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Is there an MS Word table expert in the house?
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Serial origamist
Has Achieved Nirvana
Picture of pianojuggler
posted
I am building a very large document with dozens and dozens of tables. All of the tables are the same format -- same number of columns, same column widths.

Other people have prepared content using the same basic format, but an earlier version of the document had slightly different column widths and some of my contributors used the older document as their template.

Now, I am trying to simply copy and paste the contents of their tables into my master document.

Sometimes it pastes in just fine and the text plops itself into new rows inheriting the column widths of the existing rows in the destination document.

Sometimes it tries to keep the column widths of the source document.

It is not consistent. Some of the inconsistencies seem to depend on where I click before I paste: selecting a whole blank row, selecting the first column of a new row, the second column, the paragraph symbol just below the table.

I am tearing my hair out. What seems like it should be a simple operation has taken hours and involved much cussing.

I have been fiddling with the paste options, both when I paste and the options for Word. I recall doing that before and selecting "keep text only" when pasting between documents and it worked much better.

Is anyone out there a whizz on this and have suggestions?

Unfortunately, I cannot just e-mail someone my document. It is sooper secret stuff.


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pj, citizen-poster, unless specifically noted otherwise.

mod-in-training.

pj@ermosworld∙com

When a door closes, a can of worms opens.

 
Posts: 26693 | Registered: 27 April 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Minor Deity
Picture of Bernard
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quote:
Some of the inconsistencies seem to depend on where I click before I paste: selecting a whole blank row, selecting the first column of a new row, the second column, the paragraph symbol just below the table.


I wish I could help. Oh I hate MSWord. The worst news I can get at work is that a client has data in MSWord. But what you describe sounds right, that sometimes you are pasting a table and sometimes you are pasting content and it will depend on where your cursor is when you copy and when you paste.

quote:
What seems like it should be a simple operation ...


Therein lies the problem with MSWord (and just about anything Microsoft). It should be simple and it could be, but it's not. I loathe MSWord, Excel, and all their other frustrating programs. It can all be so much better.

I thank my lucky stars that MS products are not part of my daily routine. ... except for Windows and that's more than enough.


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Posts: 10087 | Location: North Groton, NH | Registered: 21 April 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Techno-Stud
Minor Deity
Picture of Matt G.
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Paste Special | Unformatted text

This will paste only the text and applies the formatting in place at the cursor position.


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Posts: 15270 | Location: Plainfield, IL | Registered: 20 April 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
(self-titled) semi-posting lurker
Minor Deity
Picture of ShiroKuro
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What Matt said. Depending on your version of Word, you might need to select "text only" instead of "unformatted." The other thing you might do is look at the source table and the new table before C&Ping and make sure the column widths etc. are already the same? Although of course that adds another step!

I don't think Word is really suited for longer documents. If you're doing something that's 1-20 pages, and you have wonky things to fix, it's not really a big deal. But when your document gets up above 100-200 pages, it's a much bigger hassle!

And I agree with Bernard, Word has too many defaults that get in the way. I have my Word fairly customized by changing defaults, but fighting off ridiculous defaults can still be a nightmare some times.


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Posts: 11721 | Location: not in Japan any more | Registered: 20 April 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Serial origamist
Has Achieved Nirvana
Picture of pianojuggler
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Thanks all. I'll fiddle with it more today. I must. The document must be reviewed, approved, and published by the end of the month.

Matt, where do you suggest I put the cursor before pasting? I think my most successful approach was to create a new row and click in the first cell of that row.


I think the real problem with Word is that it is always "trying to help". I remember that when I started building this document last fall I went into the options and -- buried deep in there -- set the default paste between documents to "text only" to apply the formatting of the destination.

My document is already 120 pages and I have maybe a fifth of the content gathered up for the next release. And there will be several times more data coming.

The worst part is trying to nail down the table format early so I don't have to go back and touch up all the tables that are already in place... which I did yesterday. I still don't like the format, but the general layout is being dictated by a government agency so I can't stray too far from it.

I am thinking about moving the entire document to FrameMaker where I can define a table that is not nearly as squishy as Word. And FrameMaker is designed to handle YUGE documents. Ultimately, I'm trying to convince the powers that be that this should be treated as data not a document, then whoever wants a specific table can have it generated at the time they need it. Remember ENIAC?

Okay, if you really want to know: The document documents the high-level training requirements to go from any one product to any other product among the products the company has made over the last 40-ish years. That's six major product lines and between three and a dozen variants of each one. So the permutations are in the thousands.

Thanks again. I'll try a few things and let you know if I have further questions.


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pj, citizen-poster, unless specifically noted otherwise.

mod-in-training.

pj@ermosworld∙com

When a door closes, a can of worms opens.

 
Posts: 26693 | Registered: 27 April 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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