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You are correct. Templates do not work this way. At least, not for main body content. For main body content, all they do is provide a boilerplate starting point. So perhaps you want to create certain topics always having a specific table. If you create the topics originally using the template, they will have the table, because it was there to start with.
Templates are also used to apply Headers and Footers across many topics. In this case, they do influence changes to existing topics. But only to the Header and Footer area.
If you are wanting a certain table, I'd suggest creating a topic that is used only to store what you want the table to look like. Then when you need the table, open the topic, copy the table, then open the topic where you want the table inserted and paste it in.
I think Rick is being too coy about his own tips n tricks file that has the excellent tip of adding a table to the RH gallery. This enables you to add a table from the Table > Insert > Table menu item. Well worth a look.
I must be missing a file or something. I have the TipsNTrix.chm (from the 1/19.2004 zip file) in my C:\Documents and Settings\RALEE\My Documents\RoboHelp\7.0 folder, along with the other files from the 11/20/2003 zip file.
When I launch the help file, I see the TOC; but I don't get any pages.
When you visited the page to download the file, you should have seen a link that was worded as follows:
Click here for help if you are experiencing a problem using this file after you download it!
When you click that link, I have a page that opens explaining what you probably need to do. I'll post the link below:
Click here and follow the instructions
Give that a go and I'm confident you will be in business.