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Currently I'm developing a webpage on which the users to can hide/ show the row headings in a crosstab user control. Right now, showing/ hiding the columns is done using a checkbox for each row heading. This effectively allows the user to hide every row heading, loosing the context of row at the same time.

Should the user be allowed to hide every row heading? And, if not, how best to prevent it? Current thoughts are disabling the checkbox of the last visible row heading, but this can not be discovered before encountering it.

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Why can the last visible row heading 'not be discovered before encountering it'? Struggling slightly to understand the context here. Without more information, the short answer to your headline question is simply 'no'... – Roger Attrill Jun 20 '11 at 13:22
Are you talking about rows or columns (entries in the table or fields?) You say that hiding the columns is done by the checkboxes in the row heading. It isn't clear whether you're just trying to hide the heading of the column or the column itself. Or the rows after all? :) – Vitaly Mijiritsky Jun 21 '11 at 7:01
up vote 0 down vote accepted

Is there a set of columns that you need to show or that wouldn't make sense to hide? If so I'd make it so that those columns can't be hidden, and that would solve your immediate problem here.

As for the over all question of 'should a use be allowed to hide everything' the answer is yes. Will the user do it? Probably not. It might be an accident if they do. What you need to make sure of is that there is an easy way for the user to recover if they do hide all columns.

Personally, if I was to add this functionality in, I'd make it separate from the table/cross tab itself. I would make a pop-up or a div that looks like a drop-down that would allow the user to pick their columns in one go. That way if they remove them all, they aren't all of a sudden left without any data.

Hope that helps.

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