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Thread: Printing Tables

  1. #1
    SitePoint Addict revlimiter's Avatar
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    Question Printing Tables

    I am noticing some really weird print layout issues with Firefox and Internet Explorer 8 when printing documents. With long tables (more than 1 page) the top 2 rows of page 2 get cut off.

    I have tried removing margins in print.css, adjusting the margins in Print Preview and going so far as to remove the table completely and just use divs.

    It still seems to be an issue and I don't know why the content is still getting cut off?
    Also... Internet Explorer seems to print off all of the content, and Firefox only seems to print content to page 2.

    Any ideas?
    Thanks,
    "To make an apple pie from scratch,
    you must first create the universe.
    -Carl Sagan

  2. #2
    Mouse catcher silver trophy Stevie D's Avatar
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    Although tables can in theory be printed and can have all sorts of weird and wonderful print CSS applied to them, the reality is that most browsers make a complete hash of translating large tables into paper and ink - Opera is usually the one that behaves itself best, but IE and Firefox can be quite creative in what they do wrong.

    That said, even though I regularly use large data tables, I have never had one that went on for more than 2 pages. That suggests you're using layout tables, in which case, quite honestly you had it coming to you Join the 21st century, throw away your layout tables and you'll find printing becomes a whole lot more fun.

    Do you get the problems showing when you do a print preview on the screen, or is it only when you print it onto paper? Can you give us a link to an example page of where you're having these problems?

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    SitePoint Wizard Stomme poes's Avatar
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    Wow, Stevie, you've never seen large data tables? : ) Heh, come see our insurance bonus/malus tables : )

    Firefox, simple, sucks donkey butts trying to print anything that's not plain text. Really. It can't print forms, and it can't print tables. It's likely starting your tables after the second page because it can't see a place to break it, so moves on to the next page. Just like it does with fieldsets. Firefox ALWAYS starts a fieldset with more than a question in it on the second page. We have a fieldset with just 5 questions on it... starts on the second page. Paper waster.

    ALL THIS FANCY CSS TRANSITIONS AND HTML5 BUT CAN IT PRINT??? WILL IT BLEND?? No, Firefox won't blend, and hasn't since... like, Mozilla. Heck the float-print bug is from Netscape 6 or something.
    Here is the bug and a possible solution might be, if there's text before the table (headers, captions...) try display: none to see if that at least stops the cutting off of the first two rows. Try to make sure overflow: visible is stated in the print stylesheet.

    Join the 21st century, throw away your layout tables and you'll find printing becomes a whole lot more fun.
    Nah, backwards browsers are backwards no matter how futuristic your code.

    I never found a solution to the problem with fieldsets (other than warning people on the site that if they have firefox, they don't want to use that browser to print... and they get suggested to use the PDF format we have instead).

    You may also want to consider offering the tables in PDF if that's possible. This was our solution. :(

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    SitePoint Addict EarlyOut's Avatar
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    And what is this "printing" thing of which you speak?

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    SitePoint Wizard Stomme poes's Avatar
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    It's this thing some people do when, for example, they need to present paper copies of things, like
    - E-tickets and bookings
    - Insurance tables
    - Instructions (you're building a door, and not in the room with the computer)
    - Forms you want to send by mail (yes, there are people who do not trust the interwebs with their credit card numbers or want to send checks)
    - web articles for later reading where you don't have access to electricity/laptops whatever (airplane takeoffs / landings??)
    - presentations and printouts to other people

    The usual. Archaic printing not so archaic

  6. #6
    SitePoint Addict EarlyOut's Avatar
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    Geez, even with a "wink" smiley, some people fail to detect "facetious." What do I have to do, write "I'M SORT OF KIDDING, SO DON'T GET CARRIED AWAY" in all-caps?

    But I've found that I don't turn on my little B&W laser printer for months at a time, and I know a number of people who don't own printers at all, or would have to dig it out of a closet somewhere if called upon to use it.

  7. #7
    SitePoint Wizard Stomme poes's Avatar
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    While I figured it was a joke, I thought it was also half-serious: do people actually still print stuff these days?? I've found several articles where people asked this seriously in comments. So why not.

    But <irony> tags help : )

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    Mouse catcher silver trophy Stevie D's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stomme poes View Post
    While I figured it was a joke, I thought it was also half-serious: do people actually still print stuff these days?? I've found several articles where people asked this seriously in comments. So why not.
    Yes, some people do print a lot of stuff. My boss hates reading anything on screen, so everything has to be printed off. Her PA prints off pretty much every email she receives, no matter how trivial. Few people here have laptops and most meeting rooms lack any kind of projection facility so any papers needed for meetings have to be printed off.

    It's depressing that that's where we are in 2011, but an awful lot of office life is pretty depressing

  9. #9
    SitePoint Wizard Stomme poes's Avatar
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    It's depressing that that's where we are in 2011
    I find printing kinda reassuring. Like, link could die, get archived behind a paywall, whatever... doesn't matter, you've got teh dead tree version.

    Plus reading on a screen still gives me a headache unless it's light text on black bg (like in a terminal... I can stare at a terminal for a long time)

  10. #10
    Robert Wellock silver trophybronze trophy xhtmlcoder's Avatar
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    Poes, that's probably because you have cat's-eyes and not actually human so enjoy the green glow from TTY. ;-)

    In many cases it depends upon who is paying for the actual printing costs regarding peoples attitudes to generally how much they print.

    Though I know of a lot of web-users who don't seem to know how to print (page ranges) or what print preview means.


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