Tables Are A Mess!

Ugh! The coding for the tables is an absolute mess. Instead of making it so that whole rows get lowered to the next page when entering a large amount of text into one of the columns inside a specific row, Scrivener makes that one column within the specific row with a lot of text inside fill an entire page by itself. After countless crashes, lost data and time, and the idea of abandoning tables altogether, this CONSTANT issue is going to force me to move all of my tables into an external program which annoys me almost as much as the above-mentioned issue, as I’d prefer to do everything inside Scrivener. Can someone please tell me how to fix this, because I have over 150 tables inside the file that I am currently working on and I don’t want to have to move them all into Evernote, as I will lose even more time on this issue.

Tables are a mess. I think that is because Scrivener relies on Apple code for this, and the Apple code has bugs. (Don’t quote me on that point).

I don’t have a solution for you other than to maintain the tables in another program, and then integrate those 150 documents by hand. But if you have to do this, you could try exporting the relevant parts of your Scrivener document as rtf and then editing them in Nisus Writer. They might come over better than copy/paste.

I haven’t ever tried putting large tables into a published document, but I suspect that there will be lots of hassles (like, do I make the table narrow or wide, do I repeat headers on every page, etc.) that would need to be faced even if Scrivener could maintain your tables for editing on the screen.

[I wouldn’t have answered this question if someone else had posted a better reply.]

Do you get these same problems when turning Page View off? There are known issues with the table rendering code, when tall cells encounter page breaks. These are unfortunately bugs in the underlying Mac text engine, and can be reproduced with nothing more than TextEdit; they look a bit like what you’re showing in this screenshot.

I will try turning off Page View and seeing how the tables behave, Thank you for the advice. Though I do have another question for you. When I turn off Page View, these annoying bullets show up in the view of folders. As I have to use Scrivener in conjunction with VoiceOver, it gets very annoying to hear the notifications for these many bullets (depending on how many child folders I have in a parent folder. Is there a way to get rid of these?

Likely you need to tweak your Appearance: Scrivenings settings. It sounds like you are using ‘Bookish’ theme, which adds bullets to the text. Other separator styles are probably not spoken aloud.

Ugh, the other options read as “unknown element”. Strange, as I’ve never heard of an “unknown element” inside Scrivener, as you guys did an excellent job with Scrivener 3’s VoiceOver accessibility.

Hmm, even the “Corners” option reads that way? It’s strange since the regular Edit ▸ Speech ▸ tool doesn’t actually read the separators aloud at all. It seems like Apple is using another approach, which I guess makes sense (difference between subtitles and closed caption). Here’s a question, if we can control it, it seems to me these are indeed meaningful entities to have stated in some manner. Would it not be appropriate to announce that one section of text has stopped and another has begun? To me it seems important information, and why we use a visual separator in the first place. Granted, it should if possible be something a little nicer than “unknown element”, but it strikes me that it might be more possible (and desirable) to have what is read aloud changed, as opposed to making the element effectively invisible.

As long as it tells me what something is, it’s usually not an issue. I just don’t like not knowing what something is. I have never heard “unknown element” before from VoiceOver while using Scrivener, and as I mentioned before, your development team has done a great job at making sure that that everything (until now) has been labeled and readable by VoiceOver.

What I am going to spend time doing today is, going over my VoiceOver settings and seeing if something inside how I’ve set things up for my specific usage is causing it to be read as an “unknown element”. If I find anything or if something changes, I will let you know.

Could you briefly explain how I should get to the point of hearing these? I selected the text editor frame (Control, Option, Command Down Arrow) so that it would read the entire contents, and it skips over the separators (using Dashed Line anyway).

Text editor frame? Are you using the Speech settings inside Scrivener or are you attempting to play with the actual VoiceOver feature inside the MacOS?

Okay while I am using Tab to move the cursor from element to element and that’s when it announces “unknown element”.

“this CONSTANT issue is going to force me to move all of my tables into an external program”

I’d like to see tables get a total overhaul, I tried them once and knew instantly it was not going to work for me.
I use Google Sheets as it allows me to access my tables whether on my phone, iPad or desktop while I’m using Scrivener in full screen composition mode on my Macbook Air.

That’s not really feasible, it’s a tool provided by the Mac development environment and cannot be overhauled or even slightly modified by developers. You should definitely lobby Apple to fix it and upgrade it though. It’s in roughly the same state it was 15 years ago when they added it—same goes for lists.

That said, I doubt that if you need an actual spreadsheet that you’re ever going to be happy with what a simple text editor’s table kit can provide. Tables in text editors are for laying out content in a grid, not organising vast amounts of data, performing calculations upon them and so forth.

Sorry to be a bother, but I really do not know how to use any of this myself. I need very precise instructions in a sequence of steps, in order to get to this point. When I press the Tab key in the text editor, it inserts a Tab character into the text flow. If I press Tab from some area outside of the editor, it cycles through interactive widgets in the interface, as I would expect it to with VoiceOver off (and full keyboard access enabled), until it lands in the editor, and then Tab acts upon the text normally.