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Re: Re: Re: undocumented feature: TableView

  • To: mathgroup at
  • Subject: [mg103911] Re: [mg103871] Re: [mg103843] Re: undocumented feature: TableView
  • From: John Fultz <jfultz at>
  • Date: Mon, 12 Oct 2009 06:37:29 -0400 (EDT)
  • Reply-to: jfultz at

Yes, this is an experimental feature.  A few comments...

On Sat, 10 Oct 2009 07:08:10 -0400 (EDT), Murray Eisenberg wrote:
> TableView does allow a nice display of tabular data. And right-clicking
> rows or columns provides useful possibilities.
> Perhaps a more interesting question is how the display functionality
> might be extended (unless already there!) so that one can retrieve the
> table currently displayed in the TableView output.  Of course it's
> unclear how this could/should be done: the result of TableView is
> already the table you see

If you mean retrieve it by evaluation, you could just wrap First[] around the 
view.  The FullForm of TableView[matrix] is TableView[matrix].  What you see
on-screen is formatting, not evaluation.  I think you figured this out below, 
but I wanted to state it clearly for anyone who didn't follow all the way 

> Right now, of course, one can use the menu item Insert > Table/Matrix to
> input tabular data, but I've always found using that a bit clunky:
> unless you start in the top left placeholder and carefully tab from each
> placeholder to the next, it's too easy to find the cursor outside any
> placeholder.
> With TableView, it's really easy to just click anywhere within one of
> the spreadsheet-like cells and type, delete, etc.
> Moreover, if the added functionality were there, then TableView would be
> a really nice way to gather tabular input interactively, with minimal
> programming compared with what would now be required.

Yes, the potential is obvious.  The present version of TableView doesn't support 
Dynamic, though.  That, along with certain other shortcomings in integration, is 
one of the major reasons it's undocumented and experimental.  And it may yet see 
some redesign before we're comfortable documenting it.

> Right now, one can almost get the functionality with TableView that I'd
> like, but it's awkward. For example, suppose first you evaluate:
> TableView[Table[0, {3}, {2}]]
> Then you go ahead and change some of the entries so that you see in the
> display, e.g.:
> 2      -5
> hello  1+1
> 2/3    Plot[x^2,{x,0,1}]
> The new values are not yet assigned to anything.  But the changed table
> is a result -- still in an output cell -- and the content of an output
> cell can be used as input:
> data = List@@First[%];
> data // InputForm
> {{2, "-5"}, {"hello", "1+1"}, {"2/3", "2+3I"}}
> ToExpression[data]  (* evaluates the cell contents *)
> Perhaps there's some way, using Dynamic, that one does not need to do
> things as I've just shown, so that TableView could in fact be used for
> interactive data input, under program control.
> Let's hope that WRI brings TableView into more public view and enhances
> it in future releases.

TableView, such as it is, should have a pretty solid and robust implementation.  
As always, we certainly appreciate the comments on this forum.  They do make a 

John Fultz
jfultz at
User Interface Group
Wolfram Research, Inc.

> David Reiss wrote:
>> By the way, it is pretty easy to drill down in something like this to
>> fine new undocumented functions in interesting Contexts by using the
>> trick in my previous post as well as simple things like
>> Names["TableView `*"]
>> It seems like TableView is in a somewhat advanced state of
>> development.  And one could use it to create a pretty sophisticated
>> spreadsheet application with multiple sheets and so on.  With a parser
>> for Excel functions one could import Excel sheets with their
>> associated functionality...  (now, do I have time to do this?  No,
>> but...)
>> Here is an example of TableView's use for multiple sheets...
>> TabView[{40 ->
>> TableView[40 IdentityMatrix[40], ContentSize -> {400, 300}],
>> 20 -> TableView[20 IdentityMatrix[20], ContentSize -> {400, 300}],
>> 10 -> TableView[10 IdentityMatrix[10], ContentSize -> {400, 300}]}]
>> Oct 8, 7:49 am, Guido Tripaldi <gu... at> wrote:
>>> Hello,
>>> today I typed by accident "TableView" instead of "TableForm" writing
>>> a =
>>> notebook, so I discovered a function apparently not documented in
>>> Mathematica 7 / Mac version. "TableView" displays a list in a
>>> spreadsheet-like format.  I tried to search the DocumentationCenter
>>> without finding any information, neither Google nor Wolfram search
>>> engine gave better results. The only documentation I found was using
>>> the "Information -  (??)" command. It show the options that TableView
>>> =
>>> accepts.
>>> It appears to be very useful, as it introduces a more flexible way to
>>> observing the data. There are infact some data editing features
>>> accessible through a popup menu (a "+" icon on the top left of the
>>> view) and others ctrl-clicking the view (ctrl-click on Mac; right-
>>> click on Windows).
>>> Perhaps it is a new feature being finalized that will be included in
>>> next version. Someone maybe knows something more about this function?
>>> In[1]:=  mylist = Table[ Subscript[a, i, j], {i, 5}, {j, 3}  ] =
>>> (*   a little matrix   *)
>>> In[2]:=  mylist // TableView     (*   show it as a small spread=
>> sheet
>>> *)
>>> In[3]:=  ?? TableView
>>> System`TableView
>>> Attributes[TableView] = {Protected, ReadProtected}
>>> Options[TableView] := {Background -> None, BaseStyle -> {},
>>> DefaultBaseStyle -> "TableView", DefaultLabelStyle ->
>>> "TableViewLabel",
>>> FrameStyle -> GrayLevel[0.85], ContentSize -> Automatic, =
>>> ItemSize -> 10,
>>> LabelStyle -> {}, RotateLabel -> False, Spacings -> Automa=
>> tic,
>>> TableHeadings -> {Automatic, Automatic}}
>>> Guido

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