Primer on tables in WordPerfect, Part II: Creating a header row

November 29, 2009 at 2:31 pm

Creating a Header Row

It’s easy to create a header row in a table — i.e., a row containing text that repeats at the top of every page that the table is on — in recent versions of WordPerfect.

To begin, position your cursor in the first row of a table in your document. (You don’t need to select the entire row.) Next, if your version of WP has a Table menu, click the Table menu and then click Format. If your version of WP doesn’t have a Table menu, right-click within the first row of the table and then click Format. [1]

When the Table Properties dialog appears, click the Row tab. At the top, under “Row Attributes,” click to place a checkmark in the box labeled “Header row (repeats on each page).” Be sure to click “OK” to save your settings, rather than closing the dialog by clicking the red “X” in the upper right-hand corner, clicking the “Cancel” button, or pressing Esc (since those methods will discard your settings).

After you have added enough rows so that the table spills onto a second page, you should see the header row at the top of the new page. Note that if you want to edit the header row, you must click in the very first row of the table — you can’t actually put the cursor in the header row on any subsequent pages. It’s almost as if those iterations are copies or images.

If for some reason you split the table into two or more separate tables, the header row will not be copied into any of the additional tables. You’ll have to create it again in the new tables from scratch.

Also, it is possible to have two (and perhaps more) header rows with different text in each of the rows. To set up multiple header rows, you have to select the rows first, then go to Table, Format, Row and click “Header row (repeats on each page),” then OK out of the dialog. The rows must be contiguous. If you change your mind later on and decide you don’t want the second row to appear on every page, put the cursor in that row, go back into the Table Properties dialog, Row tab, uncheck the “Header row (repeats on each page)” box, and click OK.

Some people like to distinguish the header row from the rest of the table by adding gray shading. That, too, is a simple task. Select the row (by clicking and dragging; alternatively, place the mouse pointer inside the first cell near the left border and move it slightly until it turns into a large white left-pointing arrow, then left-click twice) and then do one of the following:

1. Click the Table menu, Borders/Fill, then click the “Fill” button under “Cell Fill”; or

2. Right-click within the selected row, click Borders/Fill, then click the “Fill” button under “Cell Fill”; or

3. Click the “Cell Fill” button in the Property Bar.

Next, choose from among the images in the gallery (my own preference is for 10% or 20% gray fill). WordPerfect provides a preview of what the fill will look like. When you find something that appeals to you, click the image and then click OK to apply the shading or pattern you’ve selected. If you don’t like the way the fill looks, you can go back into Borders/Fill and change the cell fill to none (click the big “X” in the gallery, then OK out).

NOTE: On some computers, borders, fill, and guidelines don’t display properly. If you have applied borders or fill to a table cell or row and you can’t see it on the screen, try test-printing a page. I will address this issue in more detail in the near future in a post about WordPerfect table borders, guidelines, and gridlines.

Tabbing Within a Table Cell

Here’s another tip that answers one of the most frequently asked questions I get about tables (in both WordPerfect and Word): How do you tab within a table cell?

In both WordPerfect and Word, pressing the Tab key when your cursor is within a table moves the cursor to the next cell in the table (if the cursor already is within the last cell, pressing the Tab key creates a new row and positions the cursor in the first cell of that row). But what if you want to indent text in the cell by a certain amount — say, half an inch?

The answer is the same for both programs: Press Ctrl Tab. Ctrl Tab inserts a so-called “hard tab,” rather than moving the cursor to the next cell. When you press that key combination, the cursor will move to the next tab stop within the current cell. (You can, of course, set tabs within table cells in much the same way that you set tabs in regular documents.)

[1] If the Property Bar has been enabled, you might see a Table-drop-down in the Property Bar when your cursor is within the table. To display the Property Bar, click the View menu, Toolbars, click to put a checkmark next to Property Bar (if it isn’t already checked), then click OK.

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