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Page updated Sep 27, 2012

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How to split table cells in a particular row so that the resulting cells are equal in width

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How to create some table cells in a table form that have variable widths without changing cells that appear directly above and below that row

Using WordPerfect tables

Sometimes this doesn't seem possible in a multi-column table with various column widths and/or split cells since split cells will take on the dimensions of the current columns, and moving (dragging) the column boundary in the newly split cell will affect all rows above and below that point -- something you probably do not want.

The trick is to first split the new cell into three parts, not two (right click in the cell and choose Split); then split the new, center section in two to produce four cells (e.g., A,B,C,D); finally, join the outside cell pairs (i.e., A+B and C+D). This produces two cells of equal width regardless of the widths of the columns above. Maggie Holman, on WordPerfect Universe, gave us the solution in a post she made:

"In the row where you have the cell you want to split into 2 columns: Instead of splitting it into 2 columns, split it into 3 columns like the one above.

[Ed.: You can split cells by right-clicking in a cell and choosing Split from the context menu. It might be helpful to explore the other context menu choices.]

Next split the centre cell of the 3 cells into 2. You now have 4 columns in that cell. (The 2 outside ones are the same, and the 2 inside ones are the same.) I'll call these 4 cells 1, 2, 3 & 4. Now join cells 1 and 2, and then join cells 3 and 4. You will then have 2 equally sized columns.

If you split a cell into any odd number (3, 5, 7 etc) of columns, you can then split the centre cell/column to get the exact centre of the original single cell. Keep using this multi-split and rejoin technique to get the table layout you want.

[You can't] change the width of a single cell within a table without changing the other [rows] above and below. ... You can set the row height so it won't change, but only as regards limiting the amount of text it will display.

It is possible to precisely set the size of a single-celled table (1 row + 1 column) by setting the row height and setting the column height (but you would need to set the Table Position to anything other than Full - see my last paragraph below). In fact I use this myself when I'm laying out our company advertisement to see just how much I can fit in. But none of these settings is cast in stone until you unset them, because you can still adjust lines by click/drag or, for column/cell widths, by Ctrl+< or Ctrl+>.

Just as a tip, when formatting tables, I find it easier when fiddling round with column widths to set the Table Position to Left, rather than the default Full. Once you've finished fiddling with the column widths you can always switch it back to Full again, or Centre or Right - whatever."