Netscape Composer:  An Introduction

Tutorial 6:  Working with Tables

Alignment of text and images is a serious problem in HTML documents.  Tabs don't work in HTML like they do in MSWord.  You can't use tabs to line up columns, for example. You can't just keep hitting the space bar, either.   If you have more than one line of text you want to line up with an image, you will find that everything goes out of whack.  So, to solve most alignment problems, you will want to use tables.  These are very easy to do with the table tool in Netscape Composer.

Setting up a table: 

Let's assume you have a picture along with a three or four line description.  You want the picture to appear on the right side of the page and the text to appear next to it on the left.  To pull off this seemingly simple task, you will need to use a table because you have more than one line of text.  To insert a table in your page, click on the table icon pictured above.  The following dialogue box will open up:
First, set the number of columns you will need. (One row is sufficient-we'll add more as we go along). 

Set the table alignment (right, left, center) for where it will appear on the page. 

If you do not want a border around your table, change the border line width to zero.  If you want a wider border, put in a larger number than 1. 

Set cell spacing and cell padding (usually 3). 

Set the table width. I like about 85% or 90%. 

Uncheck "equal column widths" so that they will adjust automatically to the content. 

If you want a color for your table, select it.  Same goes for an image background. 

Then click OK.

Border vs. no border

If you have chosen to use a border with your table, the border will appear in Composer exactly as it will appear in Navigator.  If, however, you have chosen not to use a border, you will still see a double dotted line around your table in Composer to delineate the table area.  This will NOT be visible in Navigator.  It is simply a visually defined work area.

Alignment of a table

The table alignment choices in the box above refer to where the table will appear on the page.  You can have it flush left (right next to the left margin), flush right (next to the right margin) or centered.

Changing background or colors of a table

You can select a color for the background of your table by clicking on the blank button next to the "Use Color" choice in the box above.  The same color palette you're used to will pop up:  choose one of these colors by clicking on it, or click on "other" to make the full color palette available.  I have never seen a table with an image background, but I suppose anything is possible!

Moving around in a table

Let's assume we have inserted a table with one row, two columns, no border, 30% of page, centered.  It would look like this:

To move from the left cell to the right cell, press TAB.  To move back from the right to the left, press SHIFT + TAB.

To add another row, place your cursor at the end of the last cell (the one on the right) and press TAB.  A new row will automatically appear.


What can you put in the cells of a table?

You can put text or images in the cell of a table. To insert text, click your cursor in the cell where you want the text to appear.  Begin typing.  If you hit "Enter," the cell will automatically expand to accommodate the new line within that cell.

To insert an image in a cell, click your cursor in the cell where you want the image to appear.  Then click on the image icon , choose the image file you want and click "OK."  The image will now appear in the cell.  You can make it a link (click on the image to select it, then click on the link icon , select the file or page you want to link to, click OK to close the dialogue box) or align it within the cell (click on the image to select it, then click on the alignment icon  and choose left, right or center).

Adding or deleting parts of a table

To add a row, place your cursor in the last cell of the table (lower right-hand corner) and press TAB.
To add a column, place your cursor in the cell TO THE LEFT of where you want the new column to appear.  Click the RIGHT mouse button and the following menu will appear:
Click on "Insert" and you will have four choices: 
  • Insert Table
  • Insert Row
  • Insert Column
  • Insert Cell
Select "insert column" and it will appear to the right.
To delete all or part of a table, place your cursor inside the table, click the RIGHT mouse button and the menu above will appear.  This time select "DELETE" and you will have the same four choices:  you can delete the entire table, the row you are in, the column you are in, or the cell you are in.

Changing table properties

You can at any time change the basic characteristics of your table.  Place your cursor within the table, click the RIGHT mouse button, and the menu above will appear.  This time, click on "Table Properties" and you will go back to the original menu of choices you used to set up your table.  You can change any of these properties, click "OK" and the changes will take effect immediately.

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© 2000 by Pat Pecoy
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