ATTENTION: You are viewing a page formatted for mobile devices; to view the full web page, click HERE.

Main Area and Open Discussion > General Software Discussion

Word 2007: Are Table Styles safe to use now?

(1/9) > >>

In all the MVPS articles, they say the table styles are unstable.  Actually, they say tables are generally unstable.  They recommend using autotext.  My question is, does this also apply to Word 2007?  Please let me know.

Never noticed any issues with either table styles or tables themselves in any version going from 2000 to 2010 (including 2007).

And I'm intrigued to know how you'd use autotext to simulate a table style too ;)

And I'm intrigued to know how you'd use autotext to simulate a table style too
-katykaty (May 26, 2010, 01:23 PM)
--- End quote ---

Me too. As far as I know, autotext just inserts the same elements that you could insert anyway. Perhaps you mean text boxes?

And what is meant by tables (EDIT: I mean table styles) being unstable? Does they crash Word? Can you link to a specific article?

EDIT 2: Or are they just saying not to use tables for page layout, as a design preference?

There's also John Mcghie's famous templates.  They both say how tables are bad, unstable, and highly recommended to avoid.  Apparently, they often lead to corrupted documents.

here's an exceprt:
The things to avoid with tables because they lead to instability, according to experts on the MacWord MVP newsgroup, include the following:
•   tables within tables;
•   merging or splitting table cells;
•   dragging text between cells (“you will still end up with a corrupt document if you do too much of this; it’s OK if you are sure that you only have text selected, but if you make a mistake and select a cell, there’s trouble ahead”);
•   dragging individual cells (but “it’s OK to drag rows or columns around”);
•   cutting and pasting in tables (“it will do it, but table corruption is likely to result sooner or later — although cutting and pasting or dragging and dropping whole rows is usually OK”).
Further, the more of the following you use, and the more often in a document, the less stable things become: text wrapping, automatically resize to fit contents, allow rows to break across pages, and nested tables.
One expert said that “if you do it properly, Word will handle a table of about 160 pages [without trouble]”. One tip he gave to speed things up and minimise problems while working on such a document was to choose Table menu » Split table (every few pages — no more than five) while editing, then when finishing the document remove the splits so the table re-joins itself.
To remove corruption in tables (revealed by slowness of actions, caused by the need to use huge amounts of memory), select each table and use Table » Convert » Table to Text to turn the table into tabbed text, then without moving the selection use Table » Convert » Text to Table to convert it back to a table again. If that does not work, the document may be corrupt: see page 129.
If a document has tables extending over more than a few pages and is slow, select each table in turn and for each table go to Table menu » Insert » Table and de-select “Auto fit to contents” if it’s selected. (Even if the tables don’t extend this far, turning off this characteristic will speed up Word when you work on the document: it no longer has to re-calculate and re-draw the table every time you type a character.)
If you don’t want text in a cell to break (i.e., some lines to carry over to the next page) select the whole table from the left margin and choose Table menu » Table properties » “Row” » de-select “Allow rows to break across pages”. A macro for a button to achieve this is in Appendix D: Making buttons for formatting shortcuts.
It’s useful to know that “Keep lines together” and “Widow/orphan control” have no effect in table cells if “Allow rows to break across pages” is enabled, and “Keep with next” applies only between rows, not between paragraphs in a single row. In general, it’s best not to apply these settings in tables, because they can prevent pages from breaking.
Good advice on table break problems is in
 If you are using Safari, you will have to click on the circular arrow (“reload the current page”) button a couple of times.
To put a table on the same line with text, put your insertion point in the table and choose Table menu » Table Properties » Table. Then under Text Wrapping, click the button titled Around. For more information, see the article with the heading “Text-wrapped tables and frames” at (you may have to hit the circular Refresh button a few times if you use Safari).
You may find that a wristwatch icon appears when you work in tables in Word 2001; it did in mine, all the time. Despite having allocated 80 MB of RAM (out of 512 MB of physical RAM), there was nothing I could do about it. Many other people have found the same thing. I lived with it until I moved to Word 2004.

I never use “Table Style” 
I agree with John McGhie when he warns people very strongly never to use Table Styles. They create a number of problems, the worst of which is that there may be no "good" way to remove a formatting defect once it has been applied, short of converting the table to text and back to a table again in another style. John's says:
The person who designed table styles in Word completely misunderstood the use-case. What we got was an object that is a single "style" that attempts to format the text and borders of a table as a single style. Utterly useless. …
A Table Style is applied as a single “collection” of formatting: you either have a table style applied to a table or you have a different table style applied to the table. Once you have used a table style on a table, you can't remove it.
You can, however, modify the Table Style, and add the Table Style to the template, then Update Styles in all the other documents to flow the change through. For example, you could modify the paragraph properties of the heading and body rows of the table style you are using, to give yourself more space above or below the text.
Table Styles are a mess: they're the exact opposite of what we need.
I avoid all this by applying styles based on body text (my “bt” style), which I titled “table text,tt” and “table heading,th”. Their characteristics are described in Appendix B: Specifications for some of my styles — especially to reduce the chances of changed appearance on other computers, starting on page 172.
In practice I rarely think about these problems because I almost invariably insert a table already pre-formatted the way I prefer, via a three-letter AutoText entry as shown on page 124. And it’s so simple that way.

--- End quote ---

Very interesting. Well obviously they've put more thought into it than I have. I guess they would still say the same today, most of the Office MVPs are pretty good at staying up-to-date.


[0] Message Index

[#] Next page

Go to full version