Formatting cells

Default parameters

If you create a table using the Insert Table dialog or the Table icon on the Standard toolbar, the following defaults are set:

  • The cells in the first row use the Table Heading paragraph style. In the default template, the text is centered and set with a bold and italic font.
  • The remaining cells use the Table Contents paragraph style, which, in the default template, is identical to the Default paragraph style.

Formatting individual cells

You can format each cell independently of other cells. For example, you can:

  • Format the characters — change the font, the font style, and the background colors.
  • Set different indentation values — when you select a cell, the horizontal ruler shows the indentation points with gray pentagons. Vary the indentation by clicking and dragging these points.
  • Change the text alignment — for example, a number can be aligned to the right, while text on another line in the cell is aligned to the left or centered.

To change the format of a cell or range of cells:

  1. Select the cell or range of cells to be modified. You can select a single cell by clicking in it, select a range with click and drag, or select a row or column using menu or toolbar choices.
  2. Right-click the selection and select Table, or select Table > Table Properties from the menu bar.
  3. From the Table Format dialog, select the property to modify.

The figure below shows some examples.

((Insert figure.))

Vertical alignment

The default for text entered into table cells is for it to be aligned horizontally to the left, and numbers are aligned to the right. In addition, if more than one row of text is entered or if a graphic is used, text aligns vertically to the top of the cell and numbers to the bottom.

To vertically center align all of the text and numbers in the table:

  1. Move the cursor to the upper left-hand cell under the table heading and click and drag to the lower left hand cell.
  2. Note: By selecting all cells, the images will also be aligned.

  3. Right-click in the selected area and select Cell > Center in the pop-up menu.

Number formats

The number format can be set for a whole table or group of cells. For example, cells can be set to display in a particular currency, to four decimal places, or in a particular date format.

Number recognition specifies that numbers in a text table are recognized and formatted as numbers. If number recognition is not selected, numbers are saved in text format and are automatically left-aligned. Number recognition can be set on or off under Tools > Options > OpenOffice.org Writer > Table.

Select the cells to format, then right-click and select Number Format from the pop-up menu. The Number Format dialog opens for you to set options for various categories of numerical data.

  • In the Category drop-down list, select the category you want, such as currency, date, or text.
  • In the Format drop-down list, choose a format for the category you just selected.
  • For some categories, such as date, you may wish to change the language using the Language list. Additional options are available for different categories.

Rotating text in a table cell

You can rotate text in a table cell by 90 or 270 degrees. Text rotation is useful when you have long headings for narrow columns. Select the text to be rotated and then click Format > Character. On the Position page, in the Rotation / scaling section, choose the rotation angle and click OK.

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This book is licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, version 3.0.

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