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Barry MacDonnell's
Toolbox for WordPerfect

Macros, tips, and templates for Corel® WordPerfect® for Windows®
© Copyright 1996-2017 by Barry MacDonnell. All Rights Reserved.

Page updated Jan 12, 2017

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•  Can't see table border lines around table cells on your screen even though they print?

•  Can't see white text on a black or colored background ("fill") in a table?

•  Are gray dotted editing lines ("margins") missing in tables or on the edges of a page or label?

See the next column for some information about table gridlines, table guidelines, and table borders - what they do, how they work, and how they can impact one another.

[Also note that sometimes these issues are not due to a WordPerfect setting. Instead, they might be caused by some flat screen (LCD) monitors and Windows settings. See Footnote 1 below for some solutions.]


Related pages on this site -

•  More table tips: "Using WordPerfect Tables"

Table gridlines, table guidelines, and table borders


As you might expect, WordPerfect's table gridlines, guidelines, and borders/fill help you format a table both on screen while you are editing and later when the document is printed.

However, problems (such as those in the sidebar) often arise from the fact that these features occupy the same locations in a table. That is, they overlay the same screen locations.

Moreover, they can interact with one another in opposite ways, which can be confusing. (See suggested settings below the table.)

Interactions between
Table Gridlines, Guidelines, and Borders/Lines/Fills

View menu:

Table Gridlines



View menu:

Table
Guidelines
>
Tables
Table menu:

Borders/Fill
>

[Table tab:]
Border/Line
-and-
[Cell tab:]
Lines/Fill


Result of
turning
these items

ON/OFF

ON ON/OFF
(no effect either way if Gridlines are ON; if Gridlines are OFF see the next two rows)
ON/OFF


Table Gridlines -- faint gray non-printing lines * around the edges of the table and its cells -- take precedence on screen if they are turned ON; therefore they will always be visible (except in File, Print Preview, since they never print). [Screen shot]

When Table Gridlines are ON all table Borders/Lines/Fills will NOT be visible on screen even when those items are turned ON in Table, Borders/Fill. It's one or the other.

• 
Note that Borders/Lines/Fills that are turned ON will still print and still be visible in File, Print Preview.
OFF ON
ON/OFF

Table Guidelines (also faint gray non-printing lines * around the edges of the table and its cells) will be visible on screen if turned ON -- but only if corresponding table Borders/Lines/Fills are turned OFF. Again, it's one or the other.

Hence, any Borders/Lines/Fills that are turned ON will take precedence on screen over Guidelines and will be visible on screen (the opposite of the Gridlines ON setting above). They will also print and be visible in File, Print Preview.

Note: Table Guidelines have no direct effect on the visibility of Table Gridlines -- and vice versa -- and do not obscure table borders or cell lines. Both Guidelines and Gridlines exist to help you set up and align the contents of the table. However, only Guidelines (if ON) can be dragged (also see dragging issues below) whereas Gridlines cannot.

OFF OFF
ON/OFF
When both table Gridlines and Guidelines are OFF they will NOT be visible on screen, and because they are non-printing features neither one will print or appear in File, Print Preview.

• In this case Borders/Lines/Fills that are turned ON will be visible on screen and will print; they will also be visible in File, Print Preview.

• If all 3 options are OFF only the contents of the table will be visible on screen. (You can also see the contents in Reveal Codes.)
[*- Can't see the gridlines or guidelines, or are they too faint? This might also be caused by some flat screen (LCD) monitors and settings in some versions of Windows. See Footnote 1.]

In my personal opinion, I think most users might prefer -

[1] keeping Guidelines ON (checkbox ticked) since they don't have any negative interactive table borders, lines, and fills, and would in any case appear (so that you can easily see the table's cell locations) if both borders/lines/fills and Gridlines are turned off;

and

[2] turning Gridlines OFF whenever they wish to be able to see table borders, lines, and fills while editing the document -- a typical case for many users. [An alternative is to use File, Print Preview.] Gridlines are easily toggled ON/OFF directly from the View menu. As you can see in the table above, turning them ON makes borders/lines/fills "disappear" (even though they still will print).

For more information on these three features - and some tips - see below.

Table gridlines


Description and purpose

•  These are faint gray (grey) dotted lines on your screen around the edge of a table and around the individual cells.

•  They can be turned on and off with View, Table Gridlines. A check mark will appear in the View menu if Table Gridlines is turned ON.

[Important: This feature is not toggled with View, Guidelines, Table -- which is a different feature and is explained in a separate section below.]

•  They never print. They are similar to the faint gray page margin lines in this respect (page margins do not print either: they just show on screen).

•  Table gridlines can help you see the table's cell structure on the screen whenever you have table borders/fills turned off -- presumably to reduce any distractions from fancy table formatting. In such a circumstance they can help you know where to insert material in specific cells and guide you in formatting row and column sizes, etc.

Important points: 

1. Gridlines occupy the same position on your screen as table border/cell lines and table guidelines.

    If, for example, border lines are turned off (as discussed in the next section), you will need something to help you see the table's cell structure. Gridlines (or table guidelines) can do that.

2. And as noted in the next section, you can see only table gridlines -or- borders/lines/fills on screen at the same time (unless you use File, Print Preview). In effect, they work in an opposite fashion on your screen.

•  They have other uses. Here's what WordPerfect X7's Help (F1) file says about table gridlines:

"When a document contains many tables or heavily formatted tables, you can use table gridlines to make the document display faster. Table gridlines are dimmed, dotted lines that [temporarily] replace lines and fills in a table [on your screen]. However, tables print with the lines and fill styles you have selected. You can choose to always display table gridlines. [See "To set the default..." in the Tips below.]

You can also display the table formula indicators as blue markers in the bottom corner of a table cell."

However, with today's fast and powerful computers with lots of memory (RAM), there's probably little need for gridlines to increase display speed on such systems. But as previously noted, table gridlines -- if ON -- help you edit and format the table in the event that table/cell borders are OFF and table guidelines are also OFF (or are difficult to see).

Tips

☼  You can add a "toggle" button to a toolbar to turn table gridlines on and off; see here for help creating toolbar buttons (the button is under the "View" feature category in the Toolbar Editor, listed as "Table Gridlines").

☼  Toggling gridlines OFF also lets you see any "fills" such as reversed backgrounds, where the background is black or some dark color and the text is white or lightly colored.

☼  To set the default for this feature when you open a document, click Tools, Settings, Display, Document, Show Table Gridlines. Also in that dialog is an option to display the table formula indicators as blue markers in the bottom corner of a table cell.

☼  In earlier versions of WordPerfect there was no menu selection for this item so you needed to use Tools, Settings, Display, Document, Show Table Gridlines.

☼  Macro writers can toggle the state of View, Table Gridlines with a small snippet such as this one. For example, to disable View, Table Gridlines (i.e., turn it off):

If(?TableGuides=1) // (i.e., if table gridlines are now ON...)
TableGridLinesToggle ()
// Optional message:
Messagebox(;"";"View>Table Gridlines is now OFF.")
Endif
Return

[In the above macro, to enable table gridlines (turn the feature ON) set ?TableGuides=0 and change the message (if used) to "ON".]

Table borders and individual cell lines/fills


Description and purpose

•  Table borders and cell lines are the items most people think of when they use the phrase "table lines." They are basically graphic lines (thin, thick, colored, etc.) around the boundaries of tables and cells.

They help visually define the limits of the table and each cell -- something that is typically important with printed (or PDF) documents.

Some formatting might require table structures without border lines in order to emphasize the table's contents and not the table's structure.

•  Hence, they can be turned on/off with Table, Borders/Fill -or- by right-clicking inside the table and selecting Borders/Fill. This brings up the Properties for Table Borders/Fill dialog. [An "X" on a format button indicates that option is turned OFF. The border, cell lines, and fills also can be adjusted to be thicker, colored, etc., using the same dialog.]

•  However, border and cell lines will print only if they are turned on (which is the default for cell lines). To change the default border and cell line settings, set them to your preferences in the Properties for Table Borders/Fill dialog and then use the Default Settings button under the Table tab.

Important:   Unfortunately, you can see only one or the other (either table gridlines or borders/lines/fills) on screen at the same time (unless you use File, Print Preview to show any borders/lines/fills).

Notes

¤  Gridlines (or guidelines, below) will not impact the printing of table borders or cell lines/fills if table borders/lines are ON. Gridlines only serve as a visual aid to what is displayed on screen.

¤  If table gridlines are ON -- which is sometimes the case depending on the setting in Tools, Settings, Display, Document tab -- you can't see table borders or cell lines/fills (assuming they are ON). Again, it's either one or the other, not both.

¤  Gridline display takes precedence over table border or cell line/fill display. You have to toggle gridlines OFF (by un-ticking View, Table Gridlines) so that you can see the table borders or cell lines onscreen the way they will print (or else use File, Print Preview to see them).

    Tips

    ☼  You can add a "toggle" button to a toolbar to turn table gridlines on and off; see here for help creating toolbar buttons (the button is under the "View" feature category in the Toolbar Editor, listed as "Table Gridlines").

    ☼  Toggling also lets you see any "fills" such as reversed backgrounds, where the background is black or some dark color and the text is white or lightly colored.

    Table guidelines


    Description and purpose

    •  From WordPerfect X7's Help (F1):

    "Guidelines are horizontal and vertical nonprinting lines that you can use to align tables, margins, columns, headers, and footers on a page.
    You can display guidelines. You can also move guidelines. Guidelines must be displayed in a document before you can move them."

    •  Hence, like table gridlines (above) these are also faint gray dotted lines on your screen around the borders of a table and its cells.

    •  They can be turned on and off with View, Guidelines, Tables (checkbox).

    •  Like gridlines, they never print.

    •  As noted in the above quote, guidelines are used with things other than tables -- i.e., to help visualize page margins, columns, headers, footers.

    These other structures are mentioned here because they are a feature of the program and you'll see the option to display them when you use the View, Guidelines dialog.

    •  There are also a few issues to be aware of, as noted below.

    Notes

    ¤  In general, you probably should leave guidelines for tables turned ON (enable the View, Guidelines, Tables option) because if you remove all border lines and fills from a table and have gridlines turned OFF, you won't be able to see the table's cell boundaries on your screen! (The "on" setting might be the most practical use of guidelines in tables.)

    ¤  Dragging issues: As noted in the Description above, you can move (drag) guidelines if BOTH "Drag to move guidelines" in the View, Guidelines dialog is enabled AND the options to display the desired guidelines are also enabled in that dialog.

    This can sometimes produce a problem if you accidentally move the left page margin when you attempt to select text close to that margin. As a result some users prefer to disable dragging in View, Guidelines.

    However, table guidelines occupy the same location on screen as table gridlines and table borders. That is, all three features are overlaid on the boundaries -- i.e., edges -- of all columns and rows. These edges are always dragable anyway, so even if you disable the drag option in the Guidelines dialog you can still drag columns and rows -- deliberately or accidentally. See the General Notes and Tips section below.

    ¤  Table guidelines will not obscure table borders or cell lines.

    ¤  See also the General Notes and Tips section below about certain issues with guidelines and LCD monitors.

    Tips

    ☼  Macro writers can turn on/off any of the 5 Guideline settings (View, Guidelines) with a macro that uses the Guidelines() command. (See Macro Help for more on using this command with the various Guideline states.)

    - For example, to enable View, Table Guidelines (i.e., turn it on):

    vTableGuidelineState:=1&Guidelines
    If(vTableGuidelineState=0) // (i.e., table guidelines off)
      Guidelines (ShowTableGuides:Yes!)
      Messagebox(;"";"View>Guidelines>Tables is now ON.")
    Endif
    Return

    - For example, to disable View, Table Guidelines (i.e., turn it off):

    vTableGuidelineState:=1&Guidelines
    If(vTableGuidelineState=1) // (i.e., table guidelines on)
      Guidelines (ShowTableGuides:No!)
      Messagebox(;"";"View>Guidelines>Tables is now Off.")
    Endif
    Return


    General Notes and Tips

    ☼  Guidelines and page margins: If you find that you often accidentally drag the left page margin guideline slightly out of position when you are trying to select text at that location by clicking your left mouse button next to the margin, you can remove this annoyance by clicking on View, Guidelines and then disabling (un-ticking) "Drag to move guidelines." Of course, you will then have to set/reset margins from the Format menu, not by dragging them.

    •  Top and bottom page margin guidelines are automatically hidden when you choose View, Draft to give you a continuous workspace on screen.

    •  All four page margin guidelines are hidden in File, Print Preview. This handy "on/off toggle" gives you a view of what the printed page will look like.


    ☼  Guidelines in tables: Similar to the previous tip, while working in a table you might find that sometimes you accidentally drag a table column or row out of position. You can try disabling (un-ticking) both "Drag to move guidelines" and the option to display table guidelines. (As noted above they must be displayed to use them to move them.)

    Note: Be aware that table column and row boundaries are always dragable. You can verify this by turning off gridlines, borders, and guidelines (which leaves just cell contents visible) then hover your mouse over the areas where various boundaries should be located. The mouse pointer will turn into the usual double-headed arrow pointer to let you drag the boundary. So the solution in this tip might not resolve the issue of accidental dragging column/row boundaries in tables.

    Suggestion: If you leave table gridlines enabled you will still be able to see cell structures even if both table borders and table guidelines are turned off.

    ☼  Gridlines and/or guidelines not visible? On some monitors (particularly LCD monitors) an incorrect screen resolution can cause such faint lines to fall between pixels and not appear on screen. Please ensure that the monitor is set to its preferred resolution, both vertical and horizontal. Otherwise gridlines, guidelines, and even text underlines can "fall between the cracks."

    [Also, for page margin guidelines this might be due to a user setting: See the Note in the first tip above about page guidelines, as well as the Draft mode view Tip below.]

    ☼  Wrong Zoom setting? If lines, borders, or underlines do not appear on screen but appear in a printout, try setting your monitor's Zoom to a slightly different setting with View, Zoom or by holding down the <Ctrl> key while you rotate your mouse wheel.

    ☼  Using Draft mode? If you have the View turned to Draft mode, table guidelines won't display on some monitors (but table gridlines will). Try using Page mode.

    ☼  More table tips: "Using WordPerfect Tables


    Footnote 1

    [Continued from above:]

    If the dotted gray (grey) table gridlines, table guidelines, or margin
    guidelines don't display properly on the screen (e.g., they are too faint), it could be a problem with Windows and some flatscreen (e.g., LCD) monitors.

    [Update 11/2/2010: Service Pack 1 for WordPerfect X5 seems to have corrected this -- at least on the author's Windows 7/64-bit Home Premium system -- and should be corrected in subsequent versions of WordPerfect. If not, try the solutions below.]

    - - -
    Solution:
    From Corel's support database here ["Labels and margins not displaying on the screen"]:
    - - -

    Modifying the Windows Classic style in the Display Properties to a darker shade of gray will resolve this issue.


    Tip:
    Select just a small amount of darker gray or you might not be able to see toolbar labels.

    For Windows 7:

    1. Right click on the Desktop, select Personalize [or click Start, Settings, Personalize in (e.g.) Windows 10]
    2. Click on Window Color
    3. Click on Advanced appearance settings
    4. Select 3D Objects in the Item dropdown
    5. Under Color 1, choose a darker shade of gray (or click Other and choose a RGB value of (for example) from the default of 240,240,240 to 230,230,230).
    6. Click OK, then click Apply on the Window Color and Appearance tab.
    7. Click OK, launch WordPerfect.

    The grid lines should be more visible, the darker the shade of gray you select the more visible the gridlines will be.

    For Windows XP:

    1. Right click on the Desktop, select Properties.
    2. Select the Appearance tab.
    3. Click the Advanced button.
    4. Select 3D Objects in the Item dropdown
    5. Under Color 1, choose a darker shade of gray.
    6. Click OK, then click Apply on the Appearance tab.
    7. Click OK, launch WordPerfect.

    The grid lines should be more visible, the darker the shade of gray you select the more visible the gridlines will be.

    For Windows Vista:

    1. Right click on the Desktop, select Personalize
    2. Click on Window Color Appearance
    3. Click on Open Classic Appearance
    4. Click the Advance button
    5. Select 3D Objects in the Item dropdown
    6. Under Color 1, choose a darker shade of gray.
    7. Click OK, then click Apply on the Appearance tab.
    8. Click OK, launch WordPerfect.

    The grid lines should be more visible, the darker the shade of gray you select the more visible the gridlines will be.