Re. Importing tables

Subject: Re. Importing tables
From: Geoff Hart <geoff-h -at- MTL -dot- FERIC -dot- CA>
Date: Sat, 21 Oct 1995 09:38:19 LCL

Dave Versdahl asked about importing Word 6 tables into
Windows help. Dave, I haven't done this specific import,
but a general observation about tables should point you in
the right direction:

Most word processors use a "table editor" of some sort to
create tables, but no two pieces of software describe
tables the same way. Worse, the descriptions are often so
incompatible that there's no way to translate the tables at
all. In 10 years of computing, I've come to a simple
conclusion: if there's even a slight possibility that you
will want to move the table to other software, DON'T USE
THE TABLE EDITOR! (Sorry to shout... I've lost countless
hours trying to work around table editor tables.)

Solution? Use tabs instead. Type the data for column 1, hit
the tab key, type the data for column 2, and so on to the
end of that row; hit return to mark the next row. (In
PageMaker, hit shift-return so that the entire table acts
as a single paragraph; you can then modify each line of the
table simultaneously just by modifying the style). To make
the table look nice, select all the rows and columns, then
adjust type size and spacing until everything fits. Harder
to describe than to do, actually. These tables will
transfer almost flawlessly to any software. If the fonts
and spacing don't come across, the tabs generally survive
as tabs instead of spaces; thus, all you have to do is
redefine the tab positions, generally a trivial task. I can
do complex tables in less than 5 minutes this way
(WordPerfect to PageMaker). This should also work for HTML,
files if you convert the tabs to spaces from a
nonproportional font.

--Geoff Hart @8^{)}
geoff-h -at- mtl -dot- feric -dot- ca

Disclaimer: If I didn't commit it in print in one of our
reports, it don't represent FERIC's opinion.

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