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  • Phil

Be careful when creating table styles in a Word template

Tables in Word often cause users problems, taking up valuable time and causing frustration. This is not helped by the fact that sometimes tables exhibit truly bizarre behaviour.

There are many gotchas lurking for the unwary. I will at some point compile a list of common problems that people have when working with tables, but in the meantime here is my current 'favourite'!

When creating a table style, be careful about specifying fonts with formatting such as Bold or Italic turned on, particularly if you have paragraph styles set up to format table contents.

When we create a template, we usually set up styles for Table heading, Table text, Table bullets etc., in order to make the formatting table contents easier. But, if you create a table style and, for example, you set the header row to be a particular font and select Bold, you could end up with some rather unexpected results! If your Table Heading paragraph style is also set to be Bold, guess what happens when you apply that style to cells in the header row. That's right - the resulting text style is not bold.

Don't ask me why this is the case. My best guess is that because Bold is a toggle control, the table style sets the header row to be bold, and applying the paragraph style triggers bold again, effectively toggling it off.

I have to assume that this is unintentional behaviour, as I cannot think why this outcome would be beneficial to, or expected by anybody.

It certainly caused some angst around here for a few hours!

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