The Numbers game of column width

Posted by: deniro

The Numbers game of column width - 11/15/18 04:20 AM

When I try to resize the width of columns in Numbers, they snap to some automatic setting I'm unaware of. Either too far apart or too close together.

When I move column to the right, it will automatically shoot over too far, leaving too much space and taking other columns with it off the screen.

When I drag a column left, the opposite happens. All the columns will move, not just one, and they will scrunch up against each other.

So it's all or nothing. Never stopping where I adjust the column.

Why is it so hard to move columns manually the width I want? Why do all the columns move after I've tried to drag only one of them?
Posted by: artie505

Re: The Numbers game of column width - 11/15/18 08:55 AM

I experience the same "movement" problem in iTunes, but its columns hold the widths to which I set them.

Have you looked for a Numbers pref that addresses column widths?

At the root of the problem is the fact that column widths are limited by the width of your window, and if it's maxed out already, enlarging a column will, necessarily, push another one out of it, i.e. result in a scroll bar.

And conversely, making a column smaller must either pull one that's in the scroll bar area into your window or make your total window smaller.

Working with that is unintuitive, but every time I run into the problem in iTunes I give it some thought and invariably come up short.

The first thing to do is make your windows as wide as you're comfortable with (even if you wind up with some blank space), which will give you more maneuvering room within them.

And the closest to a real answer that I've found is to pay attention to the arrows that appear at the top of a column separator when it's clicked on. They indicate right, left, or both, and infuriating trial and error has taught me how to interpret them into possibilities (which, of course, would be thoroughly useless if my new widths didn't stick).

If there's no column width pref in Numbers, I'd report it as a bug, bearing in mind that it may have been corrected in a later version than you're running.
Posted by: joemikeb

Re: The Numbers game of column width - 11/15/18 09:49 AM

Using the latest version of Numbers if I drag the column width using the column A, B, C,… designator above the data columns I have an infinite range of sizes and they hold consistently. Alternatively in the Formatting column on the right side of the window, select Table and you can specify row and column size in hundredths of an inch or Fit to data size — but you must have the columns or rows selected before the size and height settings will appear.
Posted by: deniro

Re: The Numbers game of column width - 11/15/18 04:45 PM

As you know, there aren't many options in the Numbers prefs.

Other columns shouldn't be moving at all when I widen or narrow one column. Only one column should move. This happens regardless of how much screen space there is. I have plenty. It's such a dumb problem. Appleworks never had this problem. That was a long time ago.
Posted by: artie505

Re: The Numbers game of column width - 11/15/18 05:34 PM

I don't know about Numbers at all; even with my minimal needs, I looked at it for 5 or 10 minutes and paid to upgrade Excel.

You're right about one column at a time (What about joemike's offering?), but the stupid behavior is endemic in Apple and Apple compatible apps...Numbers, iTunes, Cookie...others too, I'm sure.
Posted by: joemikeb

Re: The Numbers game of column width - 11/16/18 07:10 AM

Originally Posted By: deniro
As you know, there aren't many options in the Numbers prefs.

Other columns shouldn't be moving at all when I widen or narrow one column. Only one column should move. This happens regardless of how much screen space there is. I have plenty. It's such a dumb problem. Appleworks never had this problem. That was a long time ago.

If I select one column by clicking on the column letter at the top of the page I can either drag the column to the width I desire or specify the individual column width under Row & Column size under Table ONLY THE WIDTH OF THAT ONE COLUMN CHANGES.

If no column is selected and I set a column width under Row & Column size under Table THE WIDTH OF ALL COLUMNS CHANGE.

The same is true of row height as well.
Posted by: Ira L

Re: The Numbers game of column width - 11/16/18 09:17 AM

I second joemikeb's comments; I do not experience the abnormal behavior seen by deniro. There is something else going on with his setup.

One thought: in Numbers, there is a column/row setting called "Fit". If this is selected, the columns or rows will change to fit into the original size. This could cause changes in more than one column or row.
Posted by: deniro

Re: The Numbers game of column width - 11/28/18 11:35 AM

Maybe something like that. This is Number '09 version 2.3

Say I import a csv. Under the Table menu: Resize Rows to Fit Content, and Resize Columns to Fit Content.

Maybe after using that once something gets locked, so that when you expand or contract the width of a column in just the right way, it snaps back really narrow so the text is squashed, or it shoots off the right part of the screen to accommodate the widest text. Regardless, it happens on its own. I ought to be able to change the width of a column to whatever place I want without program taking over. I mean...helping.
Posted by: Ira L

Re: The Numbers game of column width - 11/29/18 08:37 AM

I am using the current version of Numbers, but maybe in your version once you select "…Fit to Content" you may have to select it again to deselect it. This is often the case with menu items. Select them, the item shows a check mark next to it, select it again and the check mark goes away (deselected).
Posted by: joemikeb

Re: The Numbers game of column width - 11/29/18 10:22 AM

Originally Posted By: deniro
Maybe something like that. This is Number '09 version 2.3

Part of the issue may be you are using Numbers '09 version 2.3. I am using Numbers 5.3 (the year of release was long ago dropped from the name) and I suspect when Ira says, "I am using the current version of Numbers" he is using the same version I am. Numbers '09 is at least 8 or 9 years old and there have been a lot of changes, improvements and fixes over the years.

My suggestion would be to log onto iCloud and use Cloud Numbers (essentially an on line duplicate of the current Numbers app on MacOS and iOS) and see if that does not solve your problem. IIRC you are on dialup, so that may not be an ideal solution, but at least it would tell you if the problem was in your data file or a limitation in Numbers '09.
Posted by: deniro

Re: The Numbers game of column width - 12/01/18 08:29 AM

I've never used iCloud or any cloud, and I'm not about to start. Is there another version of Numbers I can get?
Posted by: artie505

Re: The Numbers game of column width - 12/01/18 08:33 AM

Have you checked in at the App Store to see if they offer you an update?
Posted by: deniro

Re: The Numbers game of column width - 12/01/18 10:41 AM

I haven't.
Posted by: deniro

Re: The Numbers game of column width - 12/01/18 10:51 AM

I tried to download the latest version at the App store, but I couldn't because I don't have the latest OS.
Posted by: artie505

Re: The Numbers game of column width - 12/01/18 06:12 PM

That's understandable.

I was wondering if there are any available versions that fall between what you've got and what you can't get. (They'd probably be listed under your "Updates" tab, but maybe under "Purchased".)
Posted by: joemikeb

Re: The Numbers game of column width - 12/02/18 07:54 AM

I thought I had already posted this, but since I can't find it today I will try again.

No matter what application you choose your difficulty is going to be finding a version of the app that will work with your elderly MacOS version, but you might check out OpenOffice or NeoOffice (variations on the same open source code base). The spreadsheet module in either is arguably more powerful than Numbers although perhaps not as visually glitzy and likely will solve your problem. You will have to do some digging on their web sites to find a version that will work with your MacOS however.
Posted by: deniro

Re: The Numbers game of column width - 12/06/18 05:14 PM

I had NeoOffice for a long time, paid for it a long time ago, but I didn't use it much. In Windows I started using LibreOffice, so downloaded the Mac version, too. It has some good qualities, but I like Numbers more.
Posted by: deniro

Re: The Numbers game of column width - 12/11/18 03:02 PM

OK, it's dumb. I got this.

You have to have a column selected. If no columns are selected when you attempted to move the vertical lines, then the columns crash into each other.