Re: Using tables for content

Subject: Re: Using tables for content
From: Lauren <lauren -at- writeco -dot- net>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Thu, 24 Oct 2013 11:07:50 -0700

On 10/24/2013 6:44 AM, Sean wrote:

So, whilst I search the archives, can we have a live discussion on the pros and cons of using tables for tech writing content. Consider a traditional procedure that uses step: in the left column, the action, and in the right column, the result. It seems, for Word, each row needs to be numbered manually.

Huh? I've used autonumbering in tables without a problem. Just select the first column and set numbering. I think I need a visual aid here. Are you saying that you cannot number a blank cell in a row when you only want numbers in that column? The trick to make that work is to enter a character and number that. For example, you can have each cell contain a period and set the numbering to not contain a period or white space. If you use a dash, then you can leave the white space. I did something like that years ago. It looks like the table that follows when converted to text.

1. - Begin Process Starts
2. - Continue Process Continues
3. - End Process Ends

Conversely, there is standard ordered list approach without using a table.

Presenting a list in a table format is usually best but that does not mean you have to use Word tables. The table format predates the automated tools and can be set with tabs or a well-formatted ordered list.

Steve offered the best suggestion.

On 10/24/2013 9:23 AM, Janoff, Steven wrote:
I'd consider drafting a sample both ways and then see how it looks, get feedback -- both your own intuition and then thoughts from trusted colleagues or users.

You can also follow Monique's suggestion of styles. I have used character styles for terms in a list of definitions that was set to a list style.

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