Custom Table Styles are probably one of the more detailed hacks you’ll have to write. See the constructions details in my previous post. Besides the basic table format, there are 6 optional format layers you need to at least consider. In a minimal table style, you’ll need to include at least the Header Row, First Column and Banded Rows. Most users will expect to see these options. Total Rows, Last Columns and Banded Columns are less requested, you only need to include them if a design or client specifically requires them.
As mentioned in part 1, if you haven’t hacked XML before, please read XML Hacking: An Introduction. If you’re using a Mac, you should also read XML Hacking: Editing in OS X. In addition, an essential companion to this pair of articles is the post on setting Default Table Text, which is set in a different XML component..
Let’s take a look at how our work appears in the PowerPoint interface. First, we’ll insert a plain vanilla table. By default this takes on colors and fonts from the current PowerPoint theme:
Next, we choose the Table Tools>Design tab, open the Table Styles gallery. Up at the top a new Custom section has appeared with our new custom table style:
Select the custom table style and the default table changes to match our design. This screen shot has all formatting options turned off, so effectively we are seeing the Whole Table formatting only.
Options: Banded Rows and Header
Using the options panel in the upper left corner, we can add some of optional formatting layers we created in XML. First, let’s turn on banded rows. If you remember, we only formatted odd-numbered rows, so the banding only changes rows 1 and 3 in our example:
Next, we’ll leave banded rows on and also add the Header row. This row doesn’t count as part of the table body, so the banding moves down 1 row:
Options: First and Last Columns
Next, we’ll turn off banded rows, leave the Header as is and add the first column:
Here’s the table with First and Last Columns checked:
Options: Header and Total
And finally, Header and Total Rows:
As you can see, with some pre-planning, one table style can cover quite a few related table looks. The layer options for different features make the table useful for many different purposes and the options panel makes it fast and easy for users to try different combinations. This feature is a major advance over tables in PowerPoint 2003 and earlier, which were quite crude by comparison.Table styles work the same way in Word, PowerPoint and Excel. While Word and Excel include table style editors in their interface, PowerPoint needs to be hacked to create them. Happy hacking!
Of course, if the process is too complex, we’re here to help. The current price on a custom table style is US$120. Just email me firstname.lastname@example.org