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Let's make this table look a tad bit better. A basic tool for formatting a table is the Table Options dialog box, and you can get there by placing your text cursor anywhere inside your table. I'll just double-click on that, then I'll go to the Table menu, and choose Table Options. Here I'll choose Table Setup, and up comes a Table Options dialog box. There are a lot of controls in this dialog box, but we are just going to take a look at the most important ones. You can change your Table Dimensions up at the top if you want; in other words, add or remove columns or rows, but I'm going to focus on the Table Border. That is, what does the border look like around the outside edges of my table? Right now, I have a 1 point black stroke around the outside edges of this table, and I am going to change it to have no stroke.
I don't want to have a stroke around the edge of my table here; it looks clunky. To do that, I change the Color to None. The Table Spacing value lets me control the spacing before or after the table. Remember, tables are always anchored in a text flow, so the Space Before and After is just like spacing before and after of a paragraph. Now in this case, I don't have any text before or after the table, but I'm still going to change this, just in case I happen to add some later. Let's go look at some of the other tabs along the top of this dialog box. I am going to jump over here to Fills, because that's most fun, and I am going to change the Alternating panel of this table to Every Other Row.
When I do that, you can see immediately, every other row in the table gets changed to a gray. Gray is not very interesting. Let's go ahead and change that to color, and I'll choose kind of an orange color. I want the first row to be a little bit lighter, let's say 15%, and then I want the second row, or every other row, to be the same color, but a darker percentage; let's say 30%. Next, let's tackle the strokes; the strokes that go in between every row, and every column.
The problem is that when I look at this table right now, all I'm seeing is these blue lines. Those are the frame edges that show where the columns and rows are. I can't see the actual strokes themselves. So, I am going to click OK, and why don't me zoom in on this, so we can see it better, with a Command+2, or Control+2 on Windows. You see all those blue lines there? Not helpful when you're formatting a table. So I am going to go up to the View menu, and choose Extras, and turn off the frame edges; Hide Frame Edges. Now I can't see these blue lines; I just see the strokes themselves.
Back to Table > Table Options > Table Setup, let's move this out of the way a little bit, and I am going to go to my Row Strokes. What do I want to have between every row in my table? Right now, I just have a thick 1 point black line, but in fact, I don't actually want to have any strokes there. Now, you'd think that InDesign would make that easy to just turn those off, but it's a little bit tweaky. We have to turn on an Alternating Pattern, and then set the Alternating Pattern to be None. In other words, I'll set the first row to be None, and then I'll set the second row to be None, and now they all go away.
I don't need strokes, because I'm using the Alternating Fill. Now let's do columns. In this case, I want to have the same stroke in between each one of them, but I want to make them white instead of black. Once again, I can't do it to every stroke; I have to make it alternating. So the first one is going to be a 1 point Paper stroke, and then the Alternating ones, the every other one, is also going to be 1 point, and Paper white. I'll click OK, and go back to fit the spread in the window with a Command+Option+0, or Control+Alt+0. And I can see that this is looking pretty good, except this header.
This header only shows up on the left page, and I'd also like to see it on the right page, right there at the top. Can I do that? Absolutely! I need to turn it into a header row, and to do that, I select it by clicking to the left with the Type tool, go to the Table menu, and choose Convert Rows > To Header. As soon as I do that, you see the header shows up on the right page as well. I'll click out here in some other cell, and you'll see that those exact same cells on the header show up on both pages now.
This could be a 50 page long table, and I'd still have the header on every single page. Now this table is definitely looking a lot better already, but there's more work to be done. The next step is to format the data in the cells, and then look at how to apply custom formatting to individual cells.
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