Glossary with 2 columns

Newbie here. First post. Pardon my ignorance. Read a thread about creating a glossary with 2 columns. Question: Is there a reason to NOT use a table?

If it were question How can I insert a two-column glossary of terms / abbreviations? then the first line is “Can I make a list of abbreviations automatically?”.

Not sure to understand your question.

  • Do you want to have the term alone in a table cell and the definition in the next cell?
    Each row of the table shows a term entry and the table constitutes the whole glossary.
  • Do you want your glossary to be set in a 2-column page in order to save space?
    Every entry is constrained inside the column (term+definition) and does not span the two columns. The last entry in a column is followed by the next one at top of next column.

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Thank you. Will try to clarify. I was trying to create a glossary in Writer and found a post about index with two columns (cannot find post).

Anyway, I thought it might be easier to create a 2-column table, manually enter the terms and definitions, and sort on terms.

My post should have been “are there any pitfalls to inserting a table instead of an index?”

Sorry for the confusion.

There are at least three ways to create a glossary according to your layout requirement (term offset from the definition):

  • 2-column table
    The term is written in the first column and the definition in the second one. A table may be sorted (select the whole table, Table>Sort and adjust the sorting criteria).
    Pro: possibility to repeat a heading at top of every page.
    The cons are those about tables: maybe a bit more difficult to tune general layout, table behaviour when crossing a page boundary, stress caused by tables to Writer.

  • index
    A bit awkward for a glossary because the definitions are usually in a single location in the document and reference to occurrences are therefore meaningless.
    Mentioned here because it was proposed as a contorted solution here. Not my favourite because it abuses the alphabetic index feature and prevents the use of the alphabetical index for any other purpose.
    Pro: automatically sorted
    Con: complex to implement

  • hanging indent paragraph
    Create an ad hoc paragraph style with a large left indent and first line indent equal to the negative of left indent. Type the term followed by Tab and continue with the definition. The Tab forces the next word to be aligned with the left indent if position has not yet reached it. If the term is longer than the indent, use a line break Shift+Enter instead. You may have to tune the compatibility rules or systematically type a Tab before the line break.
    The paragraphs may be sorted after selecting them.
    Pros: a single paragraph for every entry, versatility in term formatting (no line wrap, accommodates largely differing term widths), ease of tuning through the paragraph style, no stress on Writer, …
    Cons: you may be upset by the default compatibility rules (against M$ Word behaviour)

The last one is my preferred method because it is simple.

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Thank you very much. I like the hanging indent as well. Will definitely try it. And thanks for the link to the previous post I couldn’t find.