middle rows in a table, and your format is defined for three middle rows: they would be styled according the the first, second, third, first and second middle rows, respectively.

All of this is completely parallel for columns: you have starting columns, middle (which repeats), and ending. In the example above, there is only one middle column, so there is no alternating, and the first and last columns are formatted identically to the middle, for a visual appearance of having no starting column. You could choose to have alternating vertical column styles as well.

Another important thing to realize is that each cell in the table format model is assigned a Cell Format (think style for cells), which is what you see down the middle of the window. You can create few or many of those formats, they can be named, and multiple cells can be matched to a single format. For example, if you had a chart that needed only a single row of header and the rest body cells, you would only need two formats total. If you wanted to add alternating rows, then you need a third style for every other row. Each format's style is defined in the rightmost portion of the window.

The last important thing to understand is how to alter the definition of the layout in terms of header, middle, footer, etc. Those triangles are buttons. If you click the left-facing triangle on the top, then it will move the boundary between starting columns and middle columns one cell to the left, meaning you now have only one starting column, but two middle (repeating) columns. You use the minus buttons in the top right corner to delete rows from the model, and the plus buttons in the bottom left to add them.

…Feedback for Serif: It would be nice if undo would work in this window. If one wants to delete a row, it is easy to make the mistake of deleting a column instead, especially when one is learning how this works. It would be best to be able to undo, because otherwise fixing the mistake would mean multiple steps to get back to the starting point.

Back to my fellow users…

In view of the lack of undo, I think I would start formatting a new table format by figuring out how many header rows, middle (repeating) rows, and footer rows‚ÄĒand the same for columns‚ÄĒand then add or subtract columns to get the right number. Next¬†I would move the boundaries to match my intention, and finally I would define and assign my cell formats.

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4 hours ago, Copper Star Media said:

For example, I create planners. I create a monthly calendar template for each month....

Because I use text styles, I just assumed it would be called "table styles"....

This was my train of thought @Copper Star Media ... "text styles" and "shape styles" (View > studio > styles), so of course "table styles" er, "format".. uh-hello!?

I also create planners, though for projects so they crop-up whenever a project starts or needs a report doing.. so: all the time!

------

@garrettm30. To say you'd not encountered the table format dialogue before, you seem to have become a table format expert along with @Seneca in no time. Thanks for posting, you've cleared up something that wasn't immediately obvious (to me).

 

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5 minutes ago, ProDesigner said:

To say you'd not encountered the table format dialogue before, you seem to have become a table format expert along with @Seneca in no time.

Thanks. I have heard that a good exercise for internalizing knowledge is to try to explain it, as though explaining to someone who doesn't understand.

I hope what I did was helpful for others, but I do know that I learned a thing or two just by writing that post, and now I feel better equipped the next time I have a need to create a table.

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If one wants to be masochistic, a variation can be done (in Q anyway) using paragraph styles (and character styles for the red/green text icons and bolding).

Capture_000663.png.27bee2720de224211d246137878ae6ea.png

If data was coming from a database, it's all automatic via tagged text. Here I did make a couple conditional styles to format in a couple clicks.

Can ya tell I'm bored a bit?

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5 minutes ago, ProDesigner said:

Cool

Daft question: What's Q ?

Sorry. QuarkXPress.

I could have also just used table styles, but where's the challenge in that when I was trying¬†to chase away boredom whilst I was awaiting publication edits?¬†ūüėĀ

There are, to me, reasons to not use tables if it makes sense to use paragraph/character shading. The below is not a table.

Capture_000664.png.211fc94e9e8896a1a7a7f00e0e7ab6a3.png

It too began as a boredom challenge. But I did, with modifications to fit the data, use it in a live job. Such challenges is how I spend my spare time between periods of work--it's better than watching TV to me.

This example was a test for APub's capability. I couldn't replicate it (so the above is Q as well).

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Ha-ha.. good old QuarkXpress. It's still hanging in there - used to totally dominate (Now I'm showing my age). I remember folks being dumbfounded when I said I used PageMaker.

Must admit when Adobe went all subscription on us, I did consider going back to QX. I may yet do so when I get my new, MacBook.

You've clearly had a lot of experience importing bigger chunks of data (CSV, Excel) than I have... and possbly get bored more easily than I do.

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14 minutes ago, ProDesigner said:

... and possbly get bored more easily than I do.

For me, there's nothing more boring than being told, Edits are on the way...almost done. And then minutes turn into an hour or more.

Yeah, for fun I often solve design issues I see on forums, Facebook groups and the like. It's surprising how many times they have sparked design solutions in my own work. While I may not use something as the original designer's problem they were solving, it's the principles I learn so doing that makes me more efficient solving my own problems.

Merging / Tagged Text. Probably 80% of my work in the past has involved one or both those methods of automation. Almost all my merging is using Em Software's Xdata XTension. A high percentage of my tagged text work is using their XTags XTension. Maybe 1/4 of what I do, those two XTs are used concurrently. Nearly every book manuscript goes to tagged text, then imported.

I'm a big believer in automation.

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