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Brian Barker wrote:
At 21:12 01/12/2015 +0000, Mark Bourne wrote:
Perhaps I'm missing something too, but I think I can see where Steve's
coming from. For example:
 - The table is a fixed width or filling the whole page width (and
that's how you want it; selecting "adapt table width" is not desirable)

This is your mistake: denying the very technique which will help you.
It's a bit like my saying that I like eating Christmas pudding, but I
don't want to put it in my mouth. Er, but that's how eating works.

But if I want the table to have a fixed width, why should I change it to variable width (even temporarily) every time I want to take a bit off one column width and add it to another which isn't adjacent to it? It's a workable workaround, but not exactly intuitive, nor expressing what I want to achieve (keeping a constant table width).

 - Column widths are 1.0", 0.5", 3.0", 3.0", 0.5", 0.5".
 - You want to add 2" to column 1 (make it 3.0") and deduct 2" from
column 4 (make it 1.0")

To do this, you have to:
 - Set column 1 to 3" (column 2 becomes 0.02", column 3 becomes 0.02",
column 4 becomes 1.97" - didn't want to change columns 2 and 3)
 - Set column 2 back to 0.5"; column 4 becomes 1.48"
 - Set column 3 back to 0.5"; column 4 becomes 1.0" (finally what was

No, you don't *have* to do this.

It would be much easier to:
 - Set column 1 to 3"; no other widths change (columns don't add up to
the total width, but that's OK because we're about to fix that)

*You* know that you are going to make further compensating changes but
LibreOffice doesn't. If you are espousing such a change to LibreOffice,
you need to explain, please, exactly what happens if users click OK at
this point.

To be honest, I'm not entirely sure what the best way around it is. Of course, it would need to disallow OKing the dialog at this point, perhaps with a message saying the column widths don't add up to the required total (though I'd agree that isn't particularly elegant), or perhaps by disabling the OK button and showing a message within the dialog itself. A display within the dialog showing the mismatch between required table width and current column widths would also be useful, similar to the existing "remaining space" field (which shows how much space is left to expand the table width when allowing that to change).

For what it's worth, I don't recall MS Word being any easier. From what I recall, it allows you to enter column widths which don't add up to the total table width, but does something like scaling proportionately when displaying the table to make it required width.

Surely, if "columns don't add up to the total width", you
can allow LibreOffice to know this - by allowing it to adapt the table
width, albeit temporarily.

 - Set column 4 to 1"

Try this:
o On the Table tab of the Table Format dialogue, change Alignment from
Automatic to something else - perhaps Left.
o On the Columns tab, tick "Adapt table width".
o Enter "1" for column 4. (As you acknowledged in a later message, it's
helpful to do the reduction first, before the increase.)
o Enter "3" for column 1.
o Untick "Adapt table width".
o On the Table tab, change Alignment back to Automatic.
o OK.

So you have to either fiddle about with column widths automatically changing, or change two options which you don't actually want to change and then change them back again after adjusting column widths. I can see why someone might describe either option as "quite cumbersome", when all they want to do is change two column widths.

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