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So now we've learned how to format tables in some detail, but if you had a lot of tables to format, it would be really tedious to go through this process for each and every one of them. Fortunately, InDesign has a feature called table styles, and cell styles, and these let you apply lots of table formatting with a single click. I'll select this text frame inside my 15F exercise file, and I'm going to zoom in to 200%. When you're creating table styles, and cell styles, it's very important that you start with paragraph styles, and my art director has told me I've used the wrong paragraph style in all of these cells down here; these body cells.
So I'm going to select a few of those, go to the Paragraph Styles panel, and I'm going to click on body. That's the one I'm supposed to have been using. That looks pretty good. Now let's go ahead and create new paragraph styles for some of the other elements inside of my table; for example, the header. Right now, these are just formatted with local formatting on top of the Basic Paragraph style. That's not good. So I'm going to go to the Paragraph Styles panel while that cursor is inside some of that text, I'll say New Paragraph Style, and I'm going to call this course table head.
You can call it anything you want of course. I'll click OK, and it creates the paragraph style for me. I also see that, in my table, I have some section headers that I made. So I'll place my cursor in there, go to my Paragraph Styles panel, and make a new paragraph style for that. Now I have the three basic paragraph styles that I'm going to be using inside this table, so now I'm going to open the Cell Styles panel. I can get there by going to the Window menu, choosing from the Styles submenu, Cell Styles. You're going to be tempted to jump to the Table Styles panel first, but don't do it; start with Paragraph Styles, then go to Cell Styles, and then we'll go to Table Styles in just a minute.
I already have a few cell styles set up here, but I'm going to create some new ones. To make a cell style, I click inside one of the cells that I want to copy, and I go to Cell Styles panel flyout menu, and choose New Cell Style. I'm going to call this course table body. Now, before I click OK, it's very important that I choose a paragraph style here. I'm going to choose body. In other words, whenever the cell style called course table body is applied, it will also apply the body paragraph style.
Now let's do it to the header. I'll click inside one of the header cells, and make a new cell style for that. Paragraph style needs to be the one that I just created. Because I don't know exactly where in my table the section starts are going to be -- they'll change from table to table -- I cannot add those to my table style. I can only add my regular body cells, and the head cells. So now I'm going to go to the Table Style, and create my table style; click at the New Table Style, and I'm going to call it my course table.
Here's the key to it all: at the bottom of this dialog box, I can choose Cell Styles, and I'm going to say the Header Rows, any time I have a header row, make sure it looks like a cell style called course table header. My Body Rows should be course table body. Notice that I can also choose different Cell Styles for my left column, that is, the leftmost column in my table, or the rightmost column in my table, but in this case, I don't have anything special for those, so I'm going to leave them alone. Click OK, and you can now see that I have a table style called course table.
When I click on that table style, it's going to apply it to the entire table, even these cells down here that do not currently have those cell styles applied to them. Let's try it. Click. Oh, that looks great! Now, as I said, the section starts are not technically part of the table styles, because it doesn't know where in my table those are, but I can see one right up here at the top. So I'll click inside that cell, go back to my Cell Styles panel, and I'll click on -- oops! I don't have one of yet. I forgot to make my cell style for my section, so I better go do that.
Click inside one of these cells, come up here, and say this is going to be my course table section start, and this one is going to apply the Paragraph Style called course table section. Now I'm ready to go; section, and section. There we go. Now it automatically applied that section to this cell. Now for the ultimate test: can we apply this table style to a brand new table? I'm going to zoom out to 100% with Command+1 or Control+1. I'll create a new text frame with the Type tool, and then I'm going to place a Word document that has a table in it. Place; here we go. The data.docx.
Bring that in, and you can see I have a table waiting to be formatted. All I have to do now is click inside the table, go back to the Table Styles panel, and click. Now, it's important to remember that table styles and cell styles only remember formatting; they don't remember structure. For example, in this case, it doesn't know that the first row here should be a header row, so I have to do that manually. I'll click inside this row, or select it, go to the Table menu, and say convert this to a header.
Suddenly it looks a little bit better, because InDesign now knows that first row is a header row. The table style also doesn't remember things like how wide these columns should be, so I'm going to have to do those manually. Come over here, drag this over, change this; you get the idea. So ultimately, table styles aren't perfect; they don't remember everything, so you still have to do some work manually. But ultimately, they can still shave hours of work off a project.
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