In the last three years Google’s suite of document products has grown to become a compelling alternative to traditional office productivity solutions. Google apps offer the ability to collaborate, work anywhere, and create professional documents that are compatible with the market leading productivity suites.
Google is constantly rolling out new features that make Google Docs even more usable, and most recently they’ve upgraded table implementations within Google Docs that allow users to add advanced border styling to their tables and individual cells.
Creating a Table within a Document
Adding a table to a document within Google docs is simple. From the insert menu within any document, users can select table and then use the mouse over cell creator to choose the size of the table. Users only need to drag the cursor over the grid cells before left clicking to insert a table. Tables within documents are currently limited to a size of 20x20 cells.
Managing Rows and Columns in an Existing Table
Rows and columns can be added to tables already inserted in a document. Users can right click on any cell within a table, followed by choosing any of the insert features; insert a row above, insert a row below, insert column left, orinsert column right.
A new complete row can also be added from the last cell of the document when a user presses TAB on their keyboard.
Adjusting Table Properties
Table properties can also be adjusted from within the existing table. Users can pull up the context menu by right clicking anywhere within the table and selecting table properties.
The table properties menu provides advanced styling options for the table.
Table border allows users to set a color and border size ranging from 0 to 6pt.
Cell background color will allow users to choose from preset fill colors for cells, or users can create custom colors from a gradient color slider, or by choosing a specific color with a hex key.
Cell vertical alignment can be changed between top, center, and bottom.
Dimensions of the table can be customized by column width, minimum row height, and cell padding. All values are measured in inches (this unit cannot be changed).
Table alignment can be changed to move the entire table relative to the document. Users may select between left, center, and right, and can also set a left indent value (again in inches) when the table is left aligned.
Users can also edit individual cell properties by highlighting only the cells that they wish to adjust before opening the table properties.
Quickly Customize Cell and Table Borders from the Border Styling Toolbar
Users can easily change table borders from the border styling toolbar. Any time the cursor is active in an individual cell, the toolbar will appear on the far right side of the standard Google Docs toolbar. Users can also highlight multiple cells to change border styling for groups.
Border color will allow the user to select from standard colors, or from custom colors using a gradient slider, or specific hex values.
Border width can be adjusted between 0 and 6pt.
Border dash allows users to create stylized borders that aren’t in the standard Table properties settings. Options range from a solid border, to a standard dash, to an alternating short and long dash border.
Google Docs offers fast and user friendly ways to add professional looking tables to any document. Although there are still limitations, such as table size, and the inability to merge cells within a document, the tools available adequately cover the formatting needs of the average business and home user.
As Google has shown, the functionality within the Google Apps suite will only improve, and users should look forward to more advanced features as google makes further moves to cement its position in the market as a provider of powerful office productivity products.