100% width table with absolute sized column

How can I have a table in Writer with 100% width but have one column with a fixed width set in cm? If I change the table to relative width then all the columns are specified in % too. If I don’t use relative width but I set the table alignment to left or manual then I can make the right and left side have 0.00 spacing and I can set the table first column to 1.6cm, like I want. Great. Except now if I copy the table to a document with a smaller page size, it doesn’t honor the 1.6cm. It shrinks all the columns proportionally to fit the page as if everything is in %. This may not seem like a big deal—easy to fix. But if you are changing the layout of a document and need to update hundreds of these tables, that is a hassle I would rather avoid.

Any ideas?

Well, what I’m asking for is probably not possible, but I have found an alternative solution using frames.

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This is the right way to go. The frame will define the geometric characteristics of the space reseved for the table, i.e. right and left margins. Then within it, you can give absolute width to columns. However the trick works only if the width of the frame is fixed. If the frame needs width adjustment, you’re back to the initial problem.

Be also aware that frames cannot be split across pages. That is, you lose the possibility to span your table over pages. The consequence is your tables must be rather short. Also, they must be made “floating” so that Writer can shift them within the text to avoid straddling the page break. For that, take special care for the anchoring mode and check Keep within text boundaries box.

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Actually, you can set a text frame to be 100% width and have other frames inside with fixed size and absolute position and you can have paragraphs with fixed margins, etc. But yeah, in the end, the inability to span pages was a problem. Plus I needed paragraph numbering to work continuously inside the frames as well as outside, but the framed numbers are in a different world, apparently. So… in the end I settled back to something without tables and without frames. It’s not exactly what I wanted but it will have to do. It seems like I spent days figuring all sorts of 99% solutions and came back to where I started.

You can link frames so text flows from one to the next

@EarnestAl: linked frames don’t solve the problem because this is not automatic. You must create manually the frames and link them. If the number of created frames is not the right one, you’re back to the initial problem. Also this manual approach makes assumption about page break location, which is a kind of direct formatting.

@lomacar: frames create secondary text flows not related to main text flow. Writer orders them internally according to its own convenience (order of creation?). When autonumbering is done, flows are scanned in internal order which is unpredictable. This is why it is not recommended to use autonumbering (chapter, list numbering or number range and perhaps note numbering) across several flows.

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