InDesign Tables In Depth
Illustration by John Hersey

Rotating text in a cell


From:

InDesign Tables In Depth

with Diane Burns

Video: Rotating text in a cell

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.
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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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Watch the Online Video Course InDesign Tables In Depth
3h 26m Intermediate Jan 13, 2012

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

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.

Topics include:
  • Navigating and selecting tables
  • Positioning tables
  • Inserting and deleting rows and columns
  • Adding header and footer rows, fills, strokes, and borders
  • Dealing with overset text
  • Applying cell and table styles
  • Using tables to streamline graphic design work
  • Creating infographics with tables
  • Creating pull quotes and design objects using tables
  • Exporting tables to EPUB and HTML
Subject:
Design
Software:
InDesign
Author:
Diane Burns

Rotating text in a cell

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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