Pages 2: Header row and row selection in tables

Posted by Pierre Igot in: Pages
May 5th, 2006 • 3:10 pm

The more I try to work with Pages’ table authoring tools, the more frustrated I get. I have already described weird text selection issues in tables in Pages as well as a variety of strange limitations and flaws.

Now I find yet another pretty basic problem with tables that have a header row in Pages. A header row is a row that is repeated at the top of every page for a single table that spans several pages. It’s a pretty standard feature, and indeed by default when you insert a new table in Pages it has one such header row, with grey shading and a different paragraph style for its contents.

The problem is with what happens when you have a table with a header row that does indeed span several pages and you want to select some of the table’s rows. If the rows that you want to select are all on the first page of the table, then there are no problems. But if you want to select a range of rows that extends over more than one page and does not include the header row, then you are in trouble.

See, if you try to select a range of rows in the table that is interrupted by a page break, as soon as the selection extends beyond that page break, then Pages… automatically includes the header row in the selection, whether you want it or not. This appears to be because the header row is repeated at the top of the next page and somehow Pages mistakenly treats it as just another row within the range of the selection.

Since there is only one document view mode in Pages, and that view mode is a WYSIWYG mode that always shows page borders and the repeated header row at the top of every page, there is simply no way around this. You cannot select a range of rows in a table that extends beyond a single page without selecting the header row as well.

When you are trying to make a formatting change that applies to the entire table but not the header row, this is rather problematic. It means that you have to break up your task by limiting your row selection to a single page—no matter how large your table is.

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