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    Table styles issues (Word XP)

    Ok, I get it....table styles are typical of most new Microsoft Word features, in that they don't work too well in the first implementation (or 2, or 3...). But does anybody know how they're supposed to work, and what's causing the problems we're running into?

    We're compiling a document, and many of the tables are pulled from documents originally written using Word 97. Many of these tables are suddenly having table styles applied to them. But it's random--not all the tables have this problem.

    Here are my questions:

    1. I know all tables created in Word XP have a table style applied to them. I would assume that when a table is brought in from Word 97, it too would automatically have a table style applied, but that's not happening. For many of the Word 97 tables we've brought in, there is no table style at all. So....what determines whether a table brought in from an earlier version of Word gets a table style or not? Look at the second table in the attachment, do "Reveal Formatting" and "Distinguish style source". Notice there's no table style.

    2. Some Word 97 tables are getting styles applied. Ok, I can deal with that. What determines the style Word XP chooses? In the attachment, the table style for the first table is "list:indent bull". That's not a table style, it's a paragraph style (if I try the Table AutoFormat command, that style isn't listed). Why would Word XP apply a paragraph style to these tables? Even better--in this same document, Word XP chose to apply the "Document Map" style to some of the tables. Boy, that was fun. [img]/forums/images/smilies/sad.gif[/img]

    3. As noted in question 1, some of my Word 97 tables don't have a table style applied at all. Is there any way I can do that too?

    4. One more thing we've noticed. The tables that are getting these random styles applied will look fine through many revisions, and then suddenly get the style applied. Does anyone know what the trigger is??

    If anyone can answer these questions, I'd really appreciate it!

    Thanks,

    Beej
    Attached Files Attached Files

  2. #2
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    Re: Table styles issues (Word XP)

    As you may have guessed from the lack of replies, table style baffle many Word users. As Word MVP Shauna Kelly states in Why I don't use Table Styles in Word 2002 and 2003:
    <hr>Microsoft has never documented how they work. I've only been able to discover how they work through trial and error, and from reading about other users' frustrations on Microsoft's newsgroups.<hr>
    So I fear there is no easy answer to your questions...

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    Re: Table styles issues (Word XP)

    I would suggest creating table styles and just applying them uniformly to all tables you place in a document. That resolves any issues--create policy to overcome "features" of the program.

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    Re: Table styles issues (Word XP)

    I just read this thread. We just got done with a proposal where we had a lot of these issues (AGAIN). Copying from one document to a new one built on the same template (with minor changes) made end-of-row markers go from one paragraph style to another -- end one for most was TOC3 -- in our TOCs, the 2nd & 3rd level are indented quite a bit, so most of the text in the table (even tho it was still called table text) took on that characteristic and ended up out of sight or strung out in a vertical line down the entire page. But it only affected about 15 out of 30 in our technical volume so it's not consistent.

    My default style for tables I convert from text or insert has always been "Table Grid" in Office 2003. I think in Word 2000 and before, end of row markers were always "Normal". I found a table style called "Table Normal" that I'm getting everyone in our group to adopt as their default and we'll make it default in all our templates. I'm hoping this will solve our problems (except for those tables we get from the proposal writers, and we may end up converting them to text, then back again). If you assign "Table Normal" as your default, then convert text to a table, the window that comes up says Table Style is (none).

    Do you know if anyone has tried this? If not, I'll let you know how we do with it. Since this bad table behavior doesn't always happen, it may take awhile for us to determine the outcome.

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    Re: Table styles issues (Word XP)

    Nancy (and anyone else interested in table styles issues),

    For new tables, we're going to adopt some of your suggestions.

    For old tables, an IT guy at another company gave us a solution. If you save your document as "XML", this removes the table styles. Unfortunately my company's using Word XP which doesn't have a "Save as XML" option (at least as far as I can tell). Still, it works for the other company every time. If you can, try it out.

    I tried saving down to Word 6/95, since table styles didn't exist then. No luck--the table styles were still there when I re-opened. However, they STOPPED being "TOC 3" (or "TOC 6") style and reverted to something I could work with, like Table Grid. Thus, until we get Word 2003 (or whatever), I'll have to keep using this trick when my tables blow up.

    Good luck!

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    Re: Table styles issues (Word XP)

    Another approach that might work for you (depending on the circumstances) and that wouldn't make any other changes to the documents would be to just run a macro that changed the style of all the tables to Table Grid, like this:
    <pre> Dim tblX As Word.Table
    For Each tblX In ActiveDocument.Tables
    tblX.Style = "Table Grid"
    Next tblX</pre>


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    Re: Table styles issues (Word XP)

    As a follow-up to my previous post, I should have mentioned the risk that applying a table style to a table (like my suggested macro does) can result in unwanted changes to paragraph or character formatting. For example, if there's some text in italics in a paragraph that is otherwise non-italic, and the paragraph is within a table whose table style includes the itallic attribute, changing the table style to Table Grid may cause an unwanted loss of the italic formatting.

    I suspect saving the document to Word 95 and then pulling it back up in a later Word version, like you're doing, may pose a similar risk, but I don't know that for sure.

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    Re: Table styles issues (Word XP)

    Thanks for the macro -- we're changing ours to read "Table Normal" instead of "Table Grid" because we want to stay as far away from Microsoft table styles as possible and Table Grid is one of those. They have screwed up too many of our documents when we're right up against the deadline. One of the nastiest ones was when about 6 out of 20 tables had the end of row markers change to TOC 4, then that infected the text inside the table. Text was mostly out of the cell range because of toc4's hanging indent. You could change the formatting in the table, but once saved, it would revert back or affect another table. What a nightmare at a deadline! At that point we had no idea what was causing the behavior.

    Funny, its a style but you can't search for that style -- why would Microsoft make it a default for tables and not even allow you to search for it? Wanted to do a global replace but couldn't.

    We bring other people's tables into our documents all the time and since "Table Grid" is the default for tables in Word 2003 (unless you change your default), we need to change them before we bring them in. This macro makes it easy. In most cases, all it does is take off the border and align it to the left.

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    Re: Table styles issues (Word XP)

    On further consideration, this may be a slightly better version of my macro. I know that, with paragraph styles at least, if macro code tells Word to apply a style to a paragraph, Word applies that style (with possible unwanted consequences for character formatting in that paragraph) even if the paragraph is already that style. Assuming the same may be true of table styles, you may want to use the following variation on my previously-posted macro:
    <pre> Dim tblX As Word.Table

    For Each tblX In ActiveDocument.Tables
    If tblX.Style <> "Table Normal" Then
    tblX.Style = "Table Normal"
    End If
    Next tblX</pre>


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    Re: Table styles issues (Word XP)

    Thanks so much -- works great. If table end-of-row markers are already "Table Normal", all is left alone -- borders & alignment stay as it was. Only the ones that are different have these things changed. Wonderful, the process is almost painless and we really appreciate it.

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    Re: Table styles issues (Word XP)

    I made a strange discovery today re: table styles.

    One way I check for them is to open the "Reveal Formatting" pane and enable "Distinguish style source".

    I did this today and accidentally hit the "Escape" key on my keyboard (don't ask). I have no idea why, but the suddenly the Reveal Formatting pane changed and told me that the Table Style for the table in question was no longer "TOC 7", and was now "Comment Subject". I tried hitting Escape again, but it didn't change again.

    However, if I went to another table that also had the bug, opened the pane, and then hit Escape, it changed the table style for that table.

    OK, it's not at all useful, but it is strange!

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    Re: Table styles issues (Word XP)

    Sorry this is late. I was actually working on a proposal with lots of tables.

    1. Because I was once confused about table styles and paragraph styles, I thought you might be too. But after taking a look at reveal formatting, I have to say that Word is also confused.

    The table style for the first table in your file is table grid, and for the second, it's table normal. (I found this out the old fashioned way, one "modify style at a time" until I found the two that didn't say "Select all: not currently used".) So you are right, Word assigns a table style to tables imported from Word 97, but without looking at the Word 97 tables, I can't guess why it would choose table grid for some and table normal for others. I also don't understand why the end of row markers in the second table would be identified as normal and not table normal.

    2. Regarding the paragraph styles: If paragraph styles were applied to paragraphs the tables in Word 97, they should have been carried over into Word XP. But (some of this is from Stephanie Krieger's Advanced Office Documents 2007 Edition), if there's a formatting conflict between the styles of the same name and if if the imported styles are applied to only part of a paragraph, Word XP may generate unlinked styles--the ones with char or char char (in English language versions) after the style name. I notice that your document has several of these; on of them is list:indent bull. If you carefully get rid of the unlinked styles--changing its based-on value to "no style" and then deleting it is one method--your paragraph styles may correct themselves. Even if you have to fix them yourself, the fix is more likely to stick. Note that paragraph styles are applied to tables in addition to the underlying table style.

    3. Apparently, there's no way to not have a style applied to a table in Word XP (or 2007) , but you could just ignore the table style and apply custom paragraph styles to your table text. That's what I have done for the past few years. After reading Krieger's book, though, I am now using custom table styles to format the grid, shading, cell margins, and cell vertical alignment and custom paragraph styles to format the table text. In my last job, most of the 40+ tables could be formatted in 4 or 5 clicks.

    4. I suspect the random styles may happen when a new, unlinked style is created.

    Pam
    Pam Caswell

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    Re: Table styles issues (Word XP)

    I contributed some to this thread before. Since then (11/06), we've used "Table Normal" table style in all our docs. We work proposals with many different writers; our docs go thru several rounds of review & rewriting, and are touched by many hands. Writers are constantly inserting material from other sources into our docs, sometimes up to the very last minute. We are usually required to submit electronically in MS Word, so we can't have tables that might go bad when customer opens doc. Before we figured out what was causing the problem, we were constantly "fixing" text in tables back to the way it should be; next time you opened the doc, that table might have gone back to the way it was before you "fixed" it. Or maybe that one was okay for now, but 2 others went bad. And "Open and repair" never worked because Microsoft never saw it as a problem.

    The 2nd macro above in this thread (by St333ve) has really been our lifesaver!! Even though we made "Table Normal" our default table style in all our templates, that only covers tables created in our docs -- not those copied in from other sources. We run the macro when we open any doc. It converts any table that is not "Table Normal" to Table Normal. If we've forgotten to run the macro (and some do get out of the habit) and one of the tables copied into our doc does develop problems, all we have to do is run the macro. It changes the borders/shading on tables to "None" and if you've positioned the table, it left aligns it. If text in the table acquired a style (usually a style with hanging indent like bulleted or toc style), changing tables to "Table Normal" allows the text to return to whatever its style was before the table style caused it to change.

    Since we've been using this macro, our nightmarish problems with tables no longer exist.

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