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[edited by: korkus2000 at 7:15 pm (utc) on Jan. 14, 2003]
[edit reason] TOS 21 no specifics please [/edit]
I can usually make the little bit of extra space look good in a design (I like white space anyway!)
pushed its way to the right instead of going both ways
Sounds like something else (a previous <td> most likely) is forcing the start of the cell to be further to the right.
In trying to sort this kind of problem, it can be very helpful to set border="1" temporarily, to see where the browser is putting the cells. That way you can zero in better on why things aren't happening the way you visualize.
Can you use one table to contain the header and the text on different <tr>'s? That might force the two to be the same width. Another idea would be to give the text cell it's own background, so the table backgrounds don't show through.
Tables can be tricky. It can be very helpful to set aside an hour or two and just play with a "generic" table setup. plugging in various contents and attributes just to get the feel for how different browsers deal with various situations.
I spent an afternoon doing this a while back, and it's made every table layout since then much easier.