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Tutorial for Text Tables 005 – Decimal Point

Using Decimal-Aligned Tables

This series is a bit different than most series on PowerFrameworks. Instead of providing a large variety of downloadable text table variations to accept data, the downloads are:

  • 1 text table with decimal points set in columns (v01)
  • 1 text table with decimal points set in rows (v02).

With these two starting points, you will be able to build the chart variations that you need. The two variations employ PowerFrameworks best-practice formatting for alignments, use of positive and negative numbers, and unit symbol placement and formatting. It's fair to say that this series is a blend between downloads, tutorials, and best practices – all in one!

These text tables have also been formatted to complement the other text table series available on PowerFrameworks. You can use the design scheme and replace the colors with your own template's colors.

Customizing your text table

Importing preformatted text tables into your template

Whenever outside content that includes text (these preformatted tables, for example) is brought into your template, skewing is likely to occur. This happens because the two templates have different default text attributes. There is one step that you can take to position yourself so that this skewing is minimized – not only with PowerFrameworks tables, but with all text content brought in from an outside source.

This step is setting the text hierarchy in your slide master so that it works for you and not against you. If your slide master is formatted that the top level of text has a bullet, then all text you bring in from an outside source will have bullets. You don't want this, as it creates the need for a lot of unnecessary reformatting. Not only do you need to get rid of the bullet on imported text, but you need to get rid of the associated indent. You need to rethink the text hierarchy on your slide master. Your PowerFrameworks team strongly recommends that the first level of text hierarchy in a slide master should be nonbulleted, left-aligned text (no indent). The highest level of text on a slide is not bulleted text, it is the heading over/sentence leading into the bulleted text. Please review the best practice entitled, Establishing the Text Hierarchy in Your PowerPoint Slide Master."

Now that you don't have to deal with bullets on everything you import into your template, you can breeze through the rest of the reformatting caused by the other differences in text defaults, which centers around font size and color and font choice. Imported text will default to your settings either in the slide master or the text size you've set for that page. That means, for example, that a table containing 10-point text, once imported, becomes a table containing 22-point text, which seems to distort and scares you near to death.

  • The first step in regaining control is to highlight the whole table and apply a reasonable font size. The table should pop back into its original dimensions.
  • The next step is to apply the correct font and font color. PowerFrameworks text tables are formatted with the Ariel font and the color is black. Choose whatever works best in your presentation.

At this point you can start loading the template with your own content.

Adjust size

When you get the table content set, rebalance the table to eliminate any large gaps between columns, etc. This is a great tip, incidentally. Don't fine tune or balance your table until you get all of your content in. Then you only have to do it once. The tables in this series should not need any rebalancing, unless you want to reduce the width of the first column.

The text tables in this series are set up so that you should not have to do any sizing. But if you find that you want to enlarge/reduce the table, just do so as you would with any other table in PowerPoint. You can stretch the whole table from any handle on the outside of the table, or you can adjust column height or width by selecting the handles within the table.

Color variations

Use the tables in this series as is or recolor to match your template. Use the line and fill colors in the tables as a guide to adding your own color scheme.

Decimal tabs as they apply to columns and rows

PowerFrameworks prescribes to the practice of left-aligning the contents of tables. When numbers are used, however, this left-alignment guideline must be blended with decimal alignments. This gets tricky. The result, if you apply both, is very professional looking. Resist the urge to simply click the "right align text" button. This type of formatting usually leaves a lot of empty space on the left side of the numbers and makes for a very sloppy presentation.

Here are your guidelines:

  1. Numbers in columns should be decimal aligned, and the largest number in the column should be left aligned in the column so that it is perfectly aligned with the left-aligned column heading. See V01 above for an example.
  2. Numbers in rows should be left aligned, regardless of how many units are present in the columns. Don't decimal align numbers in columns if they are different units. See V02 above for an example.

V01 presents columns of numbers and v02 presents rows of numbers. Each are preformatted with decimal tabs. You may very likely need to adjust the placement of these tabs so your numbers lay out properly. There is a best practice for using left-aligned and decimal-aligned (together!) formatting in number tables. Click here to review the best practice entitled, "Creating columns of decimal-aligned numbers."

2007 options

There aren't additional options for formatting tables in PowerPoint 2007.

3D variations

No 3D on these please.


No shadows on these please.

Gradients, patterns, and pictures

No gradients on these please.


Animate as reveals as you would in any text table.

Series that relate to this tutorial:

TT005 – Text Table 005 – Numbers and Decimal Tabs

Possible use example

Links to instructions for getting the framework into your presentation

  1. Determine the best file type for your needs
  2. Download the file
  3. Import the framework into your presentation
    1. Importing a PPT file
    2. Importing a EMF or PNG
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