[XeTeX] Making nice tables

Mike Maxwell maxwell at umiacs.umd.edu
Thu Nov 22 07:20:45 CET 2007

Will Robertson wrote:
> LaTeX
> also doesn't agree with the idea of leaving gaping holes in the text;
> you'll need to force them with \newpage if you want that.

My problem is that the *tex code is created automatically from the 
DocBook source by the dblatex program, and I don't want to have to go in 
to fix things by hand.  (It needs to run in turnkey mode.)

>> But even more surprising to me is the mess that *tex makes of last line
>> of this broken table.  I realize tables are hard, and footnotes make the
>> problem of page layout still harder, but I would have thought it would
>> get this right.
> Well, typesetting Urdu wasn't exactly in the spec when longtable was
> written >10 years ago! :)

Actually, this is Bengali text, which is left-to-right. So I wouldn't 
expect it to be any worse than a Latin text (except of course that *tex 
can't be expected to hyphenate it).

> You might also like to try the supertabular, which uses a different
> algorithm to do the same thing as longtable. Actually I just looked it
> up and it seems that xtab is an improved version of supertabular:
>   <http://www.ctan.org/tex-archive/help/Catalogue/entries/xtab.html>

Hmm.  I tried changing all the \longtable to \xtab, but it chokes part 
way through with the error:
! LaTeX Error: Environment xtab undefined.

See the LaTeX manual or LaTeX Companion for explanation.
Type  H <return>  for immediate help.

l.561 \begin{xtab}
This is the first place xtab is actually used (apart from the 
\usepackage{xtab} command).  If I'm understanding correctly, xetex isn't 
finding this package.  Which is odd, because the file xtab.sty seems to 
be in my TEXINPUTS path (at least, /usr/share/texmf// is, and xtab.sty 
is in  /usr/share/texmf/tex/latex/misc/); or am I misunderstanding what 
xetex needs to find??

> To look at changing the way your footnotes work, check out both
> footmisc and bigfoot. 

Will do, but it's 1 AM here...maybe tomorrow.  Thanks for the help (and 
thanks to Ross Moore, who is apparently somewhere on the other side of 
the Earth from me; I'll look at his advice tomorrow, too).

Oh, and xetex finds supertabular (unlike xtab), but then supertabular 
complains about a \caption being located outside a float.  Maybe tomorrow.
	Mike Maxwell
	maxwell at umiacs.umd.edu
	"For over a thousand years, the British Empire was the guardian
	 of good grammar and the English language.
	 Before the dark times.  Before the Americans."
	--Bob Kenobi (Ben Kenobi's younger brother)

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