Tables – Jutoh on steroids

Simple tables
Simple tables from the Formatting Sample

Tables represent a hugely complex feature, which was implemented in an intense, drug-fuelled mania. Steroids, that is – treatment for the autoimmune illness sarcoidosis. Boy, I loved the energy those steroids gave me. And given how much had to be done, this was timely. The wide-ranging changes to Jutoh include import from DOCX, ODT and HTML, export to ODT, HTML and Markdown, a set of table and cell editing dialogs, commands to manipulate rows and cells, rendering/editing code, and a table template system for formatting arbitrary table sizes by region. And fixing the bugs in all of this over a period of several years…

If you are writing novels, you may not need tables. But if you do, you will appreciate the flexibility tables give you, including columns of fixed or expanding size, coloured cell backgrounds and borders, ability to span cells across multiple columns or rows, creation of tables from comma or tab-separated data, and ability to flow text to the left or right of a table.

You can edit individual or a selected range of cell properties, or you can use  the table properties dialog to edit overall properties. The screenshot shows the Borders tab where you can apply border colour, width and style to the borders you select. Jutoh deduces which cells should get what formatting for the whole table, but for more control, you can select certain cells before you invoke the table properties dialog, and formatting will be applied to this more specific block of cells.

Table border properties
Table border properties

Table templates offer a way to format tables consistently with effects such as alternate rows coloured differently, even when the number of rows and columns isn’t known. Creating a table template involves adding formatting commands to a list which is executed against the table to deal with different areas of the table. This is not going to be used by everyone, but is handy for advanced users. The following screenshot shows what happens when you are applying a table template from the gallery and you click Customise to customise the various regions of the template:

Customising a table template
Customising a table template

You can now click on Region Box Formatting to change colour, border, margins and more for a selected region, such as “Odd stripes”.

For more information about using tables, please type “tables” into the Jutoh toolbar, or see the Working with tables chapter in the Jutoh book.

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About the Author: JulianSmart