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Using Tables

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This chapter is from the book

In this chapter

  • Create tables that make your content clear

  • Format and use table content

  • Make tables look the way you want

  • Work with cells, rows, and columns to make your information shine

Tables, along with charts, which we will explore in Chapter 4, "Using Charts," are mainstays of presentation. After all, a table can be a great way to show your audience members information and help them understand some concept or idea you are trying to get across.

The good news is that you won't have to spend a lot of sweat and tears with tables in Keynote. As with most things in Keynote, the software does most of the hard work for you so that you can focus on your presentation's content. In this chapter you'll learn how to create, customize, and manage tables in presentations.

The Wonderful World of Tables

Okay, maybe tables aren't like flashy graphics or cool multimedia that will dazzle your audience, but let's also face the facts: Depending on the kind of presentation you are tackling, tables can be very helpful in a number of ways. The purpose of a table is to display information to your audience. The table gives the audience members an organized, systematic look at some content you are presenting, and in reality, content presented as a table is easier than text information for audience members to remember later because it gives what might be boring content a visual impact. For example, take a look at the table in Figure 3.1.

Figure 3.1Figure 3.1 Tables present information in a clear and concise manner.

This table takes a simple three-column and two-row approach that gives sales figures for different periods of the year. The table is very basic in nature, but it makes otherwise bland information more interesting and easy to understand. You could jazz this table up a bit by using more colors and even marking the low period (summer) in red or using a graphic, which you'll see how to do later in this chapter.

When should you use a table? Here are some quick tips to remember:

  • Use tables to present numbers and figures—The table format naturally lends itself to numbers and figures and keeps audience members from getting lost in a jumble of numeric information. If you use numbers and figures in a presentation, you should think in terms of tables.

  • Use tables to show contrasting information—Tables work great when you have different pieces of information that fit together or contrast in some way. The table format helps show relationships between pieces of data in a memorable way.

  • Use tables to show time line issues—If you are talking about different periods of the year or even periods of different years, you can use a table to show the information. Tables can help audience members establish a mental time line that gives greater meaning to information.

Can you overuse tables? Sure. As with any presentation element, you should question yourself if you have table after table in your presentation. Use tables when needed, but use them sparingly, or they start to lose their impact. Keep it simple, keep it clear, and make sure the table has a solid purpose before using it in your presentation.

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