Nice-to-Have Table Issues

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Nice-to-Have Table Issues

Post by laup » Thu Apr 16, 2020 12:08 am

Mellel's still-fairly-new table features are very nice and I have been using them intensively in a new manuscript. This includes styles, templates, alternating rows, and repeat header.

I am trying to collect suggestions for tweaks as I go along. I'm sure others have ideas as well. My current list is as follows. One or more may be erroneous, since I may have missed something. Thus, this is tentative.

1. Styling of Additions. As in an earlier post, it seems that if one adds a row or column to a pre-existing table, the new row or column comes in with default styling rather than the styling of the table to which it is being added.
2. Deleting single cells or single-cell rows or columns. Let's say that you have merged the cells in a row but then decide to delete the row. That can't be done: the relevant Table Commands item (Delete Cells) is grayed out. The workaround is to split the row vertically, select both cells in the row, and then delete. That, however, is not intuitive and it's an annoying distraction. The annoyance grows when painfully fine-tuning a table to have complex structure, such as an occasional row that contains the title for a group of rows below. This may call for adding new rows or columns to create the substructure. Each addition requires the restyling.
3. Slants. For dense tables, it would be convenient to be able to orient the labels in the header row on the diagonal, so as to be readable while taking up less horizontal space. That is one of the conveniences in Word and Excel. I don't think that it's possible in Mellel.
4. As reported elsewhere, a number of table attributes do not export properly to rtf and Word. The ones that affect me most involve cell backgrounds (e.g., red, yellow, or green in "stoplight charts") but others have noticed problems with the export of some edge characteristics. It is a big pain in the neck to have to fix such export problems in Word. A workaround is to export to pdf and use the Adobe tool for translating pdf to Word, but that requires a modestly priced subscription service.

By far the most important is (4), which is part of the larger problem of exporting to Word. The other items are all in the nice-to-have category.

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