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Thread: Tables vs. tabs

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    Bronze Lounger
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    Tables vs. tabs

    I work for a community college, but my work station is at a site that's away from the main campus. Every month, the college publishes a calendar of activities, and I get this calendar via an email attachment (an MS-Word document). I couldn't help noticing that the person who prepares this calendar seems to be working too hard at it. That is, this person creates five columns (date, time, event, room, sponsor) with tabs! This is the kind of work that used to drive me bananas until I learned to use tables. I decided to ask this person why she uses tabs and to offer to show her how to use a table to make her work easier.

    I was totally surprised by the lady's response. Turns out she knows all about using a table, but here's the problem: She produces a single document and publishes it both as an email attachment and as an item for the campus web site. She used a table until a few years ago, when her boss (the dean) decided he didn't like the gridlines showing on the web page. The only way to avoid the gridlines, it seems, is to use tabs instead of a table.

    Now, my little "missionary effort" quickly came to a halt because I know just about nothing about building web pages. This calendar is not my problem, but I hate to see someone having to work so hard on what should be a very quick and easy project. Can someone suggest where to start--that is, can someone tell me how to build this table in Word in such a way that, when we publish it to a web page, the gridlines do not appear. By the way, we use WinXP and Office XP.

    Thanks!

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    Plutonium Lounger Leif's Avatar
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    Re: Tables vs. tabs

    Like the attached?
    I simply created two tables, witrh the second one I simply went:
    Format > Borders and Shading > None

    (Done with Word 2002. Rename the file to "table.htm" and you have basically what Word produced for me.)
    Attached Files Attached Files

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    Re: Tables vs. tabs

    Just as an FYI, the HTML synatx for that is:
    <pre><table border="0"></pre>

    This can also be done using CSS. Since you're using an Office application to produce them document (if I understand correctly) you shouldn't need that, as Leif's solution is the point and click way of fixing it!
    -Mark

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    Re: Tables vs. tabs

    Hello, Leif! And thanks for the speedy reply!

    I just tried the same thing with the original calendar of events for December, and yeah--if you just zap the borders in the Word document, they don't appear in Web preview either! Could it really be this simple?! <img src=/S/doh.gif border=0 alt=doh width=15 height=15>

    Remember: The lady said her "bad" experience goes back a few years (I think she said five years). Was there something different goin' on then? Like, could you save a Word document as a web page back then? (I guess that was Word 97.) I know nothing about the steps they go through to get the calendar from m'lady's computer to the web page. Can you think of any other stumbling blocks that might come up?

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    Re: Tables vs. tabs

    Well, it appears the fix is as simple as removing the borders in the foundation Word table! (But I'm gonna really be surprised if m'lady didn't know you can zap the borders! Sheesh!)

    By the way, Mark: What's CSS? I read your post from about a year ago (103584), but everybody involved in that thread seemed to understand the language, y'know. Thanks for the information!

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    Plutonium Lounger Leif's Avatar
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    Re: Tables vs. tabs

    Yes, I believe it really is that simple. <img src=/S/smile.gif border=0 alt=smile width=15 height=15>
    I recall there being an opton available for earlier versions of Word to 'optimize' the size of Word-produced html - I may be totally wrong about that - but it still certainly makes enormous files. It also includes a lot of user information - I suspect from the Word document properties, which I deleted from my example.

    FYI, the attached is the same produced using FrontPage 2002. The file size is about 15% of the Word equivalent!
    Attached Files Attached Files

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    Re: Tables vs. tabs

    Mark: Thanks for the information! It appears the fix is as simple as Leif describes. Now, m'lady is really gonna surprise me if she doesn't know how to zap the borders from a table!

    By the way: What's CSS? I read your post from about a year ago (subject: Something about "mouseovers just like Woody's), where you mention CSS several times. Everybody involved in that thread seemed to speak the language, if you know whadda mean.

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    Re: Tables vs. tabs

    <P ID="edit" class=small>(Edited by WyllyWylly on 17-Dec-02 17:48. to correct URL markup.)</P>I remember an add-on for Word 2000 that Microsoft called an "HTML Filter" that you can use to clean up the Word-generated html. It can still be downloaded from:

    http://office.microsoft.com/download.../Msohtmf2.aspx

    In Word 2002, you can do the same in the 'Save As' dialog box. Choose 'Web Page, Filtered' when saving the document. I can't attest to the quality of the 'filtered' html, though... <img src=/S/smile.gif border=0 alt=smile width=15 height=15>

    - eric

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    Re: Tables vs. tabs

    It's better than nothing - but if it's anything like any of the other generated code that I see coming from Office applications, I think I'd opt for re-writing it all by hand. <img src=/S/sigh.gif border=0 alt=sigh width=15 height=15>

    Thanks for the useful link!

    Edited to add:

    I couldn't stand the curiosity. I downloaded and installed the add-in - which works just fine with Word 2002 - and got some interesting results. It adds a "Save As: Filtered HTML" option to the Save As dialog box, so you don't need to run it separately. Attached is a zip with two documents: the document saved as Word HTML, and then again as Filtered Word HTML. As you can see it removes a huge chunk of apparently worthless information. Granted this was a very simple test, but the effects are obvious. Even so I'll stand by my preference to do such things by hand, becase I can accomplish in several fewer lines of code the exact same thing!!

    For grins and giggles, take a look at this comparison of lines of generated code. I saw a more recent example just a few days ago but this is the only publicly available one I could rustle up....gasp!
    Attached Files Attached Files
    -Mark

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    Super Moderator WebGenii's Avatar
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    Re: Tables vs. tabs

    Mark
    That being said I have used the filter when I've had huge amounts of Word docs. The filtering process is very fast and it does clear out a huge amount of <img src=/w3timages/censored.gif alt=censored border=0>.
    But Word and the filter can really only create acceptable HTML when the Word doc is correctly formatted in the first place and that means proper use of styles. Most people do not format their Word docs properly so one is still left with a great deal of hand work to do. Or the often uphill battle to educate people in document formatting. That is why I have been so interested in working with FrontPage VBA - to see what I could automate.
    Anyhow - I've left that project behind for now, but one never knows when it would be useful again <img src=/S/shrug.gif border=0 alt=shrug width=39 height=15>.
    My <img src=/S/2cents.gif border=0 alt=2cents width=15 height=15>.
    [b]Catharine Richardson (WebGenii)
    WebGenii Home Page
    Moderator: Spreadsheets, Other MS Apps, Presentation Apps, Visual Basic for Apps, Windows Mobile

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    Re: Tables vs. tabs

    Yes, I think Leif nailed it. I run screaming from the HTML that Word and Excel produce, as noted by the differences in file sizes...I'd never done a comparative analysis like Leif did, but that's just downright astonishing. It also affects the load time of the page, and on a modem....every little bit and byte counts.

    At any rate, CSS is short for Cascading Style Sheets. What CSS does is to allow web pages to take on formatting characteristics. When HTML was designed, it was intended to control the structure of the document, not the appearance - i.e. headings, lists, outlining, and so forth. As the Internet grew in popularity and the number of websites exploded, there became a burning need by developers to control the appearance as well, so CSS was brought out. Woody's is one example, and I make extensive use of CSS in my own personal site as well. You can specify font sizes, weights, link colors, just about any formatting job you can think of, and it makes changing the design of a website or group of pages a breeze. You make your change in one place - the style sheet - and whammo, the entire site changes. Lounge skins are based on CSS, for one excellent example. When you change "skins" you're changing style sheets.

    Wow, post 103584...thanks for reminding me that I still need to do that!!!!
    -Mark

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