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10.7. Tables

Perhaps as a result of a generic need to be able to describe table layout -- something CSS1 lacks -- CSS2 includes a handful of features that apply directly to tables and table cells. First, there are 10 new table-related values for display:


While the effects of most of these are obvious from their names, at least two may not be familiar to you. table-header-group and table-footer-group are used to mark the header and footer of a table. These are displayed, respectively, above or below all the rows of the table, but not outside of the table's caption.

Another interesting effect is that you can align text on a character by using the text-align property. For example, if you wanted to line up a column of figures on a decimal point, you might declare:

Again, all of this is only true for the top and bottom sides of inline elements; the left and right sides are a different story. We'll start by considering the simple case of a small inline element within a single line, as depicted in Figure 7-52.

Figure 7-52

Figure 7-52. An inline element

Here, if we set values for the left or right border, not only will they be visible, but they'll displace the text around them, as we see in Figure 7-53:

With borders, just as with margins, the browser's calculations

TD { text-align: "." }

As long as a set of cells are grouped into a column, their content will be aligned so that the periods all line up along a vertical axis.

Far from relying on existing properties, CSS2 provides a whole array of brand-new properties in the table section. Here are a few of them:

There are also properties describing how visibility and vertical-align are applied to tables. There is also a caption-side property, which functions exactly the same as the ALIGN attribute on the <CAPTION> tag, and the property speak-header-cell, which controls how header cells are handled by speech-generating browsers (more on that later).

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Here'sa similar trick that helps work around a bug in most versions ofNavigator 4. In situations where font-weight:normal has been set on an element, this value willbe inherited by all the descendants of the element. That's asit should be, of course, but Navigator takes it one step too far.Given the following:

<P STYLE="font-weight: normal;">This is a paragraph which contains a<B>boldface element</B>, but Navigator 4 won't make the text bold.</P>