Creating a template table in Web Manuals


One of the main challenges with document import from Word is the matter of advanced/complex tables. 

One solution is to create a revised form of that type of table and use it as a template. It may be slightly tricky to adjust these tables as it does require some time and effort to create a good template to use for revising multiple complex tables of the same kind. Extensive experience with Word and Web Manuals will help the importer to understand and get a better result eventually. Below you will find an example describing common Minimum Equipment Lists (MEL):

  1. Leave the table unchanged in the Word document and just import them as they are. The purpose of this is just to get the correct number of pages when importing the document.
  2. After the import, delete the sections with imported tables, but keep the pages.
  3. Then create a template of the table in MS Word, based on the original table.
  • Firstly, show every border of the table (the current editor for tables cannot hide specific borders of cells).
  • Secondly, right-click on the table in Word and select width to 100%. Then copy the table into the page in the Web Manuals application, the width will automatically be correct.
  • After creating the template, select the whole table and copy it (Ctrl+C) from Word and then paste it (Ctrl+V) into the text editor on the manual page. Check that it looks good and tweak some minor things if needed.
     

Another benefit of having a template is that it’s possible to re-use the template for other complex tables in Word. Additionally, the user can use the template for all complex tables by copying and pasting the information for each table into the template and then copying the table into the manual page.

Look at the example below; compare the original to the template, to see what a template can look like:

The left picture is the original and the right picture is the table of that very same table.

Built-in MEL tables in Web Manuals

Instead of creating the MELs yourself (which can be a tedious task), you can use the template MELs that are built-in for Web Manuals. At the time of writing, there are about 100 pieces of MELs in different categories to choose from.

To add a MEL do the following:

  1. Click the icon Add MEL in the menu.
  1. Choose MEL Style (Portrait, Portrait Compact, Landscape or Landscape Compact).
  2. Type in the number of rows the table should display.
  3. Choose an ATA Chapter.
  4. Click on OK to add the MEL to the page.
  5. Fill in the data in the fields and Save the page. 

Adding a MEL from the text section menu.

Convert Multi-column Lists into tables

There are some situations when importing text lists that do not work very well, one such example is the advanced multi-column lists.

One solution to this is to convert multi-column lists into tables before importing. There are functionalities in MS Word that are helpful to the user with that specific conversion, called Insert table, usually found under the Insert tab.

To use this table conversion, do the following:

  1. Select the area of the list.
  2. Click the Insert table function.
  3. Adjust table borders to get the desired look.
  4. Import the document, and be ready for some post-editing as well.

If this is done properly, then it will save time, but if it’s too complicated or the list-to-table conversion is not working properly, then look at the second solution down below. It is possible to hide borders inside Web Manuals.

Manually create Multi-column Lists with tables

Another solution is to manually create the table with our easy-to-use table tools in the text section module. 

Regardless of which solution you choose to use, please leave the table just as it is since it will create a page for it anyway, which has to be done regardless and it is easy to delete the content afterwards if you choose to start over.

This list is an example of what type of list that would benefit from making into a table before importing.

The table above should most likely become a six-column table. Since it can be tricky to convert this type of list into tables, it would be beneficial if the editor was quite Word-savvy.

 

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