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Lesson 14 from: Adobe InDesign CC Intermediate: Beyond the Basics

Erica Gamet

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Lesson Info

14. Tables

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Lesson Info


Tables. And I just want to briefly talk about tables. Just because if you use them, you need them, and if you don't, you probably never want to hear about them ever again. But I do just want to talk a little bit about how we create tables, and some of that, just show a couple things that we can actually do with tables. So this guy here, this is a table, and I'm going to copy it, I'm going to jump out to a new document. I'll keep it as a wide document, and I'm going to paste it in there. So we do commander control V to paste that guy in there. And I can look and see how this table is set up. Because if you do use tables, chances are you probably understand how cells and frames and all that work, and if not, like I said, you probably don't ever want to use them again, but I do want to show you that you can create all sorts of information that maybe doesn't look like a table, but is. Now this one actually is a table, and when I brought this in, I do believe I brought in some styles as wel...

l, selling character styles, I do. Excellent, so I have this style set up as well, or this table style set up so that it's called financial tables, so as I'm working with this table, I can actually assign a style, and when I come up with a bunch of new information, that's just not formatted, I brought it in say from word unformatted, I can bring it in and just click this financial tables and it will style it for me as well. Just know that when you're working with tables in InDesign, that they live in a text frame, so I'm actually going to turn this one so you can see. This is actually a text frame. If I select this frame, I can see the import and the outport, so we are working with texts frames, and also your text tool, your type tool. So when I'm working with text or tables, I can select it using that type tool. Whether or not I'm selecting individual text or I'm rolling over the rows and the columns as well. So I want to use that type tool for that. But how did that table get here? Well this one we pasted in. But I'm going to create a new page here, and what I want to do is inset a table. There's a couple different ways to do it. I can create a text frame and say insert table, or I can use tabbed text, so text that I've set up with a tab and create a table from that. Or, a couple versions ago, they came up with a new tool called create table, so it's a table creation tool. And I can tell it how many rows and columns I want my table to be. Let's just do eight by eight, and I don't want it to be a style at all. So I'll say no table style. And so now I've got this tool, and all I need to do is drag it out to the size I want my table to be. So there's my table ready to go, it's flashing, because it knows I want to be in the type tool, it's ready to go and put information in. So, how do I get information in? Well I might just type it in. I'm just going to put in these letters. Oops, that is not what I wanted to do. I wanted to tab between that. So I'm hitting tab so it goes to the next cell. And we'll just put in some numbers down below. I'm just tabbing in between each. Because I'm going to show you how I can set this up from scratch as well, so those are individual cells. If I drag across text and down, it will select a how cell, or it can select continuous cells. I cannot select noncontinuous cells unfortunately. So I can go ahead and select those, and to move the size of these, I can grab any of these strokes, move those up and down, and it moves everything from that point downward. If I just wanted to make this row bigger, I would hold down the shift key, and I can do the same thing. I can also do the same thing with rows. If I hold down the shift key, it just moves the one row stroke. If I don't hold down the shift key, it moves everything to the right, and one thing you'll notice is that your text or your table, excuse me, can live outside that text frame. So I have that text frame and it's actually living outside that, so you have to keep that in mind. And, just trying to get this guy out of the way here. But if I shorten up the text frame, I can come in here and each row will disappear, and I get that familiar overset text, and that's because we can jump a table from frame to frame. So I can select this and click here, and the rest of that table will show up, and those are linked text frames. Now I don't like that it's hanging out there, because like I said, it just lets you do that. If you want to fix that and put the text frame back to size, you can double click on this little lower right handle, and it snaps it, oh, it's supposed to snap it up to size. I've noticed it has not been working for me very well at all lately. It should just double click right back in, that's what it did here, I don't know why it didn't do it here. But, it doesn't matter, it's just like I don't like to have my tables hanging outside like that. But the nice thing is, this information, when I hit tab from this last row here and I hit tab, it's going to go ahead and continue into this table here. The nice thing is, if I decide this is a header row, so if I go up under the table menu, and I choose convert rows, and convert that to a header row, I can go ahead and I have that repeated information across the board, and when I make changes to this row here, you can see that it selects this, and that's where it's going to make changes to that row as well. So let me just show you a couple of fun things we can do with tables. Just to kind of give you an idea. Does that not say tables? Tables, here we go. So some of the other things we can do with that, we're going to not worry about our missing fonts, that's alright. This is a table, right? So I can come in here and I actually just created this four by two table, and I told it each individual cell was filled with a different color. So if I look at my swatches, I can see, oh, actually that's the text. Let's go in here to the container. If I want to select an entire cell, so I can see what the fill is, if I hit escape, it selects the entire thing. Now I can see that it's got a black stroke with a purple fill in it. This one, has a red fill, right? So I can go ahead, and I can even change this just by dragging this on top of those individual cells that are there. So that's a way I can create something that looks like something I put a lot of time into, but all I did was make a table really quick, and change the color of the fills, and that's another one there. Here's where we might use tables a lot. This is actually a table. So this is something where I said you can create tabbed text and format it into a table. So that's actually what I did here, and then all I did was tell it that this fill is black, and it's got white text on top of it, and this is a white, or a cell filled with white, and so I just, each other opposite line has that same fill applied to it. That fill and that fill. So how did I do that? I created. Let's actually come to a new page in the same document here. And in that case, I just came in here and I said name and I hit return and I hit it twice, because I need to have that room to fill out that frame. So name, address, return, return, and then we'll just do city, and I did tab, state, tab, and zip. And a return, I need that extra return for this space to fill that in. So I've selected that, go up into the table menu, and convert that text into a table. And by default, it assumes your column separator, so across is tab, an that's what I did down here, and the row separator is paragraph, or that hard return. So I'm going to go ahead and do that, and I can even go ahead and choose a style if I had a table style in there, which I don't. And I'm going to say okay, so now when I do that, now I have that table setup. I want to hide those characters there. So now it's just a matter of merging each of these cells. So I need to merge, and there's a script that does this a little quicker for you. Because what happens is, whatever cells you select are going to merge, so I only can do this one row at a time, and I have to do each row individually. There's a script that lets us grab everything and just merge all the rows together. But in this case, I'm going to merge this row, go up into the table menu, and say merge cells. And I'm going to do the same thing here, and we're going to merge those cells. I'm going to do that throughout. I'm just going to do it for these two, just for sake of time, and then I'm going to make all these just a little bit bigger. Alright, so I'm going to go ahead and make these bigger, and I'm going to make it bigger for the fill in frame, and then what I can do is grab the line that goes underneath this name, and I'm going to push it as far as I can, and it's going to hit the text and stop. So the great thing is I don't have to worry about sizing it, it stops it for me. So as you can see, I have those all set up. I'm going to merge this one as well. Just so I can show you what I do with this, and then I don't want to merge this one necessarily, because I don't want them to, they'll end up in the same frame, and I don't really want to do that. What I want to do is I want to move this, holding on the shift key, have a little bit room for that, and a little bit more room for that. When I merge these, those lines will go away. And then I can change the fill here, so I can just come in here to the swatches, and just tell it that I need the fill to be black, and then I need the text to be white. Alright, now we'll do the same thing down below. But you can see how that form is starting to come together. And all I did was create tabbed text, and then I converted it to a table from that point on there. I actually want to delete this row here, so I want to say delete that row. Again, I have a lot more merging stuff to do, but you can see how that starts to come together, and then I create that form, and the reason I want to do that, is if I suddenly needed this form to duplicate or to jump across pages, or if I decide I didn't give them enough room to write, I can come in here and just change it in one place. I just need to drag that out, and suddenly my space is even bigger for them to write the information in. So for me, it's always just about trying to look at anything that's in a grid, and how can I do that with a table? This is a table as well. It's just single paragraph, so it's one column with multiple rows, but by using the table settings that are here, I can tell it to alternate colors. So I come in here into the table options, and I can do alternating fills, so I've told it to alternate between these two fills, and as I add a new line or extra return, it adds a whole new row which alternates that. So even if I go and wedge in another paragraph back in here, I just add in a new row, it will continually alternate those colors for me. So like I said, for anything I'm trying to do, where I'm trying to keep things sort of together in a grid, including this photo that's here. This is actually a two by two grid of that photo. I've got an image in this cell, and an image in this cell, and now I know that they're always nicely joined together, and I don't have to worry about moving two different image cells together all the time. They're in a table, and I can move them all at once together. Let's actually move this table frame that's here. And I can move those together. So just think about anything that needs to look like it's a grid, or well laid out in any manner, and think about whether or not a table might be what you need to do for that.

Ratings and Reviews

Marianne Stewart

I've been using InDesign for a decade, and decided to take this class to see what else I could learn. Wow! Erica taught me ways to do repetitive tasks easier, faster, and cleaner. She showed me many, many ways that I wasn't using InDesign to it's fullest potential (and now I am!). Her teaching style is very thorough and in-depth, but also easy to follow and understand. I highly recommend this class!


Great class, but as a former professional typesetter (before InDesign, PageMaker and QuarkXpress), Erica uses the term "Justified Left" incorrectly! (sorry!) There is no such thing. Justified refers only to text that spans the width of it's column from edge to edge. The spacing in-between words will vary. Used primarily in newsprint where the columns widths are narrow. The other proper terms for text alignment are: Flush Left Ragged Right (or) Left-Aligned Flush Right Ragged Left (or) Right-Aligned Centered Justified The oddball is "Justified". It's the only option where word spacing is variable. This is the least desirable because it creates "Rivers and Valleys" of white space that distract the eye. Letter and word spacing can be tightened or tweaked to improve the overall look, but at cost in time.


Great class and very informative. Erica’s a good instructor. Given the volume of information presented I’d like to see class materials included. It makes the course much easier to follow.

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