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You are here : : Home > Free Resources > Web Design Tutorials & Resources > HTML Table Tips  

HTML Table Tips

Learn how to use HTML tables creatively to design attractive and fast loading web pages.

Instead of designing graphic intensive web sites that take ages to load, you can use HTML tables creatively to get a professional looking web page that loads super fast. This article discusses many useful table tips and tricks on designing a great web page. Live examples and cut 'n' paste code are also provided for you to try out some great designs. You can also check out more handy tips 'n' tricks on designing a fast loading web site.

Tips on using Tables

  • Always give the width for each of the cells in a table. Make sure that the total of the cells in a row adds up to the table width. This will avoid many complications.
  • Try not to merge or break apart cells within a table. This again causes all kinds of problems.
  • When using widths or heights that are less than 10 pixels insert a shim or a transparent gif (1x 1 pixel). If you use Fireworks you will find a shim in your Fireworks file, or you can just export a 1x 1 transparent image and call it a shim. This trick is mainly for a table to work in a Netscape browser.
  • Netscape cannot understand height in percentages, so if you ever need to give a height for your tables, make sure it is in terms of pixels.
Let's try out some cool designs using only tables

Tables with white borders

The key here is to use a transparent image(1x1 pixel) called a shim. The table is made of 3 rows and 3 columns. The width and height of the middle row is 1 pixel. The table will not take a height less than 5 pixels without you putting an image in it. Hence the magic shim. And there you have a striking table that can be used in your homepage to display your important navigation sections.

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Table with a thin border

Have you ever wondered how to get a nice thin border instead of the thick border that is automatically generated using the 'border' property. Or have you ever wanted only the table to have a border and not all the cells. Well the answer to this is to make a table with the width you want and 1 as your cell padding. You then have to insert the actual table inside this table with width 100%. Cell spacing should be 0 for both of the tables.

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Tables within a table - multiple tables in the same line

Here I have made a table with 2 rows and 5 columns with cell padding 2 . There are different background colors for all the alternate columns. In the first row I have written the text for the heading. In the second row I have made a table of width 100%, height 100% and cell padding 3. The whitespace between the tables is a column of width 3 pixels.
Note:
You cannot make 3 different table coming one after the other in the same line. You can only make tables come one below the other. If you want many tables in the same line you have to make tables within tables.

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Table using the border property

Here's the simplest way to make a table with a border. Use the border property to give a border for all the cells. Neat and clean, this is the easiest way to create a table with a border. Note: The border has a grayish tinge when viewed in Netscape.

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Merging Cells in a table - Try out a jazzy table like this in your homepage.

You can also try merging and breaking apart cells to get some really cool designs. Be careful when trying out this method, as you can lose control over the table. Merging and breaking apart cells make use of the 'rowspan' and 'columnspan' properties of HTML.

 
 

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Using tables to design lines

This is a nice design because it has a lot of white space. Remember that white space really makes a site looks clean and readable. Again I have made tables within a table to get the best effect. Try to do this one yourself using the techniques I have describe above. Don't use any images. Only use HTML code. Remember to use a shim. Have fun.

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