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Fonts in Tables

Of special interest to webmasters who do a lot of tables is the application of styles to tables. If you've ever attempted to use the <FONT ...> tag in conjunction with tables you know how painful it can be. You have to put a complete <FONT ...> tag inside every table cell, resulting in mountains of difficult-to-edit code. Perhaps you've written painful code like this:

<TR> <TH><FONT COLOR=WHITE FACE="Geneva, Arial" SIZE=6>fruit</FONT></TH> <TH><FONT COLOR=WHITE FACE="Geneva, Arial" SIZE=6>state</FONT></TH> </TR>
<TR> <TD><FONT COLOR=WHITE FACE="Geneva, Arial" SIZE=6>apples</FONT></TD> <TD><FONT COLOR=WHITE FACE="Geneva, Arial" SIZE=6>Washington</FONT></TD> </TR>
<TR> <TD><FONT COLOR=WHITE FACE="Geneva, Arial" SIZE=6>pineapples</FONT></TD> <TD><FONT COLOR=WHITE FACE="Geneva, Arial" SIZE=6>Hawaii</FONT></TD> </TR>

If you're in this situation, styles will make your life simpler.

Let's look at an example. The following styles code (in a STYLE tag or in a style sheet file) creates a rule that applies to elements of the boldtable class, and also to <TD ...> and <TH ...> elements inside the boldtable class:

.boldtable, .boldtable TD, .boldtable TH

We can apply this style to an entire table by simply setting the class of the table to boldtable:

<TABLE BORDER CLASS="boldtable">
<TR> <TH>fruit</TH> <TH>state</TH> </TR>
<TR> <TD>apples</TD> <TD>Washington</TD> </TR>
<TR> <TD>pineapples</TD> <TD>Hawaii</TD> </TR>

which gives us this table:

fruit state
apples Washington
pineapples Hawaii

The keen observer will notice that there's some redundancy in the selector. After all, if we set the entire table to the boldtable class, then it should automatically apply to the <TD ...> and <TH ...> elements inside. That's how it should work, but that's where reality rears its ugly head. Netscape has a bug such that it doesn't understand that the contents of table cells get the font styles applied to the table as a whole. However, it is able to apply the styles if <TD ...> and <TH ...> are mentioned explicitly.

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