A call for tables

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Eyal Redler
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A call for tables

Post by Eyal Redler » Sun Jul 08, 2018 11:17 am

Hi All,

We're doing some exciting work on tables in Mellel and we would like to hear from you. During the years we've heard a lot of requests and complaints about table support in Mellel and we have taken all of these into consideration but we wouldn't want to miss anything if we happen to forget something.
So please tell us
1. What would you like to see (personally)
2. What (if any) would like to remove
We would love to hear both about issues of layout (possibilities for appearance of table) and issues of UI.
Eyal Redler
----------------------
Co-Founder and Developer at Mellel AAR LTD
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jannuss
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Re: A call for tables

Post by jannuss » Sun Jul 08, 2018 3:54 pm

Most of the tables I use are small and simple.
1. The thing I'm missing most are
-- the ability to center a table automatically
-- in-line tables, alongside of text

2. I find the definition of keyboard shortcuts annoying: in order to insert a tab into the text I have to press alt-tab because the tab key jumps to the next table cell.

3. The line attributes section of the table palette confused the hell out of me at first. It's the opposite of intuitive: if I want to remove the top line of a table, i have to select that line and set its attribute to none.
but
I've gotten used to this backwards way of working, so I don't think I want you to change it.

Janet

peter.malik
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Re: A call for tables

Post by peter.malik » Mon Jul 09, 2018 8:25 am

1. Ability to work with something akin to 'table styles', whereby I could save the table designs I might need more often (which I often do). I'd love to have had this when working on my monograph which utilised lots of tables which required the same design and layout throughout. I resorted to resolve my problem by a copy-and-paste method, but it'd have been more profitable to have a proper in-house Mellel solution.

2. Ability to choose where to insert a row/column—before or after are the basic options, of course. At the present, Mellel can't do any of that.

3. Ability to insert auto-titles within the tables. This would prove immensely useful to those of us that also use auto-titles as a means of navigating through sub-structures of lengthy documents but also when we use tables as means of laying out our texts by means of invisible borders rather than as 'charts' proper.

4. Ability to lay the table out with precision: i.e. ability to enter the data such as points/inches/centimetres to change the table dimensions.

5. Ability to use colouration of cells as in Word/Excel.

6. Ability to export numerical data from tables into simple graphs and diagrams.

I'm sure there's more, but the above is what comes to mind when I think of my top wish list for the 'Mellel tables', a feature I use every day! :)

Till
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Re: A call for tables

Post by Till » Tue Jul 10, 2018 5:22 am

I would love to see real table captions and at the same time of course real figure captions ;-).

jannuss
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Re: A call for tables

Post by jannuss » Tue Jul 10, 2018 6:35 am

And one like-to-have and opposed to need-to-have: vertical text

Janet

Eyal Redler
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Re: A call for tables

Post by Eyal Redler » Wed Jul 11, 2018 5:54 am

Thanks for your comments so far (hopefully the discussion continues)
jannuss:
Keyboard shortcuts: Would you prefer if we flipped the shortctus around? Tab for tab and command+tab to switch to the next cell?
UI for setting line attributes: Is there any other appliction that does this better in your opinion? Is there an example of an approuch that you think we should emulate (everybody is invited to chime in)
vertical text: As in Chinese/Japanese or rotated text?
peter.malik:
Styles: Yes, table styles goes without saying.
Insert column/row: Mellel inserts a row or column depending on where you are right now, if you're in row 2 of a 4 row table, adding a row will add a row after row 2. How is that different then what you're asking for?
Auto-titles: this would be very tricky becuase it would mean that we need to tear a table apart if we move an intem that resides in a table in the outline. If you just need it for navigation, why not use a bookmark?
Regarding diagrams: do you mean exporting to antoher app or are you asking for a way to actually generate these in Mellel?
Till:
Captions: A long requested feature...
Eyal Redler
----------------------
Co-Founder and Developer at Mellel AAR LTD
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/mellelwordprocessor
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peter.malik
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Re: A call for tables

Post by peter.malik » Wed Jul 11, 2018 8:23 am

hey Eyal, thanks so much for keeping this discussion going.

My (literally) two (metaphorical) cents:

Inserting the rows: I'd like to be able to say 'insert row above' or 'below' or 'column before' or 'after'. The difference is the following: I'm in row 1 and want to insert a row above. Excel gives you both options and they often come handy. I know that I can live without it, but it'd be nice to have! ;)

As for the diagrams, I meant something in-house Mellel, but if you'd find it easier to export into Excel, well that's also an option (if a more awkward one).

jannuss
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Re: A call for tables

Post by jannuss » Wed Jul 11, 2018 12:39 pm


Keyboard shortcuts: Would you prefer if we flipped the shortctus around? Tab for tab and command+tab to switch to the next cell?


Of course!
The tab should function as a tab and some other shortcut should ve used to jump to the next cell, alt-tab or some other.

UI for setting line attributes: Is there any other application that does this better in your opinion?

What I expected when I first started using this option was a positive definition: all lines selected will appear and those not selected would be deleted.
But, as I said, I've gotten used to your way of thinking so I don't know if I want you to change it now.

vertical text: As in Chinese/Japanese or rotated text?

rotated text,
although, I assume speakers of Asian languages would also have a vertical txt requirement.

Janet

Icelander
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Re: A call for tables

Post by Icelander » Thu Jul 12, 2018 12:17 am

jannuss wrote:
Wed Jul 11, 2018 12:39 pm
2. I find the definition of keyboard shortcuts annoying: in order to insert a tab into the text I have to press alt-tab because the tab key jumps to the next table cell.
I think this is a long-standing, international accepted convention or norm. I can't remember any Mac application where this is NOT the case. Changing this would isolate Mellel, irritate and confuse old and new Mellel users.
3. The line attributes section of the table palette confused the hell out of me at first. It's the opposite of intuitive: if I want to remove the top line of a table, i have to select that line and set its attribute to none.
This is how it works in all other word processors too. If you want to change attributes, you always need to select an object first, which I find quite intuitive. -- If you want to remove the top line of a table, as in your example, then *Option* click on the top line in the table palette. This will keep the top line selected, while deselecting all other cell lines (that is, of those cells you selected.)

Icelander
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Re: A call for tables

Post by Icelander » Thu Jul 12, 2018 1:57 am

peter.malik wrote:
Mon Jul 09, 2018 8:25 am
1. Ability to work with something akin to 'table styles'
It would also be nice if one could draw a table (like in Nisus and Word). A small window should then appear where on can choose a background color for the first column and the top row, similar to what is now possible in Pages and Nisus Writer Pro (in Nisus one needs to install a table-button in the Toolbar for this to work.)
whereby I could save the table designs I might need more often. I resorted to resolve my problem by a copy-and-paste method, but it'd have been more profitable to have a proper in-house Mellel solution.
If we have spent much time formatting a table (with several background colors, various fonts, etc.) in a document A, we would undoubtedly like to have a quick access to this type of table in order to insert it into a document B. As of now, we can save the table as a template, or save many different types of tables into *one* template. But as you said, this involves copy and paste.

The ultimate solution, I think, would be something like a Nisus glossary: you save the table to a table glossary, assign it an individual abbreviation, for example "table1", and every time you are in a normal Mellel document and type "table1", the whole table, in all its fully-formatted glory, will be inserted into the document at the location of the insertion point.

Since Mellel doesn't have glossaries (yet), I have tried to use Typinator to save time, but Mellel and Typinator do not work well together. You lose markers, text boxes, footnotes, and background colors in tables.

If we can not expect glossaries à la Nisus in Mellel soon, I would strongly recommend a closer cooperation with the developer of Typinator in order to enhance the compatibility between Mellel and Typinator. The developer is very responsive.
2. Ability to choose where to insert a row/column—before or after are the basic options, of course. At the present, Mellel can't do any of that.
Hmmm, not sure I understand this. You can now insert a right column to a selected column and a row below a selected row. However, inserting a left column and a row above doesn't seem to be possible. This should indeed be added (or fixed.)
5. Ability to use colouration of cells as in Word/Excel.
You mean, color the background? You can already do that in Mellel now.

Icelander
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Re: A call for tables

Post by Icelander » Thu Jul 12, 2018 11:40 pm

Another table-feature I very often need is auto-fill a selected column. Examples: I select the cells in the first column and Mellel automatically inserts the numbers, month names, or day names for me, like this:
1
2
3
4
5

Or
January
February
March
etc.

Or
1960
1961
1962
etc.

This requires that I write the first two (or three) items manually into the cells, so Mellel can figure out whether I want numbers or month names, for example.

Basic calculation would also be great. I'm thinking of invoices created in Mellel.

shades
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Re: A call for tables

Post by shades » Sun Jul 15, 2018 5:17 pm

Excellent discussion. For my purposes, draw table feature would be very desirable. I use tables frequently, but seem laborious to recreate or even copy/paste.

Other important features:

1. Table (and figure) captions

2. Table Styles

3. Ability to export numerical data from tables into simple graphs and diagrams. (from Peter's suggestions)

Thanks for providing an excellent word processor that is still improving.
Rich
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iMac 27" (10. 13. 8 ) and MBP 13" Retina (10. 13. 8 )

Eyal Redler
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Re: A call for tables

Post by Eyal Redler » Wed Jul 18, 2018 2:42 pm

Thanks for all the comments so far (and don't consider my writing here as a sign to end the discussion, feel free to add your thoughts, up vote suggestions by others and so on)
Regarding row above, below, I see what you mean. We'll fix this deficiency.
Regarding diagrams, this is certainly a nice thing to have but I think it would be a bit our of scope for an overhaul of the tables feature. It would be more like a feature on to itself. Still, assuming we would do it, what kind of mode of operation would that take?
a. An option to display the table as a graph/chart
b. An option to generate a graph/chart as a floating/inline object
c. Something else?
Regarding tab I tend to agree with icelander, we'll consider it but it seems to me that tab for going between cells is not only the convention but also a much more used feature of tables. Chances are that if you press tab, you mean "go to the next cell".
Table glosarries, I think this type of functionality could be covered by allowing table styles which would allow you to define all aspects of the table once and reuse that. (and change it again to apply to all tables and all the other good stuff you can do with styles)
Auto-fill, great stuff. Not trivial but very useful.
Calculations, what would be a minimal set of options here that would be useful? We can't do a full blown excel type forumlas but we could do averages, sums and so forth.
Eyal Redler
----------------------
Co-Founder and Developer at Mellel AAR LTD
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peter.malik
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Re: A call for tables

Post by peter.malik » Thu Jul 19, 2018 7:28 am

As for your question regarding the diagrams, both a) and b) would be useful, but I had specifically the option b) in mind when making this proposal.

Et cetera
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Re: A call for tables

Post by Et cetera » Fri Jul 27, 2018 6:43 pm

Although I have a license for Mellel, I don't use it much yet, but I follow the forums and keep thinking of when/if to move from Nisus Writer Pro. One thing that is absolutely essential (in my view) in tables is the ability to put footnotes in them and have the footnotes work just like those in the main text. I'm not sure if Mellel has this now or not.

For me, table "breaks" (automatic at the bottom of a page, but with the ability to input manual breaks) with defined headings that would carry over to the next page are also important for those who translate or provide multi-lingual columnar data.

The ability to take .csv files or Excel file data and quickly have Mellel put the data in a table would be very convenient.

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