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Converting tables to graphics for export

From: InDesign Tables In Depth

Video: Converting tables to graphics for export

When you export your InDesign table to HTML or EPUB the table structure will be maintained, but not a whole a lot of the formatting will come over. You have to fix that in the CSS code, if you know CSS that is. Another way to export a table is to convert it to an image. Then it'll look exactly as it does in your InDesign layout, complete with the formatting. How well that will work though partly depends on the size of your table, because especially if you're exporting to EPUB the size of the table is going to be determined by the screen size of the Reader and if the table resizes for smaller screen or smaller browser window the type can be scaled so much that you actually can't read anymore.

Converting tables to graphics for export

When you export your InDesign table to HTML or EPUB the table structure will be maintained, but not a whole a lot of the formatting will come over. You have to fix that in the CSS code, if you know CSS that is. Another way to export a table is to convert it to an image. Then it'll look exactly as it does in your InDesign layout, complete with the formatting. How well that will work though partly depends on the size of your table, because especially if you're exporting to EPUB the size of the table is going to be determined by the screen size of the Reader and if the table resizes for smaller screen or smaller browser window the type can be scaled so much that you actually can't read anymore.

And of course if you export your table as an image it means it's not searchable in any case. But for some situations this is a viable solution, especially if you're working with smaller tables. I'm going to show you two ways to do this. The first method can be done in CS4, CS5, or CS5.5. The second way I'll show is CS5.5 only. The first step to converting your table to an image is to select it and remove it from the main text flow. You'll see my blinking cursors to the right of the table here. So I'm going to hold down the Shift key and press the left-arrow key and that selects the table.

Now I'm going to cut it out of the text flow, Command+X or Ctrl+X, and then I'll just scroll over a little bit and make a text frame to paste the table into. The next step is an important one. I want to make sure that the text frame is really snug against the table. That's because the entire text frame is going to be exported as an image so I don't I want any extra white space around it. Next with the table still selected I'm going to go to my File > Export Options, and the best format for export is really JPEG. I'll save this to the desktop.

The thing we have in JPEG Export is that we can export just the selection here. We can also change other image settings such as the resolution and so forth. I'm just going to export this and now we'll bring it back into our InDesign table. I'm going to place that file and we will just double-click and bring it out on the pasteboard. I do have to anchor this back into my text flow so that it'll be in the right order, especially in CS4 and CS5. So let's cut it to the clipboard, Command+X or Ctrl+X and then I'll click back in that paragraph where the table was before and paste.

So now my layout looks exactly as it did before it's just that the table is an image. When you're using this method by the way it's really important to keep your original table so you have to do any edits, you have the original table, and then you can just re-export it as a JPEG with your edits in it. Now we're ready to export. I'm going to use the keyboard shortcut Comman+E or Ctrl+E, and this time we're going to export as HTML. I could export it as an EPUB, but HTML is a little easier to see, and an EPUB after all is really just a flavor of an HTML file and the CSS in a zip rapper.

So let's click Save. I want to export the document and let's check the image settings. One very important thing we want to look at here is the image size. We have a choice of the image being exported in a Fixed size or Relative to the Page, and Relative to the Page is usually what we want. When the pages resized or when it's viewed in a different Reader we want the table to scale with it. Let's export this and see what we have. There we go! There is our table. Formatting is all there, but it is an image and you can see that it's the browser window changes size the table does as well, and if this window gets really small you can see that the table might become unreadable altogether.

If you're going to use this technique, it might be a good idea to actually make some of the type in your table bigger than when you export it and if the table scaled down it might be a little bit easier to read. The next method I want to show you for converting your images is CS5.5 only. I'm going to click and delete this JPEG image we just put in here, and we still need our original table as a separate object. We need to take it out of the main text flow. So it's already on the pasteboard here, I'm going to select it. And in CS5.5 we have this great Object Export Options dialog, and under the tab for EPUB and HTML we can choose Custom Rasterization, which basically takes whatever object we have selected and converts it to an image.

In this case for us a JPEG. Now when I close the dialog box the last step is that I need to anchor this table in the text flow. In CS5.5 of course we need only grab this little blue icon and drag it right into position here. Let's export this again. I'm going to just right over the file that was already there. We'll check our Image Settings, make sure we have relative to page and here we go, and we have the exact same result.

So you can see in CS5.5 especially it's pretty easy to convert your tables to images for export. If you're going to go this route instead of tweaking the CSS code it's just one more reason to upgrade.

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This video is part of

Image for InDesign Tables In Depth
InDesign Tables In Depth

38 video lessons · 12700 viewers

Diane Burns
Author

 
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  1. 1m 21s
    1. Introduction
      49s
    2. Using the exercise files
      32s
  2. 11m 20s
    1. The three "Golden Rules"
      2m 45s
    2. Accessing table commands
      2m 20s
    3. Navigating and selecting tables
      3m 14s
    4. Where do tables come from?
      3m 1s
  3. 1h 2m
    1. Positioning tables in a text frame
      5m 38s
    2. Setting table borders
      6m 3s
    3. Inserting and deleting rows and columns
      5m 22s
    4. Setting header and footer rows
      3m 20s
    5. Working with alternating strokes and fills
      7m 35s
    6. Setting row height and column width
      7m 13s
    7. Formatting text in a cell
      4m 51s
    8. Positioning text in a cell
      3m 50s
    9. Mastering row and column strokes
      11m 31s
    10. Working with cell fills
      4m 28s
    11. Setting diagonal lines in tables
      2m 57s
  4. 22m 55s
    1. Merging and splitting cells
      4m 16s
    2. Creating tables with rounded-corner borders
      5m 33s
    3. Rotating text in a cell
      6m 13s
    4. Using gradients in tables
      4m 28s
    5. Dealing with overset text
      2m 25s
  5. 25m 55s
    1. Understanding the limitations of table and cell styles
      4m 28s
    2. Setting up and applying cell styles
      8m 21s
    3. Setting up and applying table styles
      7m 15s
    4. Using cell styles to "clean up" table styles
      5m 51s
  6. 18m 13s
    1. Working with linked files
      11m 55s
    2. Using Cut and Paste to update table data
      6m 18s
  7. 16m 41s
    1. Placing images in tables
      8m 33s
    2. Using graphics frames in tables
      8m 8s
  8. 16m 54s
    1. Using shapes to change cell corners
      8m 2s
    2. Creating infographics with tables
      8m 52s
  9. 17m 36s
    1. Simplifying complex text frames with tables
      5m 59s
    2. Setting up images and captions with tables
      6m 33s
    3. Creating pull quotes and design objects using tables
      5m 4s
  10. 12m 2s
    1. Comparing table styling for best export results
      6m 58s
    2. Converting tables to graphics for export
      5m 4s
  11. 50s
    1. Next steps
      50s

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