Table styles questions

A few questions about table styles:

  1. Is there a way to edit a table style other than by updating based on selection?
  2. Space after a table: doesn’t seem to get saved in the definition, is it possible?
  3. Allow row to break across pages and columns: doesn’t seem to get saved in the definition, is it possible?
  4. I have borders defined at the smallest they can be 0.05, and yet the screen disly is clumsy and look ‘thick’, I don’t imagine I can do anything but perhaps someone knows better?
  5. The list of styles presented doesn’t include my customised table styles, why not?
  6. Any general guidance on using table styles?

First, present table styles are not styles in the usual sense but rather templates.

What I mean with this statement is best illustrated by an example.

Paragraphs are formatted according to paragraph styles. Provided you don’t override formatting attributes, modifying the style will be immediately reflected in all paragraphs depending on the style. Similarly, if you assign another style to the paragraph, the paragraph is reformatted automatically to the new style definition.

None of this is possible with the so-called table “styles”. Once a table is created, it loses any association with its original “style”.

This is exactly what happens with text in a template (I put aside the styles definitions in a template because they interact nicely with the style dictionary). A template file may contain initial text which is used when instantioating a new document. But if you modify afterwards the text in the template (once again, I don’t complain about the styles), this text change is not forwarded in the derived document for two main reasons: 1) there is no explicit backlink between the text and the template, 2) you may have customised the text and it would be very user-unfriendly to change your intentional prose.

Definig a true table style, i.e. a named set of attributes for Table Properties would be a very valuable feature. However, experts told me this is presently not included in the ODF standard. If you have the skills and competences to implement a prototype, this would be a first step towards adoption.

Consequently, for question 1, 2 and 3, the answers are “no”.

For question 4, remember that pixels on screen have a fixed size. What is displayed has an integral multiple of pixels. For very tiny objects, like your 0.05pt line, either it is considered too small and is simply not drawn, or it is considered an “important” element in your document and is drawn at the smallest screen size, i.e. 1 pixel which is frequently 1-96" today (was 1/72" in the past, not to speak of recent HDPI screens)).

Question 5: I don’t know how the table “styles” are implemented, but they may be as some sort of macro. This could explain why you can’t create new templates (contextual menu only shows Hide in the side style pane).

Question 6: this is a matter of personal choice. Due to the limitations of this template feature, I prefer to avoid it but YMMV.

Very helpful to know how table ‘stayles’ are implemented thank you!

My problem with line width is not to do with pixel size, in Word the display is ‘finer’ that I see in Writer, in fact the grid lines in Calc are finer than the lines in my tables and changing the width of the line only changes the appearance once i get over 1.2 pt. It’s odd. It prints fine

Then can’t tell without having a look at the screen display. Unless you consider the question closed (even with no satisfactory solution), attach a sample file with an edit to your question. Mention your OS because the screen driver may be different (I’m under Linux).

For LO 7.2.4.1, this is not so. If you create 3 tables, apply Academic table style to each of them, then add the background color to the 3rd table, and then update Academic style according to the 3rd table, the background color will be added to the 1st and 2nd tables as well. However, table styles are still not really styles. For example, you cannot edit them directly. But most importantly, they doesn’t updated in the document when you update them in the template.
(Also, what you call “template” is more correct to call “preset”. It seems that in earlier versions of LO, table styles were “table formatting presets”. Now, they are something between presets and real styles…)

The original answer was written two years ago. I don’t remember which release was current at that time (yes, I did wrong, I should have quoted my LO version). Handling tables changed a bit.
However, table management is still awfully wrong and messes any styling you could have applied to your cells. The so-called “table styles” are in fact a set of macros which are automatically triggered whenever something changes in the table. The macros then apply their own direct-formatting, overriding or even erasing any styling you did.
Unless your document is quick’n’dirty one-shot dependable one, don’t use table “styles”. Your maintenance task will be easier.

This might be interesting for you: https://bugs.documentfoundation.org/show_bug.cgi?id=145920, see comments 6 and 8

This is exactly what I find faulty. Table “styles” are not styles because they play in the direct formatting layer and botch everything user could have done.
What is faulty is to consider that table characteristics are DF on the text whereas they should play with the parameters offered by the table dialog. And there we could have a “traditional” orthogonal style not interacting with paragraph and character layers.

Yes, the opening question is now two years old.
However, I hope that my contribution will still be helpful. Sorry, I have to get rid of it.


@Lizat, 5. The list of styles presented doesn’t include my customised table styles, why not?

@ajlittoz
Question 5: I don’t know how the table “styles” are implemented,
but they may be as some sort of macro.
This could explain why you can’t create new templates (contextual menu only shows Hide in the side style pane).


Styles/table styles are, as @ajlittoz notes, not true style sheets.

Here I come to the topic and concept of AutoFormat templates, which exist in both Calc and Writer. They are treated the same in the application, but are otherwise different to handle.

AutoFormat templates and table styles in Writer are linked (somewhere in the programming?), which is not recognizable to the outside and I think to the normal user.
The table styles in Writer can IMHO only be applied, but not created there as described by @ajlittoz.

So if you want to create new table styles, you have to do it via the AutoFormat templates function.
If you have created a new AutoFormat template, it is also available for use in the table styles.

See also the description:
AutoFormat Table Styles

With me:
Version: 7.2.5.2 (x64) / LibreOffice Community
Build ID: 499f9727c189e6ef3471021d6132d4c694f357e5
CPU threads: 8; OS: Windows 10.0 Build 19044; UI render: Skia/Raster; VCL: win
Locale: de-DE (de_DE); UI: de-DE
Calc: CL