This is part 2 of the Table series (here's the first post). In this post, I'll show you how to make your tables look exactly the way you want them with border colors, border styles, border placement, and shading. (The first post covered how to control column width; other posts will cover more complex items like vertical spacing, headings, captions, and other advanced table stuff.)
Let's say you've got this fabulous table full of very important information.
It's nice content, but this is, after all, for a glossy brochure on the candidates for mayor, so you want to make it look a little fancier. The candidates, especially that snob Stephanie, would be insulted if you sent this out as is.
So you'll need to make the borders and shading fancier. Bring up the Tables toolbar (View > Toolbars > Table). Dock it and drag it to the top of the work area to dock it.
Click and hold down on the downward-facing black triangle at the far right end of the toolbar and make sure you've got all four of the formatting icons: Line style, line color, borders, and backgrounds. If no check mark appears next to one of them, select it and it'll be added to the toolbar.
The first thing you do is to specify where the borders should be. You can put the borders on just horizontal lines, on horizontal and vertical (as is), on just the top and bottom of the table, etc. You do this first because if you do the formatting, then change where the borders go, all your previous formatting might go away. (Later I'll talk about AutoFormats which will solve that problem, but that's a topic for another blog.)
So select the table. Let's say that you want to put the borders only on the horizontal lines, not vertically You'd think that you'd click and hold down on the Borders icon and choose horizontal, as shown.
That's logical but that's not quite the way it works. You need to clear the border positions first by saying you don't want any borders anywhere. You can't just switch from one to another directly. So first, click on the No Borders At All icon in the upper right corner, as shown.
Now select the horizontal-only borders icon, or whatever icon you like in order to apply the border placement you want. The formatting will be applied.
Now, format up a storm. In addition to border placement, you can change:
- Border style -- Double lines, thin lines ,thick lines, etc.
- Border color -- And keep in mind that if you reallllly want to go nuts, you can make your own colors.
- Background shading -- A background color for the heading row is one nice effect. Alternating shading can be very effective for making long tables easier to read. Be sure that you change the font color as necessary to make sure the table is legible.
Select the table, select the border style icon, and pick something.
Select the table, select the border color icon, and pick something.
Select the table, select the background shading icon, and pick something.
Removing a Color
To remove border color or background shading formatting, choose the No Fill option.
Here's your table. (It's pretty horrible in color, of course, but it shows some of the effects.)
Now, you might also want to just apply formatting to one row. For instance, you can select the heading row, apply a heavier border style and different border color and shading color. Maybe you just have shading on the heading row and nowwhere else. The basic message here is, select the column or row to apply formatting to; you don't have to apply the same formatting to the entire table.
Here's the big cahuna, which I'm just going to touch on lightly since it's really just about whatever you want to do with it. Let's say you want some really specific formatting in different parts of the table. Select the table, choose Table > Table Properties, and click the Borders tab.
As when you used the toolbar icons, you first select WHERE you want the formatting. Use the prefab icons or click on a line in the User-Defined area. To deselect a line, click on it again or click somewhere else.
Then specify the formatting such as line style, color, etc.
Set other options such as distance from text, shadow, etc.
All That Work to Format Just One Table?????
This was a lot of work, wasn't it?
Doing it once is a lot of work. Doing it 40 times is hard labor.
Wouldn't it be nice if there were something like styles, but for tables, that would preserve the formatting for a table and allow you to reapply it to any other table?
Tune in next time.