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Permlink Replies: 11 - Pages: 1 - Last Post: Jan 26, 2018 10:31 PM Last Post By: Hiram Farrera
Sarah Raggatt

Posts: 62
Registered: 01/06/15
Formatting tables
Posted: Apr 2, 2015 3:45 PM
 
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I have written a sort of guidebook to my fictional universe, which I was thinking of maybe offering as a free or very cheap download for those who have read my novels. The issue which has made me hold off on it so far is that it contains several tables, for example, the days of the week, months of the year, etc, are counted differently in my fictional universe than they are in real life. The best way to represent this is in a table, but everything I've read so far seems to tell me that tables and graphics don't come out very well in Kindle format.

I had thought about converting my tables to jpg files and inserting them as images, but as I've been reading in these forums, images don't always display as the author intended.

My tables are not that complicated, maybe four or five columns across the page and about ten or so rows downwards. In the present format (word document) I have them centred on the page but I would accept if they were left-aligned as long as the table columns and rows display properly.

So - which way to go? Keep the table as it is or convert to jpg?
Charlie S

Posts: 2,996
Registered: 01/19/14
Re: Formatting tables
Posted: Apr 2, 2015 4:23 PM   in response to: Sarah Raggatt in response to: Sarah Raggatt
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I work in HTML, so I don't know how well tables convert from Word files, but I would suspect not very well. With HTML tables, you can't have very much information in any of the cells such as sentences. If the cells just contain something like a couple of numbers or letters, you might get away with five columns like that. All you can do is try it and see. Check your work in the KindleGen Previewer and pay attention to the DX mode. Tables won't display in the 1st generation Kindle devices, but there can't be many of those around anymore that still have functional batteries anyway.

Graphics of tables work great too and in every Kindle device ever made. The only problems are that you can't keep their sizes consistent. It's best to make your tables 800 pixels wide and then specify 100% width on them in HTML (you can't do that in a word processor). This will make them display at full width on every device.

~~~
eBook Pioneers Formatting We do print books too!

"Don't use words too big for the subject. Don't say 'infinitely' when you mean 'very'; otherwise you'll have no word left when you want to talk about something really infinite." ~ CS Lewis
Sarah Raggatt

Posts: 62
Registered: 01/06/15
Re: Formatting tables
Posted: Apr 6, 2015 11:27 AM   in response to: Charlie S in response to: Charlie S
 
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Thanks Charlie, you've given me something to think about. I'm a complete novice when it comes to HTML and other computer coding.

If I decide to publish the guidebook, I'll either have to go with jpg images of my tables or find another way to display the information. Tabs across the page don't work well in Kindle format from my past experience, so it has to be either plain text or a graphic.
Notjohn

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Re: Formatting tables
Posted: Apr 6, 2015 1:41 PM   in response to: Sarah Raggatt in response to: Sarah Raggatt
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Actually, tabs don't work at all. In html (and your book is html whether you format it as such or not), any space between one and a zillion is still one space.

Good luck! -- NJ

The book: Notjohn's Guide to Kindle Publishing: Ten Steps to Formatting Your E-book for Sale on Amazon (Or Anywhere Else)

The blog: Notjohn's KDP Guide
Sarah Raggatt

Posts: 62
Registered: 01/06/15
Re: Formatting tables
Posted: Apr 15, 2015 4:31 PM   in response to: Notjohn in response to: Notjohn
 
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Thanks for the confirmation, Notjohn. While I haven't found a solution yet, at least I'm learning what doesn't work!

I'm going to have to rethink the whole project. I shall probably end up doing sub-headings and small paragraphs for each entry rather than displaying them in tables. I can't afford to pay someone to write the html for me so that looks like the only option.

If anyone else has any ideas as to alternative methods for displaying information concisely without using tables or graphics, I'd welcome your suggestions.
Notjohn

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Re: Formatting tables
Posted: Apr 16, 2015 3:02 AM   in response to: Sarah Raggatt in response to: Sarah Raggatt
 
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I'm inclined to favor Charlie's solution of using images. It's true that they may look small in the high-resolution tablets, but most table owners have discovered that if they tap on an image, it will zoom to full screen.

I too upload images 800 pixels wide, but some people have said they use 1000 pixels as a standard. (Amazon's recommendation is 600 pixels, but I can testify that 800 works fine.)

Good luck! -- NJ

The book: Notjohn's Guide to Kindle Publishing: Ten Steps to Formatting Your E-book for Sale on Amazon (Or Anywhere Else)

The blog: Notjohn's KDP Guide
Julian Calderazi

Posts: 49
Registered: 12/14/12
Re: Formatting tables
Posted: Apr 16, 2015 3:32 PM   in response to: Sarah Raggatt in response to: Sarah Raggatt
 
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I had thought about converting my tables to jpg files and inserting them as images, but as I've been reading in these forums, images don't always display as the author intended.
kindle guidelines are very clear about using image formats to represent tables. They even use the BAD word over their examples.

So - which way to go? Keep the table as it is or convert to jpg?
Have you tried adding the content as non linear in the spine? as regards to epub, I consider is the right way to go.

Don't know how to go through with Word must confess.
Charlie S

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Registered: 01/19/14
Re: Formatting tables
Posted: Apr 16, 2015 5:12 PM   in response to: Julian Calderazi in response to: Julian Calderazi
 
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Julian Calderazi wrote:
I had thought about converting my tables to jpg files and inserting them as images, but as I've been reading in these forums, images don't always display as the author intended.
kindle guidelines are very clear about using image formats to represent tables. They even use the BAD word over their examples.
There are many things in those Guidelines that are incorrect and other things that are just bad advice, and this is one of them. Hardly anything in an eBook is exactly as the author intended. EBooks are dumbed down print books. By their nature they require much compromise. Only the very simplest table display well, and they don't display in first generation Kindles at all. Therefore, if you want a complex table, it must be done as a graphic.
So - which way to go? Keep the table as it is or convert to jpg?
Have you tried adding the content as nonlinear in the spine? as regards to epub, I consider is the right way to go.
I can't imagine what this means. Can you explain a little?

~~~
eBook Pioneers Formatting We do print books too!

+"It’s said that the shuffling of the cards is the earth, and the pattering of the cards is the rain,
and the beating of the cards is the wind, and the pointing of the cards is the fire.
That’s of the four suits. But the Greater Trumps, it’s said, are the meaning of all
process and the measure of the everlasting dance."+
~From The Greater Trumps by Charles Williams
Julian Calderazi

Posts: 49
Registered: 12/14/12
Re: Formatting tables
Posted: Apr 17, 2015 6:26 AM   in response to: Charlie S in response to: Charlie S
 
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Charlie S wrote:
Julian Calderazi wrote:
I had thought about converting my tables to jpg files and inserting them as images, but as I've been reading in these forums, images don't always display as the author intended.
kindle guidelines are very clear about using image formats to represent tables. They even use the BAD word over their examples.
There are many things in those Guidelines that are incorrect and other things that are just bad advice, and this is one of them. Hardly anything in an eBook is exactly as the author intended. EBooks are dumbed down print books. By their nature they require much compromise. Only the very simplest table display well, and they don't display in first generation Kindles at all. Therefore, if you want a complex table, it must be done as a graphic.
Charlie, this will get a little technical and gar a way for 'formatting with word' but if we agree a paragraph is marked or defined with a

element, then we can also agree a table will not be correct to add it as an or even a <figure>. A table is a table as long as a paragraph is also a paragraph. Elements are well defined since many years ago.

So - which way to go? Keep the table as it is or convert to jpg?
Have you tried adding the content as nonlinear in the spine? as regards to epub, I consider is the right way to go.
I can't imagine what this means. Can you explain a little?
Non linear content is an option only available for reflowable content. For me, the correct way to insert a table is to add it this wat. It is a way to add supplement content. In this case, i would recommend to add tables like this because it is the best way to provide access to the information on an accurate way (i'm talking abut reading experience and access to information mainly) and it will work both work in epub and epubs converted to mobi.
If you can get the iBooks Assets Guide PDF, you will get a good scope of what it is, how it works and even an example, look for "Non linear Content". Sorry not to expand explanation but i'm on a busy week.

J


~~~
eBook Pioneers Formatting We do print books too!

+"It’s said that the shuffling of the cards is the earth, and the pattering of the cards is the rain,
and the beating of the cards is the wind, and the pointing of the cards is the fire.
That’s of the four suits. But the Greater Trumps, it’s said, are the meaning of all
process and the measure of the everlasting dance."+
~From The Greater Trumps by Charles Williams

Charlie S

Posts: 2,996
Registered: 01/19/14
Re: Formatting tables
Posted: Apr 17, 2015 2:38 PM   in response to: Julian Calderazi in response to: Julian Calderazi
 
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Julian Calderazi wrote:
Charlie, this will get a little technical and gar a way for 'formatting with word' but if we agree a paragraph is marked or defined with a

element, then we can also agree a table will not be correct to add it as an or even a <figure>. A table is a table as long as a paragraph is also a paragraph. Elements are well defined since many years ago.

Unfortunately, that means nothing to the first two generations of Kindle. The first generation simply won't display tables, and the second generation Kindles (which includes DX) will make a much of tables if you have anything other than very short entries in each cell. Try placing a longer sentence in one, and you'll see what I mean. The table will fall off the right side of the screen. There's no way to stop this behavior from happening, so if you want a more complex table with a lot of cells or even just a few cells where one of them has a lot of content, you must use a graphic.
Non linear content is an option only available for reflowable content. For me, the correct way to insert a table is to add it this wat. It is a way to add supplement content. In this case, i would recommend to add tables like this because it is the best way to provide access to the information on an accurate way (i'm talking abut reading experience and access to information mainly) and it will work both work in epub and epubs converted to mobi.
Okay, I know what you're talking about now. I didn't know this would work on anything but an ePub3 capable reader.

(If anyone else is wondering, if you list an item in the OPF spine a being linear="no", this will make the item appear on it's own HTML page and full width and length, so that the page itself is scrollable. So if you place a large table on its own HTML page, list that page in the space as nonlinear, and then you click on the link to that page from within the book, it will take you to the table's HTML page where you can have a table as large as you like and scroll around on it and even click on it like a photo to enlarge it, so the HTML page is sort of treated like an image file.)

I question though if this will work on the first two generations of Kindle. It's probably best to have a separate link for older readers that will take them to a graphic of the table.

A poster reported yesterday that SVG files are now able to grow and shrink with font resizing in Mobi books as well as clicking on them to pinch and zoom. If this is true, you could make a vector table in Flash or other software and export is as SVG, and use a jpg or gif fallback with media query for older Kindles. I think this would be a better way to go, although I'm not quite sure how well vector images work in older ePub1 readers, and I can't conceive of how you could write a media query to deliver jpg or gif content to those. Further experimentation is required on my part.

Thanks Julian. Much to think about this weekend.
~~~
eBook Pioneers Formatting We do print books too!

+"It’s said that the shuffling of the cards is the earth, and the pattering of the cards is the rain,
and the beating of the cards is the wind, and the pointing of the cards is the fire.
That’s of the four suits. But the Greater Trumps, it’s said, are the meaning of all
process and the measure of the everlasting dance."+
~From The Greater Trumps by Charles Williams
Sarah Raggatt

Posts: 62
Registered: 01/06/15
Re: Formatting tables
Posted: Apr 17, 2015 3:18 PM   in response to: Charlie S in response to: Charlie S
 
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Julian and Charlie, thanks for your enthusiasm and detail in your replies. I'm afraid to admit that most of what you say has gone straight over my fuzzy little girlie head. I appreciate both of you taking the time to reply to my question but since I don't really understand your answers, I feel somewhat ashamed and ungrateful.

I'm going to take a "time-out" on this particular project and concentrate on my series of novels for now. I've just published another one. I expect that I will end up ditching the tables and using a series of headings, sub-headings and small paragraphs to display the information in my guidebook.

I'm going to mark this topic answered now, as I don't want to waste anymore of your valuable time. I will just have to accept that the ebook format is as you say "Dumbed down". I guess I must be, too, since I can't understand your solutions.

Thanks to everyone who has offered their suggestions.
Hiram Farrera

Posts: 2
Registered: 01/27/18
Re: Formatting tables
Posted: Jan 26, 2018 10:31 PM   in response to: Sarah Raggatt in response to: Sarah Raggatt
 
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I know this is an old thread, but since I didn't see a good answer here is mine.

If you are using word, it is possible to have a table formatted to fit any screen size.

Click inside the table.
Go to the Table Tools > Layout tab.
Click the large AutoFit icon, then click AutoFit Window.
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