Template google docs - columns width issue

Hi there

I’m struggling with changes in columns width, like that:

because I use nested Start/Select/If and so on, I use a Docs template with various tables.
Here is what my template looks like:


Despite setting specific columns widths, I cannot make it stick to settings.
It’s like my settings are ignored, and the widths are self-determined, depending on having value in the cell, and other things I don’t understand.

I know this is a known difficulty, but I didn’t find a way to fix that.
I looked there:

But because of my structure, I guess each row in the PDF is interpreted as an html independent table.

Does someone have a clue ?

Many thanks in advance for your help !

I have encountered this many times, and have attempted to figure out why some columns get their width adjusted beyond the setting, but unfortunately so far do not have any answers.

I typically just make the tables’ grid lines invisible so the “jitter” is less obvious.


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Hi @Marc_Dillon

Thanks for your answer.
Yes I saw you spent some time struggling with that :slight_smile:
The weirdest thing in my opinion, is that the column width seems to adjust to content, but not everytime :sweat_smile: as we can see on the first column in the capture, if we compare header and body…and footer.

I read a post talking about adding <> on first column/row, and last as well. Did that trick worked for you ?

On the picture you see there, I made a workaround adding some useless values in order to keep some “acceptable” alignment, because in my case I could have some values 2 columns away from their expected location.

I agree. If I had expanded the above screenshot to show you the rest of those rows, there is no obvious reason (like content length/size) why any of those rows would be expanded while the other are not, nor that any of those rows’ content would even require any expansion.

I don’t know what this means.

I don’t know what this means.


In addition, I did not look yet but do you know if trying to use some HTML or JSON template will give better result ?
I’m not familiar with these and then try to avoid having to look into that :sweat_smile:

No, whatever Reza was talking about in that very old post (was actually originally from the GooglePlus community, and just archived here), I highly doubt is applicable to this situation.

Unfortunately you can’t add custom HTML to a GDoc template. You can do it in the Email Body field directly in the workflow definition. Or you can write a custom html template file (I think as a .txt file stored on GDrive). But that’ll be difficult and time-consuming, especially if you don’t know HTML.

I’ve edited the referenced post to clarify the <<Start>> and <<End>> tag references.


That’s exactly what I’m afraid of :rofl:
I’ve been dealing with HTML a few month ago for a side-page purpose, but I agree this is an entirely new language to apprehend

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Wooo, that makes much more sense with start and end in this post :smiley:

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Yes. adjusting column widths can get temperamental. But a couple of insights may help.

  1. In the Google tables, explicitly set the columns widths for all columns except 1. Usually this would be a column that has lengthy entries. By setting them this way, the single column will take up “left-over” space of the table. Once you have the widths set - DO NOT TOUCH the visual column sliders. Always adjust the columns through the Table properties.

I see you have a Header row, body section of rows and then a Summary row. You would need to set the column widths of each of these separate tables using the Table Properties so they are of EXACTLY the same width - leaving the same single column Not set to take up remaining table space

  1. For the body rows, each occurrence of a set rows associated with the START/END blocks constitutes a new table and may be subjected to differing column widths if 1) above is not followed. Usually because there is more than one column WITHOUT a width set.

In your case, I see you have a START/END block OUTSIDE of the row template for the body rows and then another START/END block inside of the template row table. Sets of rows associated with each occurence of the OUTSIDE START/END would actually each be in their own table and depending on column width settings and the data, columns could end up with different widths causing the mis-alignment of rows.


My experience is that this is usually due Indentation and/or Padding values.


Thanks John! That gives me an idea of something to try the next time I’m building one of these complex templates.


Thank you both @WillowMobileSystems and @Marc_Dillon for sharing your experience about that, that comforts me in the choice I made about how to build this report.
I will give a try to tips provided by @WillowMobileSystems, then stick with what I get.

Cheers !

Just voted that, if you are interested ?

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