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Using Tables

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This chapter is from the book

Entering and Formatting Text

Tables are designed to hold information, primarily text that describes the content of the table. After all, it is data that is on display—the table is essentially an organizational method that makes the data easier to read and understand. Therefore, you need to enter text in a table, make it fit, and make it look the way you want it to look (and in a way that makes it easy to read).

First things first: You can easily put text on a table by selecting an individual cell. Just click the cell to highlight it and then use your keyboard to enter the text you want (see Figure 3.5).

Figure 3.5Figure 3.5 You can select a desired cell and type your text.

As with any other text, you can change the font, color, and style of table text. By default, the text you type in a table adheres to the text style used in the template you have selected. But that text might not work as well in a table as it does in other cases, so you might have to change it.

To change your text, do the following:

  1. Click inside the cell that contains the text you want to change and then drag over the text, holding down the mouse to select it.

  2. Select Format, Font, Show Fonts to open the standard Fonts dialog box, where you can select a font family, a typeface, and a size.

  3. Use the Action drop-down menu in the Fonts dialog box to make any desired font changes. See Chapter 2, "Working with Text," for additional details about the Action drop-down menu.

Of course, you need to use some common sense when you are working with fonts and tables. You want the information to be very clear and quickly readable. For example, take a look at Figures 3.6 and 3.7.

Figure 3.6Figure 3.6 This table uses the Helvetica font and it is easy to read.

Figure 3.7Figure 3.7 This table uses the Party LET font. As you can see, it is rather difficult to read.

Figures 3.6 and 3.7 use Helvetica, which is a standard Mac font, and Party LET, which is the font most often used for fun text. Obviously, Helvetica is much easier to read, and that's what you want. Table data is not the place to get creative with font styles. As you create tables and enter text, keep the following points in mind:

  • Use clear, easy-to-read fonts, colors, and styles—If you are going to err, err on the side of plainness. You want the table easy to read (and quick to read as well). Audience members should not have to work to read the table text.

  • Keep it very short—A couple words in a cell is best. Table text is not the place to wax poetic, so keep it extremely short and informative.

  • Don't overcrowd tables with cells and text—Remember that a table should show relationships between pieces of information, but your audience should not have to study your table in order to comprehend your intended meaning.

Aligning Text

You can easily manage the alignment of text by using the Table Inspector. Here's how:

  1. Click the Inspector button on the toolbar or select View, Show Inspector. The Table Inspector appears.

  2. Click the Table button on the Table Inspector.

  3. As shown in Figure 3.8, you have the option to manage the alignment of the text within your table. The first four buttons allow you to left-justify, center, right-justify, or simply justify, which distributes text evenly. Select a cell that contains text and click the alignment option you want. Keep in mind that center alignment (which is the default) often looks the best.

Figure 3.8Figure 3.8 Use the Alignment buttons to determine how text aligns within a cell.

  1. To manage the vertical alignment of text within the cell, use the vertical alignment buttons on the Text Inspector to align text to the top of the cell, the center of the cell, or the bottom of the cell. Again, the center option is the default and most often looks the best. Figure 3.9 shows three columns. The first column has the text aligned to the top of the cell, the middle column has the text aligned to the center of the cell, and the last column has the text aligned to the bottom of the cell.

As with other things in Keynote, you can return to these options and change them at any time.

Figure 3.9Figure 3.9 The alignment options give you control over the appearance of a table.

Quick Text Tricks

Before we move on, there are a couple quick text options I want to mention that will make your work easier. First, keep in mind that you can work with individual cells of text, multiple selected cells, or an entire table. To make a change, such as a font or alignment change, to the text within a certain cell, just select the cell. If you want to change several cells at the same time, hold down the „ key on your keyboard and select the cells. You can then change the font or alignment of these cells all at the same time. Finally, you do the same thing by simply selecting the entire table. Just click outside the table to make sure none of the cells are selected and then click the table one time to select it. You can then use the Fonts dialog box to change all the fonts, or you can use the Text Inspector to change the alignment of all the text.

One final tip I would like to point out concerns dragging text. Let's say you are creating a table that has the same text in several cells, which is common in the case of numeric values. In this case, you can simply copy and paste text between cells. Using the mouse, you simply select the desired values and choose Edit, Copy. Then you position the cursor where you want to paste the text or numbers and choose Edit, Paste.

If you type text in a cell and then decide that you want to move the text, you can simply drag the text to the desired cell and drop it there, as shown Figure 3.10. Just select the cell and drag the text from the selected cell to the new cell where you want the text to reside.

Figure 3.10Figure 3.10 You can drag the text in the bottom-left cell to the bottom-right cell rather than retype it.

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