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Old 09-17-2012, 12:37 PM   #1
Sara_J
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Question How and where to put tables in Kindle ebook?

Hiya!

I am new here and I am trying to publish my book on Kindle. I am using OpenOffice and will be transferring to HTML to then put to Kindle.

I have to put a few tables and I have read that tables don't do well in Kindle format, can anyone please confirm this? What would be the method to put tables into a Kindle ebook?

I am thinking of either making a screen capture and cutting the table to save as .jpeg to insert as a pic but I am unsure as to how this would work as it can look unprofessional. Moreover, where is the best place in the manuscript to put tables in Kindle, in the page that I am referring to the table or is it better to put it at the back in the index as a standalone page? For what is worth, I am using OpenOffice Calc (the Excel version of OpenOffice) to make the tables.

Thank you so much. This is my first Kindle ebook so I am trying to learn fast
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Old 09-17-2012, 05:56 PM   #2
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I gave up with tables in HTML conversions. I now use InDesign (5.5 or 6) as it handles the conversion of tables reliably. InDesign now handles eBook formatting quite well. If you don't have it, and only want to convert one or two books (and tweak the general layout while you are at it) you can download a trial version from Adobe. It is not a simple program to use, but Adobe supplies a lot of free, and quite in depth training material. Both PDF format and videos.
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Old 09-18-2012, 08:33 PM   #3
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I gave up with tables in HTML conversions. I now use InDesign (5.5 or 6) as it handles the conversion of tables reliably. InDesign now handles eBook formatting quite well. If you don't have it, and only want to convert one or two books (and tweak the general layout while you are at it) you can download a trial version from Adobe. It is not a simple program to use, but Adobe supplies a lot of free, and quite in depth training material. Both PDF format and videos.
Thank you, that was very kind of you

I read quickly about InDesign, isn't it a program to convert PDF to Kindle? I am writing the book in Open Office (.opf) and I read that to make the book a Kindle, I had to turn the .opf manuscript to HTML then to .mobi to succesfully make it a Kindle book. Have I read this wrong/am I incorrect?.

For the tables, am I right in thinking that putting an Excel/Open Office table in a Kindle book is very difficult, then? I have read horror stories about tables being messed up when doing the conversion to .mobi or even .html so I want to keep it as simple as possible.

Thanks again (to you and anyone else lending a hand!)
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Old 09-19-2012, 09:31 AM   #4
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You should take a look at Sigil (see the Sigil forum on MobileRead). You would write your manuscript in Open Office as you are today, then save it as an html file.
Bring that file into Sigil. If you know html getting the tables correct won't be too difficult.
You now have an EPUB formatted ebook. Run this through Kindle Previewer and you have the Kindle version. This way you can publish almost anywhere.
Tables on Kindle can be problematic. If the table is fairly simple, deal with it in the html. If the table is more complex, a screenshot usually works better. I have not had the chance to look at complex tables on the K3 after the latest update - it may handle them easier.
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Old 09-21-2012, 06:25 AM   #5
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Simple tables work absolutely fine in Mobi books, but avoid anything complex (eg nested tables). I've used tables successfully in a number of my books.
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Old 09-28-2012, 05:57 PM   #6
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Thank you for the help!! You are all so kind

I have never created tables in HTML and I was searching how to go about creating them, but I was finding information from 2010. Can anyone pinpoint me to any link/resources with updated content on how to make a table in HTML specific for a Kindle book?

The tables are very basic, just rows and columns type, no macros or anything.

Talking about tables, I am also trying to read about making the ToC, which I read that is best done as clickable. I am getting confused with this too so I'd appreciate if you can pinpoint me to a link that would outline everything so that I can study it and apply it.

I am currently finishing the writing of the manuscript, and all my time is invested in that for now. I have downloaded the PDF that Amazon has as a manual for the Kindle, but I still haven't come to reading it as I rather have the manuscript written, then worry about formatting.

Thank you again for any help! It is great to be able to chat with others who have done this before as, in all honesty, I feel quite alone doing this since no one that I know has a clue about writing a Kindle book.

Last edited by Sara_J; 09-28-2012 at 06:02 PM.
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Old 09-29-2012, 01:16 PM   #7
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There are a million and one tutorials on the web about how to create an HTML table; any one of them will do - a table is a table.
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Old 09-30-2012, 02:31 PM   #8
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Hi Sara

Sigil is fine for creating tables in ebooks. I've done loadsa em.

This simple(ish!) HTML code will give you a basic 3x3 table.

<tr> defines a row in the table.

<th> defines a column header (which will appear as bold in the ebook). The first row contains the column headings.

<td> defines a cell of data within the table.



<table>
<tr>
<th scope="col">Column Heading 1</th>

<th scope="col">Column Heading 2</th>

<th scope="col">Column Heading 3</th>
</tr>

<tr>
<td>Row 1 Cell 1</td>

<td>Row 1 Cell 2</td>

<td>Row 1 Cell 3</td>
</tr>

<tr>
<td>Row 2 Cell 1</td>

<td>Row 2 Cell 2</td>

<td>Row 2 Cell 3</td>
</tr>
</table>


You can also use CSS to modify the format of the table, but that's a little bit trickier and best studied with a clear tutorial online.
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Old 09-30-2012, 04:02 PM   #9
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What's the "scope=col" thing for? That's a new one on me!
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Old 09-30-2012, 04:36 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HarryT View Post
What's the "scope=col" thing for? That's a new one on me!
http://www.w3schools.com/tags/att_th_scope.asp

Quote:
Definition and Usage

The scope attribute specifies whether a header cell is a header for a column, row, or group of columns or rows. The scope attribute has no visual effect in ordinary web browsers, but can be used by screen readers.
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Old 09-30-2012, 10:24 PM   #11
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I learn something new everyday here!
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Old 10-04-2012, 03:24 PM   #12
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You should visit the kindle direct publishing site. I've found about tables

https://kdp.amazon.com/self-publishi...es_inside_HTML
https://kdp.amazon.com/self-publishi...JHRBEINX#table
and "For more information on table guidelines, see section 3.6 in the Kindle Publishing Guidelines".
I think that's the pdf you have downloaded.
In short: they don't guarantee a proper conversion of a table but apparently it is possible.

If you want to make screenshots of the tables and insert them as jpg, you should read
http://www.mobipocket.com/dev/articl...eFolder=prcgen
before. Which says don't do it.

I just converted an OO calc table to html. The layout was different in IE and Opera (font-size, cells) and wrong in Firefox (no bold letters). So, how will the table appear in an ebook? And then I looked at the source code. It is awful (the same as for OO writer). Create the table in html as recommended by cathalmc, not in another format with "Save as".

If it is not necessary to present the table within the text but possible to show it on an extra page in an appendix (with links forth and back), then do it. So you can avoid the risk of a break within the text. If it is a large table, divide it into some smaller ones. And make it simple!

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Old 10-05-2012, 04:46 AM   #13
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It's very possible to create tables for a Kindle! I made an ebook guide to London 2012 which had hundreds and hundreds of tables of data. With a bit of tinkering and formatting they looked fine on a Kindle.

Here are two of em:





Here's the HTML code behind the Usain Bolt 100 metres record table:

<table class="records-table">
<tr>
<th scope="col"><br /></th>

<th scope="col">Time</th>

<th scope="col">Record Holder</th>

<th scope="col">Year</th>
</tr>

<tr>
<td>WR</td>

<td>9.58</td>

<td><a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=By1JQFxfLMM">Usain Bolt (JAM)</a></td>

<td>2009</td>
</tr>

<tr>
<td>OR</td>

<td>9.69</td>

<td>Usain Bolt (JAM)<br /></td>

<td>2008</td>
</tr>
</table>


I've just noticed that errant <br /> tag after "Usain Bolt (JAM)" in the code. Sigil had a habit of putting them in occasionally. That one sneaked past my testing phase

Here's the CSS. I learned how to do this from this online tutorial.

.records-table
{
align:center;
border: 1px solid #333;
border-spacing: 0.1em;
padding: 0.1em;
margin-top: 0.1em;
margin-bottom: 0.1em;
font-size: 0.8em;
}

.records-table th, .records-table td { border: 1px dotted #666; padding: 0.2em;}

.records-table caption
{
caption-side: top;
font-size: 0.9em;
text-align: center;
}

Last edited by pdurrant; 10-06-2012 at 05:14 AM. Reason: fixed picture links
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Old 11-04-2012, 04:39 PM   #14
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Awesome guys. Work is keeping me very busy, and I only have the tables left to put in the book and that's it.

Thank you very much for the replies. Doing the tables like that looks like a good option, but what if I simply do the tables in OpenOffice's Calc (equivalent of MS Excel) and then take a screenshot, edit them (cut them) and save them as .jpeg? I'm tempted to do this because with work, I have very little time to dedicate to finishing the book, and I literally have the tables on OF's Calc, it's as simple as removing copy/paste. I've tried to do 2 of the tables like this, and it doesn't look that bad although I don't know how it'd end up looking in a Kindle tablet.

Would doing this other option of screenshot/edit/paste look too unprofessional? Would it end up taking too much space?

Thank you!
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Old 11-05-2012, 03:02 AM   #15
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Using an image of some kind is the only way to be certain that your table is consisent across all devices and apps, There are quite a lot of them now, on top of which there will be plenty of people who have missed an upgrade somewhere. Even if you are testing using the Previewer supplied by Amazon, you'll find that it handles tables more successfully than the Kindle 3.

As for how professional it looks - that will depend entirely on the quality of the screenshot. Personally, I would put it at the end of the book with hyperlinks to and back. The way the text breaks around an image is entirely unpredictable - it may change if the reader changes the size of the text.

My impression is that readers don't pay much attention to file size any more, though they may have done a couple of years ago.

The fact that you are asking this question suggests to me that you may need to think through your assumptions about ebooks. They are supposed to be universal, as indeed is html. Don't get bogged down in the detail of what you want the reader to see - you can only control the layout in the broadest possible way.
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