EKG leads (inferior, lateral, anterior, right) color coding in a great manuscript

A student shared this paper by Blakeway and colleagues. It shows the leads of the heart color-coded by region. It’s awesome. I’m posting it here mostly so I can find it again. Link to the PDF, look at the figure on Page 2: https://www.resuscitationjournal.com/article/S0300-9572(12)00053-6/pdf

Citation: Blakeway E, Jabbour RJ, Baksi J, Peters NS, Touquet R. ECGs: colour-coding for initial training. Resuscitation. 2012 May;83(5):e115-6. doi: 10.1016/j.resuscitation.2012.01.034. Epub 2012 Feb 2. PMID: 22306667. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22306667/

Optimizing tables in Microsoft Word and Powerpoint for grants, research manuscripts, and presentations

Tables can render weirdly in MS Word and Powerpoint, and you can have a hard time figuring out why. Here’s few steps to fix them so they are snappy.

First: MS Word example (see Powerpoint below)

You get a table that looks like this. You start pulling your hair.

(Ignore that there are only 3 quartiles, I should have written tertile and made all of the figures in this post before I realized that typo.)

Step 1: fix the “paragraph” settings.

Select the entire table by clicking this symbol in the top left, then click the tiny little arrow at the bottom right of the paragraph options on the home tab:

This paragraph dialogue will open up. Change indentations to zero on left and right, for the dropdown of “special”, change it to “none”, and change spacing to zero for before and after, and change line spacing to single.

Now we go back to our table and see that it looks a little better.

Step 1B (optional): Save the fixed paragraph formatting as a new Style

For bonus points: Save this paragraph format as a new style called “Tables” that you can apply and edit as needed! While on the “Home” tab, click this little box at the bottom right of the Styles section, then click the A+ button that appears.

On the pop-up screen, name the style “Tables”, leave everything else unchanged, then hit “okay”.

Now highlight some text in your table, right click the “Tables” style in the home/Styles block, and click “update tables to match selection”.

Now to fix the paragraph settings for future tables all you need to do is select the entire table (top left symbol on table) and click the “Tables” style. You can also edit the font and paragraph settings of all tables that have your Table style applied simultaneously by editing the Tables style directly (right click on “Tables” style then click “Modify”). This is handy if you want to change the fonts from Times New Roman to Arial all at once, for example.

Step 2: Change cell size minimums

The cells are still pretty tall. Let’s see if we can fix that. Click on the symbol on the top left again to highlight the entire table, go to the layout tab, then find the cell size box for HEIGHT (we don’t care about width now). Change this to zero. (It will change itself to 0.01″ and that’s fine.)

There we go! A much neater table. We can do one better though, there’s still a bit of extra spacing in the cell margins that can probably be removed.

Step 3: Narrowing the margins

Select the entire table by clicking the symbol on the top left, go to the Layout tab, then click “Cell Margins”.

In the window that pops up, change the left and right margin to 0.03 or 0.04. The top and bottom should be zero if they aren’t already.

Now the text is a little closer to the cell border. It’s subtle, but it’s there! Notice how the “M” in “Model” is pretty close to the left border. This example uses 0.03 as left and right, you might opt to use 0.04 instead if this is too narrow for you.

Step 4: Resizing your columns

This is pretty straightforward. Double click on the column borders (where I drew x marks) to shrink the column to be the maximum width of the contents of the cells.

Now you have this:

But let’s say that you have some sort of really wide cell for some reason?

Notice that the first column has long labels. If you click on the borders of the columns (starting with the right most, moving left), you get this:

…But let’s say that you wanted to have the text wrap a bit more neatly, rather than be stretched out? In this scenario, I recommend strategically inserting line breaks (“hitting enter or return”, red checks in this picture) so the text wraps at the maximum width of the cell that you want. THEN click the right border of the first column to shrink it down:

…and you get this:

If you want even more control over column width, you can directly adjust them using the sliders on the ruler. If you don’t see the ruler, you need to turn it on under “View” tab then check the box next to “Ruler”. Then click anywhere on your table and you’ll see the grey sliders appear on the ruler.

Step 5 (optional): Final tweaks

I think all cells should have the text floating in the middle (rather than all the way at the top, which is default), which can be changed by RIGHT clicking on the top left symbol then selecting table properties…

…and then selecting the “Cell” tab and clicking the “Center” option.

Now notice that things are floating nicely with vertical centering.

I also like to make the top row’s font bolded, and center all columns except the first.

Now you can fiddle with the font type and size as needed. And there you are! What I think is a nicely optimized table.

Second: PowerPoint example

You have a table that looks like this:

Step 1: Fixing paragraph settings

First, highlight the entire contents of the table (there’s no top left icon in PPT like there is in Word to highlight the entire table) then click on the little button at the home tab’s paragraph section’s bottom right.

On the pop up window, change indentation and spacing before and after to zero, special to none, and line spacing to single, and click okay.

Now we see a less unwieldy table!

The margins separating the text to the

Step 2: Reduce cell margins

Let’s shrink the cell margins, which is the distance between the text and the border of the cells. Highlight the contents of your table, then on the layout tab, drop down the options under “cell margins”. Ignore the options inside and go to custom margins.

On the pop up window, change the left and right margins to 0.03 or 0.04 and change the top and bottom to zero.

Now we have some nice narrow margins!

Step 3: Reduce cell height

Let’s shrink down the height of the cells. Highlight the contents of the table, then under the layout tab, reduce the height as much as the down button will let you. Don’t worry about the width.

Now you have a table that is nice and short. (It didn’t actually change the table in this example so nothing to look at.)

Step 4: Fix the column width

Let’s fix the width of the columns. In this example, I added some extra text in the first row. First, insert line breaks (“hit enter or return”) strategically so the cells aren’t overextended by length of lines. In this example, I’m inserting line breaks where the checks are

Now double click the border line of the columns to auto-fit the width.

Now you have a nice narrow table:

Step 5 (optional): Final tweaks

I think all cells should be arranged vertically, you hit this button under they layout tab to arrange the content vertically centered.

Now the cells are vertically centered!

I also think that all columns except the first should be centered, so highlight those columns and hit the center button. I leave the first column aligned left.

Now you might want to make all columns except the first the same width as the widest column. Specifically, notice that the Tertile 1 column (with the “ref”) is narrower than the other two. Click on the widest column and under the layout tab, note that the cell size width is 1.8″.

Now highlight all tertile columns and under the layout tab, type “1.8” (without quotes) into the cell size width box and hit enter.

Now check it out the table! Looks quite fancy.