Using tables for page layout

Writer’s tables can serve several purposes, such as holding data as you might see it in a spreadsheet, lining up material, and creating more complex page layouts. For information about using tables of data, see Using Tables.

This topic describes how to achieve some common layouts by using tables.

Example: Creating sideheads using tables

Sideheads and marginal notes are commonly used in documents from resumes to computer user guides. The main body of the text is offset to leave white space (usually on the left-hand side) in which the sideheads or notes are placed. The first paragraph is aligned beside the sidehead, as in the example below.

Example of a sidehead

((Insert figure.))

Note: Sideheads can also be created by placing text in a frame using the Marginalia frame style, as described in Using frames for page layout.

To create a table for use with a sidehead:

  1. Place the cursor where you want the table to appear and choose Insert > Table (Ctrl+F12).
  2. In the Insert Table dialog, define a one-row, two-column table with no border and no heading. Click OK to create the table.
  3. ((Insert figure.))

  4. Position the cursor over the central dividing line in the table. The cursor turns into a double-headed arrow. Left-click and drag to resize the columns. Alternatively, right-click and choose Table from the pop-up menu; on the Columns page, make the columns the required width.
  5. ((Insert figure.))

  6. On the Table page of the Table Format dialog, in the Spacing section, make the Above and Below values the same as the Top and Bottom spacing you have defined for ordinary paragraphs of text. Click OK to save your settings.
  7. ((Insert figure.))

Tip: To check the top and bottom spacing for ordinary paragraphs:

Position the cursor in a paragraph and press F11 (unless the Styles and Formatting window is already open). Check that the Styles and Formatting window shows paragraph styles (top left button).

The current style should be highlighted. If no paragraph style is highlighted, select All Styles in the bottom drop-down list. Right-click on it and select Modify from the pop-up list.

Go to the Indents & Spacing page and look in the Spacing area for the values in Above paragraph and Below paragraph.

You may also want to turn off number recognition so that Writer will not try to format numbers if you want them to be plain text. To turn number recognition off:

  1. Right-click in the table and then click Number Format on the pop-up menu.
  2. On the Number Format dialog, make sure the Category is set to Text. Click OK.
  3. ((Insert figure.))

Tip: If you use this table format often, you may want to save it as AutoText, as described in Autocorrection, word completion, and autotext. Select the table (not just the contents) to assign the shortcut.

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