I finally got my Pokémon Tournament Deck List Sheet ready for the 2016 season. It took me ages because I ended up having to completely rebuild it. If you are coming to the Asheville Mossdeep League Challenge on September 12th, we are holding a raffle and giving a second entry to anyone who arrives with an already filled out deck list – but you don’t have to use mine, of course.
OpenOffice Writer sucks at making tables. (Someone once asked me how I managed to make my character sheets in Writer because of that fact, and I pointed him to the wonders of frames, which allow Writer to function like a low-end desktop publishing program.) That’s why I always make tables in Calc and then paste them into frames in Writer. For whatever reason, the set symbol images kept not being copied even though they are anchored to and entirely contained by their respective cells.
After that I decided to try and make the whole document in Calc since the deck list is essentially a bunch of tables anyway, but the varying numbers of columns made it overly complicated, so I went back to Writer and manually copied in the errant images.
That did the trick at the time, and adding new sets was a breeze, but then came rotation. That required moving a bunch of sets from one table to the other, manually moving their set symbols again. I briefly tried to make the thing entirely in Writer, but ran into the Writer sucks at tables problem again.
That left going back and trying to make the whole thing in Calc again. I’m not totally happy with the result, but it’s complete, and that’s good enough for Saturday’s League Challenge. Getting the underlines the right length took a lot of fiddling, but not nearly as much as making the set symbols actually stay in their boxes after PDF exportation. I still don’t know why that kept happening – they looked perfect in Calc, but kept being misaligned enough to partially or fully obscure the lines between them as a PDF. I use Sumatra, Foxit, and PDF-XChange Editor for different purposes*, but the problem showed up in all three, so I knew the error didn’t lie with the rendering engine. By adjusting the positions and sometimes sizes of the images by hundredths of an inch and then re-exporting it, I finally got it, but it took me a couple of hours for just that process.
I don’t like how long the top frame is to the player name field, but fixing it will require another rebuild. If it proves to not be a problem on Saturday then I’ll probably leave it alone. Otherwise I’ll finish a project I started some months back and start with a blank sheet where every row and column is .1″ and then combine them as needed to make the tables and fields, just like I did for my GURPS character creator and library spreadsheets.
So, despite how much harder it can be to position things precisely in Calc (which is the reason I built it in Writer in the first place), I managed to get it done in plenty of time for our next tournament, and set things up so that adapting to next year’s rotation will be a breeze.
∗ Sumatra PDF is my everyday PDF and CB7 reader, but does odd things with margins when printing, and is very limited in features by design.
Foxit Reader was my old go-to reader, but tends to eat a lot of memory, but also allows me to edit bookmarks, unlike Sumatra, and access other advanced features of PDFs.
PDF-XChange Editor is now the last stage of all of my PDFs before I upload them. It allows me to change metadata and all kinds of other advanced editing that I otherwise can’t do with free software, but is overkill most of the time.