How do I get my table rows to stay clumped in fives?
March 12, 2007 11:49 AM   Subscribe

How do I get a the rows in a table to stay clumped in fives even if I add or change the data?I have a long list of data that I need to arrange in a table, and I want the rows grouped together in fives. I'm currently working in Microsoft Word, and what I've got looks something like this Google Doc. I want the table(s) to stay grouped like this even if I add, delete, or change the data. If I just use the Word tables, adding a new line to a group will just create an extra row.

I recorded a macro in Word, which allowed me to simplify the process somewhat, but I need something easier.

I also tried linking the Word document with an Excel file that contains the raw data. This works, but I think it would require me to copy and paste each individual cell from Excel in order to get the formatting I need, and I have a lot that I need to do.

Are there any easier ways to do this? I don't need to use Word. I can use any Microsoft Office program, including Access, if it would simplify things. I can do as much work as I need to up front, but the editing process needs to be as simple as possible, because the people in my office who will be using this have only the most basic computer skills.

Thanks so much for the help!
posted by bokinney to Computers & Internet (7 answers total)
Here's a napkin-doodle algorithm:
Start at the top of the table.

Go down five rows.
Insert a new row, formatted for no borders, etc. If possible, mark it as a spacer somehow.
Repeat until there are no more sets of five rows.
posted by boo_radley at 12:20 PM on March 12, 2007

I don't know exactly what other data you need to enter in your table, but I'm pretty sure the easiest way to do this might be in a report in Access.
posted by hazyspring at 12:24 PM on March 12, 2007

One truly amazingly ugly and terribly fragile hack that might get the job done in Word is to set up a bunch of text boxes, set to flow from one to the next, and put something that looks like a table behind each one as a background image. This should allow you to enter data right into your "table" and have it all shuffle around as expected while you do that, but it will break badly as soon as you enter more data than you've created text boxes to hold.

Another way might be to set the page size ridiculously small, so that five lines' worth of table is all that will fit on a page, then tell Word that the table is allowed to break across page boundaries.

But if you're actually planning to do anything with the data you're entering, you're far better off hacking up a table, a data entry form, a report, and a quickie front-end menu form in Access.
posted by flabdablet at 3:19 PM on March 12, 2007

Response by poster: Thanks for the advice. This may be a stupid question, but I've tried doing the same thing in Access without much more luck. I tried adding an auto-number field and then grouping the report in fives using that field, but the auto-numbers don't change if you add or delete rows (I need to be able to add new rows in the middle, not just at the end.) Any advice for dealing with this?

The data I'm dealing with is very simple: just a list of names and id numbers.

Thanks again!
posted by bokinney at 4:55 PM on March 12, 2007

flabdaaaaablet: We're not worthy!! (crouches in the corner with wide eyes)
posted by longsleeves at 10:36 PM on March 12, 2007

Best answer: It's just occurred to me that if it's acceptable to enter data into a plain table with no particular formatting, and you only want this clumped-in-fives table formatting for printing, then the simplest M$ Office way is probably to put the raw data in an Excel spreadsheet, and set up a Word mailmerge document that uses the spreadsheet as a data source. Post back if you're not familiar enough with mailmerge to make that work, and I'll find a Winbox to crank up Word on and make you a sample doc you can modify.
posted by flabdablet at 5:00 AM on March 13, 2007

How about just make every fifth row larger?
posted by pompomtom at 6:51 PM on May 6, 2007

« Older Peace Corps Azerbaijan   |   One Shouldn't Forget The Name of a Tyrant Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.