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  1. #1
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    Word table style puzzle

    I'm working with Word table styles for the first time, although I'm thoroughly familiar with paragraph and character styles. I've encountered a problem that baffles me. I wonder whether it's something I don't understand, or a bug.

    I defined a table style which includes border rules set to "All" (i.e., all four sides and boundaries between rows and columns). I can see that the borders are properly set when I display the style definition, both in the thumbnail and in the "Borders and Shading" dialog box.

    If I create a new table and apply the style to it, all of the border rules are shown except for the top, bottom, and left sides of the first column!

    If I apply the style to an existing table, all of whose border rules were set directly, the same thing happens

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    Re: Word table style puzzle

    I don't know anything about your specific issue, although I know that, at least as of Word 2002, a lot of the Word gurus (of whom I am not one) consider Table Styles a half-a---, excuse me, half-completed feature that is not yet ready for prime time.

    While you wait for a (possibly) more useful response, it would be good if you edited your post to specify which version of Word you're using.

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    Re: Word table style puzzle

    I am using Word 2003 with Service Pack 2. I specified that in the original post's "Version/service release" field. I see that the information did not get displayed -- I'm sorry it didn't, but that was not my error.

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    Re: Word table style puzzle

    Table borders are toggles. Apply once and they're on; apply again and they're off. That may account for your missing borders. Try setting the all borders in your table to none before applying the table style. Let us know the result.

    I don't use Word's table styles (1) because of an odd limitation that Table Normal cannot be set to be smaller than Normal and (2) because the scientific and technical the tables I edit are too complicated for this approach. In many sci/tech doc styles, the column headings are centered; the row headings are flush left; and the text in the table body columns is left, centered, right, or decimal aligned depending on the content (all in the interest of readability). They may are also bold, background shaded, italicized, etc., in the interest of looks. So I create regular paragraph styles called table heads, table text (left aligned), and table bullets (left aligned), at a minimum. And, because the alignment in the table body has to be tinkered with on a column-by-column basis, I apply manual formatting over the table text style for the rest.

    I am interested in hearing how well Word's table styles work for you and others.

    Pam
    Pam Caswell

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    Re: Word table style puzzle

    This is my first try with them, and as you can see, it's not working perfectly. Overall, though, it's working well enough that I would rather use them than not.

    I have done my share of hideously complex tables, but the ones I am preparing right now are quite simple. They need particular cell margins, rules all around, and a particular background color in the first column. I am using a table style to set all those attributes conveniently and consistently -- the same reasons one uses any type of style in Word. All of it is working perfectly, except for the rules.

    I haven't tried setting font and paragraph attributes in the table style. I didn't even consider trying to set those because I didn't see any reason to.

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    Re: Word table style puzzle

    Table styles are a great thing to experiment with and do take some time to get used to. The problem you are having is that you have only explored one of many settings in the table style dialog. When you first go into the edit styles dialog you will be applying the formatting settings to the 'Whole Table'. These settings are then overruled by the many different sub-areas such as 'Header Row', 'Last Row', 'Left Column'.

    When you create a table style from scratch then there will be no settings in these lower levels but if you start by modifying an existing table style then you may need to visit all the lower level areas to see if there are specific settings applied there. I have not searched exhaustively but I don't know of a simple way to remove all the lower level formatting of these objects.

    Try changing the 'Apply formatting to...' drop down before investigating the formatting applied to that element of the table.
    Andrew Lockton, Chrysalis Design, Melbourne Australia

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    Re: Word table style puzzle

    >When you first go into the edit styles dialog you will be applying
    >the formatting settings to the 'Whole Table'. These settings are
    >then overruled by the many different sub-areas such as 'Header
    >Row', 'Last Row', 'Left Column'.

    I tried it, and you were right. Once I defined the border properties for the misbehaving first column, the problem went away.

    It is passing strange that a newly defined table style should have special borders in the first column that I did not set. What other surprises does the style have in store for me? If I define a third column might it automatically set that column's default font to Marlett? If I extend the table to 18 rows, might it decide that the 18th row should have a purple background? When a program exhibits this type of initiative I say that it is buggy, but Microsoft probably would tell me that I simply have failed to appreciate its marvelous capabilities.

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