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Sorting in Tables question

by TONI H / July 14, 2005 12:28 AM PDT

I want to make a table with five columns that will eventually have many rows with lists of movies that I have for inventory purposes....

However, if I type the movie names across the row, I can't seem to be able to sort them alphabetically as the sort command for Word only gives me the option to sort by column.

If I list the movies by column, I'll have five columns eventually that don't end up starting at the top of column 2 through 5 with the same alpha order that ended in column 1 as I add more movies to the list later.

If I could type new movie titles at the end of the whole table, then sort them alphabetically again, it doesn't want to toss the new titles into the correct spots across the rows in the table and instead only wants to sort again by column. Example below of what I'm trying to say:

ATitle BTitle CTitle DTitle ETitle

Then add

AATitle DDTitle

So it ends up as:
ATitle AATitle BTitle CTitle Dtitle

with DDTitle now bouncing to being under ATitle in the first column and ETitle going under the second column.

However, this is not what I'm ending up with when I try to sort as it wants to only alphabetize by column instead of row and title.

Am I dreaming in trying to get this the way I want? Or is there a way to accomplish this that I'm just not comprehending in the help files?


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Toni - why not do it in an Excel table...
by Dick White / July 14, 2005 12:58 AM PDT

and skip the headaches of tables and sorting in Word.


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Cuz I'm a duh....and
by TONI H / July 14, 2005 1:22 AM PDT

forgot I even HAVE Excel installed.......I hardly ever use it since I'm a 'home computer' user and have a tendency to try to use Word for darn near everything. I knew you guys would come up with what I need.......thanks, ****.


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Make all entries in one column
by caster / July 14, 2005 1:32 AM PDT

Each column in a table is like a field in a data base. Think of col 1 as ''Title''. Col 2 could be ''Director'', col 3 could be ''Release Date'', etc. Note that each column is a different field.

So, you can only put titles in col 1. If you put them in col 2, the computer thinks they are Directors. Like data bases, tables in Word can only be sorted by fields (columns).

Excel works the same way.

Hope this helps.

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That will make a printed page
by TONI H / July 14, 2005 1:45 AM PDT

huge and waste alot of paper. I was hoping for a complete spread across the page and still have it be sortable correctly by rows and not columns. If Excel works the same way because both Excel and Word are written by the same author (MS), do you know of any other data spreadsheet program that can do what I want?


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I'm trying to imagine...
by Dick White / July 14, 2005 1:54 AM PDT

what your overall data structure looks like. What governs your choice of what should be in any particular column or row? How much information about any particular movie are you keeping track of?


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The data won't be anything
by TONI H / July 14, 2005 2:30 AM PDT

other than the titles of the movies since I have over 2500. I want to be able to make up the whole list, sorted alphabetically, so I can then email it to Derek on the ship since he's leaving for Iraq on Saturday. This way he can tell me which movies he wants me to mail to him because he was able to take his tv and dvd player. I can then keep a check mark list here to let me keep track of what I've already sent to him and not repeat with the next shipment. They'll be easier to track if the list was alphabetical, but I don't want to just have one column to print or email to him as it would be huge...but if I could span the columns to be five colums across and get it to sort across rather than down, I could keep updating the list as I type them in by just re-sorting it.


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by Dick White / July 14, 2005 3:23 AM PDT

You are creating a tough job (given the way software works) that can only be simplified by accepting a new mindset on sorting. In reading sentences (and in word processing to create such sentences), we think left to right for the whole line and then start a new line. Anything that gets inserted in the middle pushes the end further along the line and maybe dropped to the next line if enough new material is inserted. If there is no more space at the bottom of the page for another line, we turn the page. Columns are just little pages. You go along inside the column from left to right, then down a line inside the same column, and at the bottom of the column, you come up to the top of the next column. It is only when you run out of columns that you turn the page. In order to do what you are thinking, you'd have to be thinking in terms of being able to alphabetize all the words within a sentence or paragraph - which nobody has ever considered because it would instantly render such sentences into gibberish.

Sortable databases don't go down the page and then back to the top for a continuation of the list. It is just too difficult to program a look-ahead to see how many lines are left in the column before instructing the report generator to go back to the top of the page to start a new column, or if in the last column, start a new page. Thus, a sortable list that has only one (or two, for the checkmarks) fields, yes, you'll waste paper as the list will occupy the single column with all the blank space on the right half of the paper.

So... what to do, what to do, said Pooh to Piglet as they walked through the Hundred Acre Woods...

It will require some manual intervention in Excel, but here's how I would do it. Make your list in a single column. Add to it as time allows. As needed, sort the column. Now that you have a sorted column, think about page layout. Go to File/Print Area and set a print range that is only as tall as one page, but let the range go sideways for quite a ways. It will seem odd to have a print range with a huge blank space to the right and the actual data spilling down below the establish boundary as if falling through a hole in the bottom left corner, but trust me, go with it for now and save the file.

After the file has been saved, start cutting and pasting (or block and drag with the mouse) to manually create the additional columns. Let say you have 500 movie titles listed from A1 to A500. You want to print 50 titles per column and 5 columns wide will fit on a page. That means when you are done, there will be 500 titles @ 50 per column is 10 columns @ 5 per page is 2 pages. To get there, cut (or block) titles 51 through 500 (currently in A51 through A500) and then paste back to (or drag up to) cell C1 (I'd leave a narrow blank column between data columns to keep things separated, but that's just because I do it that way...) Now cut and paste titles 101 through 500 (by now, in cells C51 through C400) up to E1. And so on, constructing a new column of text with whatever is left hanging out the bottom of the 50-row print range, until the last column doesn't have anything more hanging out the bottom.

Now print it. Because you set the print range to a size that is only one page high, the range will create page breaks going across the range. Thus new pages will be started at columns 6, 11, 16, etc. When you have printed it, DO NOT SAVE it. Otherwise you'd have to push all the columns back to the single column when you start adding more titles and want to resort the list. The file that you previously saved has all the same titles, but was left in the single column.

This method will require you to rebuild the print columns each time you extend the database, but at least you'll be able to sort the list everytime you add new titles to the bottom.

But whoa, ... as I sit here building this spreadsheet in my head, you might take the general structural concept into a two-sheet workbook if you feel up to it. On the first sheet, just make your list going down forever. Alphabetize it and leave it in a single column list. Now on the second sheet, build a single column of all formulas of an absolute reference to the corresonding cell in the first sheet. Thus typing something into the list on the first sheet will cause the same title to appear on the second sheet. After you have completed the second sheet's full column of absolute references, construct the additional columns by pulling the rest of the column up, as before. Now, cells C1 through C50 on the second sheet will have absolute references to cells $A$51 through $A$100 of the first sheet, and cells E1 through E50 on the second sheet will have absolute references to cells $A$101 through $A150, etc. Set your print range on the second sheet and it will print in columnar format whatever it is drawing from the absolute references to the data in the single column of the first sheet.

Does it make sense? If not, email me through the link on the profile (or you have it already from previous correspondence, hasn't changed in all these years) and I'll shoot you back a structured worksheet to just fill in the first page column.


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I've printed out what you gave
by TONI H / July 14, 2005 3:46 AM PDT
In reply to: ah....

and will try messing with this a little to see the kinds of results I get. If not will definitely be hearing from me. LOL Thank you, ****.


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Why Print It?
by caster / July 14, 2005 3:15 AM PDT

Even with 5 columns, that's a lot of paper.

Here's what I'd do:

Set up the table with 2 columns and 2500 rows. (You can always add more rows or delete empty ones later.)

Use column 1 for the ''title'' and column 2 for ''sent''. Put the titles all in column 1 and an ''x'' in column 2 if the title has been sent. (Leave column 2 empty if you haven't sent that title.)

Now sort on column 2 first and then column 1. (Be sure to set whether you have a header row or not in the sort dialog box.) This will put all the titles sent at the bottom of the table (in alpha order) and all the unsent titles at the top of the table (also in alpha order).

Hope this helps.

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That might be 'do-able'
by TONI H / July 14, 2005 3:34 AM PDT
In reply to: Why Print It?

the only other thing I wanted a printed copy for would so he could show it to others on the ship and they could also request what they wanted to see sent to Derek without having to view his laptop...but perhaps I could print out my copy at my end only and send it with the first shipment of movies. Then maybe he can tack it up near the doorway of the deck or bunker area that others could check off for requests. The guys would be coming to Derek's bunk area to view movies and play video games since he has the storage space due to his rank to have been able to bring a tv, dvdplayer, and xbox.


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In Word you can make columns like
by caster / July 14, 2005 4:21 AM PDT

in a newspaper. After you've set up your table, chose Edit>Select All. Then select Format>Columns, set the number of columns you want, then OK.

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(NT) (NT) Would printing it on banner paper solve any aspect???
by Ray Harinec / July 15, 2005 12:01 AM PDT
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Why not use ACCESS, a Database
by Ray Harinec / July 15, 2005 12:05 AM PDT

You can make reports/querys sorted and subsorted any possible way. Also Outlook has some really nice features that make a really sortable databases. You can define numerous categories and print out any combination of the entries.

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