[PLUG-TALK] How to get Latex to do my math for me

John Jason Jordan johnxj at gmx.com
Tue Jan 7 19:18:34 PST 2020

On Tue, 7 Jan 2020 18:16:15 -0800 (PST)
Rich Shepard <rshepard at appl-ecosys.com> dijo:

>On Tue, 7 Jan 2020, John Jason Jordan wrote:
>> I'm trying to create a table and have Latex calculate the width of
>> the columns, based on the fact that the table will be 568.8 points
>> wide and there will be two columns. The following blows up on me:
>> \begin{tabular}{|p{568.8/2pt}|p{568.8/2pt}|}
>> \hline \hline

>I offer two suggestions. First, install LyX and use that rather than
>straight LaTeX. Much easier and quicker.

These tables will be in render frames in Scribus.

>Second. if you are using letter paper and have 1" margins on each side
>the text area is 6.5". Since we're used to thinking in terms of inches
>(or centimeters) rather than points set column widths using inches.
>You can futz with them (a.k.a. trial-and-error) and use the dvips page
>preview to see how it all looks.

I've been thinking in points for decades. I sometimes set my left and
right margins to 21.6pts, so for a US letter sheet of 612pts I have
568.8pts left for text and stuff. If I have 36pt left and right margins
then I have 540pts for text and stuff. I have these numbers memorized.
I use these numbers even in LO Writer and every other program where I
need to deal with pages and margins.

But even if I use inches, if I want a table that is 6.5 inches wide of
five equal columns, why should I do the math? And besides, it seems
that half the time I create a column that is less than the margins,
typically centered on the page. When I do that I create the table width
mentally in points. Or I might create a table with a wide first column
and want the rest of the columns to share the remaining distance

What I'm trying to do is automate making tables in Scribus as much as
possible. I haven't yet gotten into things like specifying line widths
and types, cell padding, mandatory column height, text styles, and lots
more, but I'm poking along at it. For the moment I just want to figure
out how to automate column widths.

More information about the PLUG-talk mailing list