cool for school 5

Using tables for visual summaries

Tables have two main uses in a web site - as a graphic layout tool, and as a way to organize information. Tables can be very useful when you are laying out a complex graphic arrangement, although it's best to try this when you have a good bit of time on your hands. Using tables for graphic layout can be tricky; you'll probably need to do some experimenting to get it right. If you're working on a tight deadline, you may want to save this fancy stuff for when you have more time to play around.

When you're using tables to organize data and convey information, there are many ways to go about it. Tables are great when you want to do a key visual summary. They allow you to condense stories, processes, debates and other information in a straightforward and simple way. Here are a few examples:

1. Comparing and contrasting two objects, people, or places

For example, let's say you are comparing apples and oranges. Make a table with two cells across and several cells down. Type APPLES at the top of one column and ORANGES at the top of the other. Then list all the qualities of apples in cells under the first column, and all the qualities of oragnes under the other column. You can also add a third column on the left-hand side to label the qualities that you are describing. For example, color, shape, taste, etc.

Comparing Apples and Oranges
Color Red, Green Orange
Shape Round Round

2. Timeline steps in a process or life span

Let's say you want to present the career of a famous sports star. Make a table with two rows and as many columns as you need for the different time periods. Enter the year of the event in the top row, then enter the event description in the bottom row.

The Career of Slam Jones
1988 1989 1993 1994
Played for all-state team First-string player for Indiana First round draft pick for Chicago Won Rookie of the Year award

3. Reasons for and against something

This is similar to the comparing and contrasting table described above. Make a table with two cells across and several cells down. If you are debating the "Reasons For and Against Midnight Snacks", place REASONS FOR at the top of one column and REASONS AGAINST at the top of the other. Type your reasons into each of the columns.

4. Parts and functions

Let's say you are explaining the different parts of a computer. Make a table with two cells across and several cells down. Into the cell on the left, type "keyboard." Into the adjacent cell on the right, type in "for typing." Continue on, describing all the different parts.

Parts of a Computer
Part Function
keyboard for typing
monitor for viewing information
mouse for selecting items