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Re: [O] org->odt/html table export: adjusting default behaviour?

From: Matt Price
Subject: Re: [O] org->odt/html table export: adjusting default behaviour?
Date: Fri, 26 Aug 2011 10:24:38 -0400

On Thu, Aug 25, 2011 at 5:40 PM, Jambunathan K <address@hidden> wrote:
> Matt Price <address@hidden> writes:
>> The attached test file shows  an org file with tables whose columns
>> include substantial amounts of text.  The default export to odt is
>> pretty ugly in this case, and even in html (where things work to some
>> extent) I would rather be able to control to some extent the way that
>> long fields wrap.  is there a recommended way to do set values like
>> table and column width for these two exports? I guess I am
>> particularly concerned with the odt export -- can I e.g. adjust a
>> default value somewhere in the styles.xml file? I doubt the problem
>> will be easily solved but if someone can point me in the right
>> direction I'd really appreciate it.
> The issue is not that fields don't wrap well but that the table is big
> for the width of the paper and columns are as a result getting
> congested.

yes, that's a better description.

> I have pushed a fix whereby tables now occupy bigger space [1].
> I also noticed that columns are unevenly spaced. Now I have updated the
> styles so that columns are equally spaced [2].
> Orgmode exporters can never be layout engines. They are also typically
> useful for personal (as opposed to professional) production. In some
> sense they are good for handouts, pamphlets and drafts etc. So some
> amount of hand fixing and finer adjustments would always be required.
That makes sense, of course. My issue in this case is that I update this particular file quite frequently & store it online in a repository. It would be nice if I could code the table formatting into the org file so that I don't have to hand-fix the formatting on each iteration.  But on the other hand, maybe a table isn't really the right tool in such a case -- as you suggest, a spreadsheet (or perhaps a structured outline, which org excels at) might be better. 

> You choose a smaller font for text in the table with:
> F11->Paragraph Styles->OrgTableContents->Choose a smaller (say 10 pt)
>   font.
that's helpful, and I can presumably save this change to my styles.xml file for future use.
> This will affect the text in all the tables.
> For the sake of documentation,
> Vertical and horizontal grid lines in the exported table correspond to
> colgroups (specified in table cookie lines) and by horizontal rulers in
> the org table [3]. You can use these grid lines in the Org file and
> automatically the exporter will create the grid lines for you.
> If you need really prettier tables you can rely on Table->Autoformat.
> Footnotes:
> [1] So there is now a reverse problem of tables with less number of
> columns and not having copious text looking too big. But big is better
> even if it is ugly.
> The workaround is to rely on Table Properties->Table->Width
> [2] Pre-processor in org-exp.el groks l, r, c cookies but ignores the
> colwidth directives. With some changes these colwidth directives could
> be used for controlling the relative width of columns on a per-table
> basis. This has to wait. If there is sufficient demand I can consider
> adding this support.
> The workaround is to rely on Table Properties->Columns->Column Width
> [3] The exporter wouldn't still create vertical lines on the extreme
> ends. I believe the default style of tables is so selected based on some
> standard styling manual.

In my view the problem here is that Openoffie is difficult to work with for some of these formatting tasks -- so really this is an issue that's hard for you to fix.  But for instance, I have had a lot of difficulty trying to change the colour of the timestamps -- in fact for now I've given up! But I think the issue might just be that LibreOffice/Openoffice doesn't redraw the document properly after certain style changes, so I can't actually tell whether my style changes (to OrgTimestamp and ORgTimestampWrapper character styles in the style manager, F11) have been effective. 

sorry that was a digression.  Thanks so much for your help on this issue.

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