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Chapter 12. Setting Up Tables

Chapter 12. Setting Up Tables

Before table functionality was added to HTML, all images and text aligned on the left side of a Web page by default. Originally, tables were used to simplify presenting tabular data, such as scientific reports (Figure 12.1), but clever designers quickly realized that tables could also be used to increase their design options (Figure 12.2). You can create complex table layouts for entire-page designs.

Figure 12.1. HTML tables can be used to create all kinds of data tables.

Figure 12.2. With a little imagination, you can use tables to replicate nearly any layout you can make with page layout programs such as Quark or PageMaker.

Like the mailboxes that line the wall at the post office, each individual cubbyhole, called a cell, holds discrete information that doesn't ooze over into the other boxes. As you can see in Figure 12.3 on the next page, tables are divided into rows, which cross the table horizontally, and columns, which span the table vertically.

Hand-coding a table is tiresome at best. In fact, tables are probably the most convenient feature of most WYSIWYG Web page creation programs, although many of these tools code tables rather sloppily—not so with Macromedia Dreamweaver.

Dreamweaver 4 offers a new feature called Layout View that lets you actually draw tables and table cells on a page, exactly where you want them to go. The program then fills in the rest of the columns and rows to space out the page. Once you have this basic layout, you can add, resize, and move around the elements on the page.



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