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Chapter 8. Building Tables > Using Flexible Widths Sensibly

Using Flexible Widths Sensibly

Believe it or not, flexible tables are often harder to create than fixed-width tables. This is because although you want the overall table to have a flexible width, you probably don’t want all columns to resize. Generally, flexible tables are built with one flexible column and one or more fixed-width columns. Getting this column to flex while that one doesn’t takes a few extra steps.

Flexible tables that mix fixed and flexible columns almost always do better with a control row to help them. For each fixed-width column in the control row, insert a spacer graphic as described in the previous section, sized to the desired column width. For the flexible-width column, insert a spacer graphic sized to whatever minimum width you want for this column; then assign the cell itself a width of 100%. That means the cell should take up 100% of the space available to it, which is the entire width of the table, minus the fixed widths being propped open by the spacer graphics in your other columns. Figure 8.16 shows the control row set up for a flexible table.


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