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aligning a column of numbers on the decimal point?

From: Dave Raggett <dsr@w3.org>
Date: Thu, 1 Jun 2006 10:26:34 +0100 (BST)
To: www-style@w3.org
Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.4.62.0606010948470.8882@localhost.localdomain>

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As the Web is being used more and more for forms, it seems timely to 
consider a presentation feature that is widely used off the Web for 
professional looking forms. This is the means to align a column of 
numbers so that they align vertically on the decimal point. This was 
originally part of the HTML table model, but was never widely 
implemented. For example:

         7.94**
      (139.63)
        10.47*
        18.18
        (7.87)
        30
         0.56

In Microsoft Word you can do this by setting a decimal tab stop
within the table cell in which the numbers are used. It makes
tables look neater and easier to read if numbers align on their
decimal points.

In principle, the application designer might also want to specify 
the position of the decimal point within the column.

One complication is identifying what character is being used for
the decimal point. The HTML table model was specified in terms
of align on character to avoid that problem. Note that the decimal
point can be implicit as is the case for "30" above, where it is
assumed to be after the last digit.

Any new feature takes effort to implement and test, so the question
is really what level of demand there is for decimal aligment on
the Web?  This list may not be the best place to ask, but it is a
start.

  Dave Raggett <dsr@w3.org>  W3C lead for multimodal interaction
  http://www.w3.org/People/Raggett +44 1225 866240 (or 867351)

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Received on Thursday, 1 June 2006 09:26:53 GMT

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