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In this series, David Blatner and Anne-Marie Concepción, co-hosts of the web's top resource for InDesign tips and tricks, InDesignSecrets.com, share some hidden and sometimes surprising workflow tips that will make working in InDesign more efficient and more fun. The course covers built-in timesaving features such as Quick Apply and auto-expanding text, but also little-known tricks, such as using the eyedropper to copy and paste character and paragraph text attributes and making accurate selections by selecting through or even into objects.
New techniques will be added to the collection every other week, so check back early and often. Find more tips and tricks at indesignsecrets.com.
I have a table here but I want each row in this first column to be numbered. Now InDesign does not have a numbering feature inside the table menu. But it does have an automatic numbering feature somewhere else. It lets you number paragraphs. So my friend Bart Vendevila showed me how to apply that paragraph numbering inside these cells in a really cool way. Let me show you. First, I'll double click inside this first cell and that switches to the type tool automatically. Next, I'm going to turn on the automatic numbering feature.
And you can do that by going to the type menu and coming all the way down to the bulleted number list and choosing apply numbers. But theres a faster way. And that is to simply turn on the automatic numbering button here in the control panel. Now, I've turned that on, but I don't see any numbering. Why? Because there has to be at least one character in the paragraph before that numbering shows up. I could press the space bar, and as soon as I do that you'll see the numbering but I'd rather not use any character that has any width to it. Instead I want to use as zero width character if I can.
So let me hit Delete, and it goes away. To add a zero width character, I'll go to the Type menu, come down to Insert Special Character, and then from the other sub menu, I'll choose End Nested Style Here. That's just a convenient zero width character that doesn't really do anything in this context. But as soon as you insert it, it adds the numbering. Now there's one other problem I see here. And that is, by default the automatic paragraph numbering inserts a dot or a period Followed by a tab. Well that's messing up my centering, and it doesn't look very good.
So I want to get rid of that. And to get rid of it, all I have to do is hold down the option key or the alt key on Windows and click that automatic numbered list button. Up comes a Bullets and Numbering dialogue box, and I can change the format of that automatic number, right here inside the Number field. This code means, type the number, followed by a period, followed by a tab. But, if I click inside up there, and then delete the text after it so I don't have the tab with period. I just get the number itself. I'll click OK. And, you can see now I just have the number inside that cell.
Now by the way, I set up the formatting for that cell the font, the size, the centering and all of that before I started. I just used the regular formatting features inside the control panel to do that, but now, here's the real trick. How am I going to get that numbering in all of the other cells? So here's what you do. Press the escape key, this is weird but its important that you know this when you work with the tables. The escape key toggles between the text selection and the cell selection. So as soon as I press escape, the cell itself will select it.
Press escape again, And now the text selected, press Escape again, and now the cell is selected. So, all I have to is copy it to the clipboard with a Command C or Control C on Windows. Select all the other cells that I want to number, and then paste, with Command V or Control V on Windows. And now they're all numbered. Alright, let's take it one step further. What if I want two numbered columns? For example, I'll click over here in the right column, go to the table menu, and say, insert column. I'll insert one column to the right, and now I want to add numbers in here.
Maybe they're going to be sequentially numbered codes, one for each one of these classes. Let's try it. I'll click in the first one, I'll turn on my automatic numbering, I'll go ahead and insert a zero with character. And then I'll option or Alt click on that numbering button to bring up the bullets and numbering dialog box. Here I'm going to get rid of that little tab and the dot, and I'm going to add a code before this. Like U dash, so all my numbers are going to be listed U dash one, two, three, four, and so on. Now of course it doesn't have to be numbers. It could be letters or something else.
But I'm going to leave it set to numbers for right now and click OK. The first one is set to U two, why not one? Well, look at our list on the left. This one now goes from one to three. InDesign thought that this cell was part of this list on the left column. Well that's a mistake. I need to do something that tell InDesign that these are two different lists. To do that I need to go back to that dialogue box, so I'll Option or Alt-click on that button And I need to tell this that it's a different list.
You see this popup menu here? It's called List, and I'm going to change this from default to a new list. I'll just call this second List. You can call it anything you want really, and click OK and then click OK down here. Suddenly, everything numbers properly. The left column is one, two, three, and the right column starts with number one. I'll hit the Esc key to select that cell Copy to the clipboard and then paste it in all of these other ones. By the way, what if I don't want this to start at number one? What if it needs to start at a different number? No problem.
Click on the first one, and then option or alt click on that button one more time, set the Mode pop-up menu to Start At, and then tell InDesign what you want this to start at. Maybe 237. Click OK and all those numbers update. Now, sure it's not everyday that you need to number a whole bunch of rows in a table, but when you need to, these tricks can get you there fast.
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