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You can use the Insert Table action on the toolbar or from the contextual menu to add a table in a DITA topic. By default, DITA supports four types of tables: If you are using a specialized DITA vocabulary, it may contain specialized versions of these table models.

Since DITA is a structured format, you can only insert a table in places in the structure of a topic where tables are allowed. The Oxygen XML Editor toolbar provides support for entering and editing tables. It also helps to indicate where you are allowed to insert a table or its components by disabling the appropriate buttons.

Inserting a Simple Table Model

To insert a Simple DITA table, select the Insert Table action on the toolbar or from the contextual menu (or the Table submenu from the DITA menu). The Insert Table dialog box appears. Select Simple for the table Model.

Figure: Insert Table Dialog Box - Simple Model

The dialog box allows you to configure the following options when you select the Simple table model:
Title
If this checkbox is selected, you can specify a title for your table in the adjacent text box.
Generate table header
If selected, an extra row will be inserted at the top of the table to be used as the table header.
Column widths
Allows you to specify the type of properties for column widths (colwidth attribute). You can choose one of the following properties for the column width:
  • proportional - The width is specified in proportional (relative) units of measure. The proportion of the column is specified in a relcolwidth attribute with the values listed as the number of shares followed by an asterisk. The value of the shares are totaled and rendered as a percent. For example, relcolwidth="1* 2* 3*" causes widths of 16.7%, 33.3%, and 66.7%. When entering content into a cell in one column, the width proportions of the other columns are maintained. If you change the width by dragging a column in Author mode, the values of the relcolwidth attribute are automatically changed accordingly. By default, when you insert, drag and drop, or copy/paste a column, the value of the relcolwidth attribute is 1*.
  • dynamic - If you choose this option, the columns are created without a specified width. Entering content into a cell changes the rendered width dynamically. If you change the width by dragging a column in Author mode, a dialog box will be displayed that asks you if you want to switch to proportional or fixed column widths.
Frame
Allows you to specify a value for the frame attribute. It is used to specify where a border should appear in the table. The allowed values are as follows:
  • none - No border will be added.
  • all - A border will be added to all frames.
  • top - A border will be added to the top frame.
  • topbot - A border will be added to the top and bottom frames.
  • bottom - A border will be added to the bottom frame.
  • sides - A border will be added to the side frames.
  • -dita-use-conref-target - Normally, when using a conref, the values of attributes specified locally are preserved. You can choose this option to override this behavior and pull the value of this particular attribute from the conref target. For more information, see https://www.oxygenxml.com/dita/1.3/specs/langRef/attributes/ditauseconreftarget.html.
Note: The options in the Insert Table dialog box for DITA documents are persistent, so changes made in one session will carry over to another.

When you click Insert, a simple table is inserted into your document at the current cursor position.

Inserting a CALS Table Model (OASIS Exchange Table)

To insert an OASIS Exchange Table (CALS), select the Insert Table action on the toolbar or from the contextual menu (or the Table submenu from the DITA menu). The Insert Table dialog box appears. Select CALS for the table Model. This model allows you to configure more properties than the Simple model.

Figure: Insert Table Dialog Box - CALS Model

The dialog box allows you to configure the following options when you select the CALS table model:
Title
If this checkbox is selected, you can specify a title for your table in the adjacent text box.
Table Size
Allows you to choose the number of Rows and Columns for the table.
Generate table header
If selected, an extra row will be inserted at the top of the table to be used as the table header.
Column widths
Allows you to specify the type of properties for column widths (colwidth attribute). You can choose one of the following properties for the column width:
  • proportional - The width is specified in proportional (relative) units of measure. The proportion of the column is specified in a colwidth attribute with the values listed as the number of shares followed by an asterisk. The value of the shares are totaled and rendered as a percent. For example, colwidth="1* 2* 3*" causes widths of 16.7%, 33.3%, and 66.7%. When entering content into a cell in one column, the width proportions of the other columns are maintained. If you change the width by dragging a column in Author mode, the values of the colwidth attribute are automatically changed accordingly. By default, when you insert, drag and drop, or copy/paste a column, the value of the colwidth attribute is 1*.
  • dynamic - If you choose this option, the columns are created without a specified width (colwidth attribute). Entering content into a cell changes the rendered width dynamically. If you change the width by dragging a column in Author mode, a dialog box will be displayed that asks you if you want to switch to proportional or fixed column widths.
  • fixed - The width is specified in fixed units. By default, the pt unit is inserted, but you can change the units in the colspecs (column specifications) section above the table or in Text mode. The following units are allowed: pt (points), cm (centimeters), mm (millimeters), pi (picas), in (inches).
Frame
Allows you to specify a value for the frame attribute. It is used to specify where a border should appear in the table. The allowed values are as follows:
  • none - No border will be added.
  • all - A border will be added to all frames.
  • top - A border will be added to the top frame.
  • topbot - A border will be added to the top and bottom frames.
  • bottom - A border will be added to the bottom frame.
  • sides - A border will be added to the side frames.
  • -dita-use-conref-target - Normally, when using a conref, the values of attributes specified locally are preserved. You can choose this option to override this behavior and pull the value of this particular attribute from the conref target. For more information, see https://www.oxygenxml.com/dita/1.3/specs/langRef/attributes/ditauseconreftarget.html.
Row separator
Specifies whether or not to include row separators (rowsep attribute). The allowed values are: 0 (no separator) and 1 (include separators).
Column separator
Specifies whether or not to include column separators (colsep attribute). The allowed values are: 0 (no separator) and 1 (include separators).
Alignment
Specifies the alignment of the text within the table (align attribute). The allowed values are:
  • left - Aligns the text to a left position.
  • right - Aligns the text to a right position.
  • center - Aligns the text to a centered position.
  • justify - Stretches the line of text so that it has equal width.
    Note: The justify value cannot be rendered in Author mode, so you will only see it in the output.
  • char - Aligns text to the leftmost occurrence of the value specified on the char attribute for alignment.
  • -dita-use-conref-target - Normally, when using a conref, the values of attributes specified locally are preserved. You can choose this option to override this behavior and pull the value of this particular attribute from the conref target. For more information, see https://www.oxygenxml.com/dita/1.3/specs/langRef/attributes/ditauseconreftarget.html.
Note: The options in the Insert Table dialog box for DITA documents are persistent, so changes made in one session will carry over to another.

When you click Insert, a CALS table is inserted into your document at the current cursor position.

When you insert a CALS table, you see a link for setting the colspecs (column specifications) of your table. Click the link to open the controls that allow you to adjust various column properties. Although they appear as part of the Author mode, the colspecs link and its controls will not appear in your output. They are just there to make it easier to adjust how the columns of your table are formatted.

Figure: CALS Table in DITA

Inserting a Choice Table Model

To insert a Choice table within a step element in a DITA Task document, select the Insert Table action on the toolbar or in the Insert submenu from the contextual menu (or the Table submenu from the DITA menu), or select choicetable from the Content Completion Assistant. The Insert Table dialog box appears. Select Simple for the table Model.

Figure: Insert Table Dialog Box - Choice Model

The dialog box allows you to configure the following options when you insert a Choice table model within a DITA Task:
Table Size
Allows you to choose the number of Rows and Columns for the table.
Generate table header
If selected, an extra row will be inserted at the top of the table to be used as the table header.
Column widths
Allows you to specify the type of properties for column widths (colwidth attribute). You can choose one of the following properties for the column width:
  • proportional - The width is specified in proportional (relative) units of measure. The proportion of the column is specified in a relcolwidth attribute with the values listed as the number of shares followed by an asterisk. The value of the shares are totaled and rendered as a percent. For example, relcolwidth="1* 2* 3*" causes widths of 16.7%, 33.3%, and 66.7%. When entering content into a cell in one column, the width proportions of the other columns are maintained. If you change the width by dragging a column in Author mode, the values of the relcolwidth attribute are automatically changed accordingly. By default, when you insert, drag and drop, or copy/paste a column, the value of the relcolwidth attribute is 1*.
  • dynamic - If you choose this option, the columns are created without a specified width. Entering content into a cell changes the rendered width dynamically. If you change the width by dragging a column in Author mode, a dialog box will be displayed that asks you if you want to switch to proportional or fixed column widths.
Frame
Allows you to specify a value for the frame attribute. It is used to specify where a border should appear in the table. The allowed values are as follows:
  • none - No border will be added.
  • all - A border will be added to all frames.
  • top - A border will be added to the top frame.
  • topbot - A border will be added to the top and bottom frames.
  • bottom - A border will be added to the bottom frame.
  • sides - A border will be added to the side frames.
  • -dita-use-conref-target - Normally, when using a conref, the values of attributes specified locally are preserved. You can choose this option to override this behavior and pull the value of this particular attribute from the conref target. For more information, see https://www.oxygenxml.com/dita/1.3/specs/langRef/attributes/ditauseconreftarget.html.

When you click Insert, a Choice table is inserted into your DITA Task document at the current cursor position (within a step element).

Inserting a Properties Table Model

To insert a Properties table within a refbody element in a DITA Reference document, select the Insert Table action on the toolbar or in the Insert submenu from the contextual menu (or the Table submenu from the DITA menu), or select properties(wizard) from the Content Completion Assistant. The Insert Table dialog box appears. Select Properties for the table Model.

Figure: Insert Table Dialog Box - Properties Model

The dialog box allows you to configure the following options when you insert a Properties table model within a DITA Reference:
Table Size
Allows you to choose the number of Rows and Columns for the table.
Generate table header
If selected, an extra row will be inserted at the top of the table to be used as the table header.
Frame
Allows you to specify a value for the frame attribute. It is used to specify where a border should appear in the table. The allowed values are as follows:
  • none - No border will be added.
  • all - A border will be added to all frames.
  • top - A border will be added to the top frame.
  • topbot - A border will be added to the top and bottom frames.
  • bottom - A border will be added to the bottom frame.
  • sides - A border will be added to the side frames.
  • -dita-use-conref-target - Normally, when using a conref, the values of attributes specified locally are preserved. You can choose this option to override this behavior and pull the value of this particular attribute from the conref target. For more information, see https://www.oxygenxml.com/dita/1.3/specs/langRef/attributes/ditauseconreftarget.html.

When you click Insert, a Properties table is inserted into your DITA Reference document at the current cursor position (within a refbody element).

Editing an Existing Table

You can edit the structure of an existing table using the table buttons on the toolbar (or in the contextual menu) to add or remove cells, rows, or columns, and to set basic table properties. Additional attributes can be used to fine-tune the formatting of your tables by using the Attributes view (Window > Show View > Attributes). See the DITA documentation for a full explanation of these attributes.

You can also use the Table Properties (Ctrl + T (Command + T on OS X)) action from the toolbar or contextual menu (or DITA menu) to modify many of the properties of the table.

Also, remember that underneath the visual representation, both table models are really just XML. If necessary, you can edit the XML directly by switching to Text mode.