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This course explores the powerful but occasionally mysterious table features in InDesign, illustrating how they can be used efficiently and to their best advantage. Author Diane Burns demonstrates how to set up a table, format it using Table commands, and capture that formatting in table styles as well as how to work with images and update the information in tables without losing formatting. The course also shows how to use tables that don’t look like tables to offer solutions to layout problems, like setting up images and captions or simplifying complex text frames.
Sometimes our table design calls for text in the table headings or other cells to be rotated. InDesign makes it really easy to rotate text at 90 degree increments. I'm going to switch from Preview to Normal mode, and let's select these cells in the table to rotate to 90 degree increments. We rotate text using Text > Cell Options, and in the lower corner of this dialog box we have a Text Rotation dialogue. It's currently set to 0, I can rotate the text into 90 degree, but you see I've created text overset.
Even though this row was set to grow set to the At Least setting, I still get text overset. But it's pretty easy to fix. I can just grab this bottom row stroke and pull it down and there we go. But that's not really the direction I wanted the text rotated in. So we'll go back to our Cell Options Text dialog and the choices we have our 90, a 180 degrees, oh, upside down or 270 degrees which is the same really as -90 degrees, and that's really what we want.
When we rotate text at 90 degree increments, in this case -90 degrees, the paragraph alignment works at a 90 degree angle as well. In fact, if you look carefully at the text cursor the baseline is perpendicular to what would normally be the baseline of the cell. So what that means is that what is normally the left alignment will be at the bottom of the cell and right alignment goes to the top of the cell, and centered of course stays centered.
As far as our Cell Options for alignment go, the orientation of the cell insets doesn't change. In other words, the bottom insets are still at the bottom of the cell and the left is still to the left, but the vertical justification is rotated as well. So you need to kind of turn your head to a 90 degree angle and then you'll understand that Align Top is actually going to move this text to the left and Align Bottom will move it to the right.
And centered is still centered of course. Those are our options for rotating text in InDesign. However, one thing that people really want to do most often with rotating text or very often I should say is to rotate it at a 45 degree angle. For that we need a little trick of the trade that I'm going to show you now. I'm going to turn to the next page using Shift and Page Down and we have this same table here and I'll zoom out a little bit. If you need text rotated at a 45 degree angle, there is no automatic command and there are couple of different tricks you can do to try to force InDesign into it, but this is the one I like the best.
Especially, for tables that aren't too large or complicated it's not a bad solution I think. First, I'm going to select this table and I'm going to separate the header row from the rest of the table. In this way I'm going to thread them. So I'm rolling up the text frame so that all I can see is the top row and then I get text overset in the text frame itself. I'll click to load the place cursor and then I'll just draw the rest of the table down below. Now I'm going to make this frame just a little bit larger and I'm going to switch to the Type tool and just drag down the bottom stroke of that row to make it taller.
The next step is where the trick comes in. I'm going to select this entire text frame and I'm going to skew it to a 45 degree angle. The table is still one table. It just happens to be threaded into text frames. If I pull the bottom of this frame down you'll see that first row come up. Wow! You can do some crazy stuff with that. But I'm going to roll this back up and choose the next steps to get the text in properly. I'm going to select all the text in this row and just delete it.
Over on the pasteboard you can see that I actually have all the header text, each bit of text in its own frame. I'm going to take one of the labels that we want to rotate at 45 degree and copy it into the clipboard, Command+C or Ctrl +C, and then click in the cell where I want it to be positioned. I'm going to paste it into place and you can see that it takes on the skewing angle of the text frame. Now I'm going to select this, you can see that it's anchored, we zoom in just a little bit, and I'm going to do two things to this text.
One, is I'm going to turn the skewing off by setting the skewing to 0. Then the next thing I'm going to do is rotate it 45 degree. There you go! So the idea here is that we take each bit of text, and yes, it's a little time consuming, but if this is the effect that you really need it's definitely one way to go. So again we paste this text in, we remove the skew effect that was picked up by setting the skew to 0, and then we put a 45 degree rotation on.
What about this first cell where I want text in there, but I don't want to rotate it. In that case I do the same thing, I'm going to copy and paste this in. I have a little text overset there. Let's get rid of that. And in this case I'm just going to remove the skewing from the text so it's sitting upright in the cell, but it's not rotated. I can select these cells and I can adjust the spacing. I'll open my Cell Options dialog and if I want to bring it a little closer to the bottom of these cells I just adjust the insets.
So you get the idea. I'm not going to do the entire table. It's a little bit of work, but the net result is that you can have a table that has headings rotated at 45 degrees. A little alignment and we're good to go. So you can see how easy it is to rotate text in a table cell at 90 degree increments. But if you need other angles, it's really good to know some of these little tricks of the trade.
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