The Data Trick

If your data is in Excel, this is a quick and easy way to turn it into pages without all the bloated code produced by the automatic conversions and with more control over the final appearance --- able to tinker and tweak.

Most other spreadsheet programs, such as QuatroPro, should work in a similar manner. If the data is laid out in tabbed columns or separated by commas in a word processor, you may be able to save as a tab or comma delimited file and import it into a spreadsheet program. If you do a conversion of this sort, be sure to *eyeball* the resulting spreadsheet columns and adjust anything that has jumped over a column or two.

A simple data list:

datalist

Now, insert columns and put in table row and cell code:

Select and copy the area and paste directly into an html code page, in between table start and end tags. On a real page you would probably have consistent heading and footer areas as well. The results of the simple coding above, plus some cellpadding and a border, would be:

Surname Given Name MI birthdate birthplace
Smith Fred G 3 Aug 1888 Albany NY
Jones John K 17 Sep 1875 Chicago IL
Brown Jane 12 May 1889 Louisville KY
Kellogg Spencer 6 Dec 1872 Phoenix AZ
Andrews Rebecca L 23 Mar 1892 Wichita KS

If you, or any of your viewers, are looking at this in Netscape, you'll see a couple of blank looking spots for Spencer and Jane as they don't have middle initials. This can be resolved by putting a &nbsp; in the empty cells. On a large amount of data which is where this trick really comes in handy, just do a search and replace for <TD></TD> replacing it with <TD>&nbsp;</TD> with the results below:

Surname Given Name MI birthdate birthplace
Smith Fred G 3 Aug 1888 Albany NY
Jones John K 17 Sep 1875 Chicago IL
Brown Jane   12 May 1889 Louisville KY
Kellogg Spencer   6 Dec 1872 Phoenix AZ
Andrews Rebecca L 23 Mar 1892 Wichita KS

The above is a truly plain table but using the same methods you can come up with some really nice results. I recommend starting with a sample block of 10 or so rows of your data until you work out precisely what coding you'll want for your final design. Let's make the surname bold.... merge the given name and middle initial columns and make the birthplace column maroon with white text.



turns into this:

Surname Given Name & MI birthdate birthplace
Smith Fred G 3 Aug 1888 Albany NY
Jones John K 17 Sep 1875 Chicago IL
Brown Jane 12 May 1889 Louisville KY
Kellogg Spencer 6 Dec 1872 Phoenix AZ
Andrews Rebecca L 23 Mar 1892 Wichita KS

You don't have to do tables with the information... you can do a paragraph style:

Name: Smith Fred G
Birthdate: 3 Aug 1888
Birthplace: Albany NY

Name: Jones John K
Birthdate: 17 Sep 1875
Birthplace: Chicago IL

Name: Brown Jane
Birthdate: 12 May 1889
Birthplace: Louisville KY

Name: Kellogg Spencer
Birthdate: 6 Dec 1872
Birthplace: Phoenix AZ

Name: Andrews Rebecca L
Birthdate: 23 Mar 1892
Birthplace: Wichita KS

Make it a bulleted list style:

Smith Fred G

  • Birthdate: 3 Aug 1888
  • Birthplace: Albany NY

Jones John K

  • Birthdate: 17 Sep 1875
  • Birthplace: Chicago IL

Brown Jane

  • Birthdate: 12 May 1889
  • Birthplace: Louisville KY

Kellogg Spencer

  • Birthdate: 6 Dec 1872
  • Birthplace: Phoenix AZ

Andrews Rebecca L

  • Birthdate: 23 Mar 1892
  • Birthplace: Wichita KS

Many data pages look better done in a sans serif font like Arial. It's not necessary to put the font code in every table cell though. Use a simple style sheet and put the following code between the <HEAD> and </HEAD> tags:

<STYLE TYPE="text/css"> <!--
TD {
     font-size : 85%;
     font-family : Arial;
     }
--> </STYLE>

This will make a table like the first set of data look like this:

Surname Given Name MI birthdate birthplace
Smith Fred G 3 Aug 1888 Albany NY
Jones John K 17 Sep 1875 Chicago IL
Brown Jane 12 May 1889 Louisville KY
Kellogg Spencer 6 Dec 1872 Phoenix AZ
Andrews Rebecca L 23 Mar 1892 Wichita KS

One of the places I have used this method is on the pages indexed at:

http://www.rootsweb.com/~ohcuyah2/nats/coarch/
and at
http://www.rootsweb.com/~ohcuyah2/deaths/coarch/part1/index.html

When completed the naturalization pages will have over 53,000 names, about 36,000 are up now, with approximately 200 names per page on average. The deaths pages has about 43,000 names, also averaging 200 a page.

Holly Timm
htimm@comcast.net

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