InDesign Tables In Depth
Illustration by John Hersey

InDesign Tables In Depth

with Diane Burns

Video: Simplifying complex text frames with tables

InDesign tables don't always have to look like Excel spreadsheets and their unique characteristics can be used to solve layout problems that don't even look like tables. Here is an example, this is a design element used by a financial institution throughout all of their collateral. It appears in hundreds of places. The thing is this large interest rate number gets updated everyday constantly and the designers have to do it. Problem is if we look at how this was built, and I will switch from Preview into Normal mode, it is a veritable rat's nest of frames and it's really hard to get in here to select that frame that has the interest rate number in it.
Expand all | Collapse all
  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

Start your free trial now, and begin learning software, business and creative skills—anytime, anywhere—with video instruction from recognized industry experts.

Start Your Free Trial Now
please wait ...
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

Simplifying complex text frames with tables

InDesign tables don't always have to look like Excel spreadsheets and their unique characteristics can be used to solve layout problems that don't even look like tables. Here is an example, this is a design element used by a financial institution throughout all of their collateral. It appears in hundreds of places. The thing is this large interest rate number gets updated everyday constantly and the designers have to do it. Problem is if we look at how this was built, and I will switch from Preview into Normal mode, it is a veritable rat's nest of frames and it's really hard to get in here to select that frame that has the interest rate number in it.

I am clicking, holding down the Command or Ctrl key, trying to click into frames here. Am I close, maybe that's it? Well, finally got it. Very frustrating and very time-consuming. We can make this sort of thing very easy to work with by using a table. If we create is using a table, it will look exactly like this but it'll be really easy to edit, because that interest rate number will be sitting in its own nice neat little table cell. The first thing we have to do if we want to create a table, especially, when it doesn't look like a table is figure out how many rows and columns we are going to need,.

I created a little overlay layer to help us visualize that a little more clearly. I can see we are going to need three rows and two columns. We will need one row for the percentage sign, another row for the APY text and a third row for that little text blurb at the bottom. We will need two columns, one for the interest rate number in the blurb and another for the % sign in the APY text. These dotted lines that you see here represent where we are going to merge the cells. So three rows and two columns, I'll turn that overlay off now, we don't need that anymore, and I have already created a text frame where we can insert our table.

I am going to go the Table menu and use the Insert Table command, and I need three rows and two columns. It's already set, click OK and here's our basic table. Now the first thing I am going to do is select these two cells where that interest rate number needs to go, and I'm in a right mouse click and merge them. Then I will select where the blurb goes and merge those two cells. Next, I need to make a couple of formatting changes here.

In the Cell Text Options I want to set all the Insets to 0. We want all the text to be able to bud- up right against the edge of each cell. The next thing I am going to do is turn off all of the Strokes, this is a stroke less table and the way I do that of course, is to set the Weight to 0. Now I need to start changing the size of some of these cells to make room for the information we need to put in them. I am going to drag this row down to make room for that interest rate number and move it over here.

I am going to type in just some placeholder text for now and I have made some character styles to apply the formatting, ah! European style, let's make that a decimal. Then in this cell goes our percentage sign, and in fact, let me scroll over a little bit so we can see our other example there, underneath that the APY text, and I have got character styles for both of those. Let's format the % sign. There we go, wrong character style, and I will select the APY text and apply that character style and then I'm just going to select this blurb and copy it into the clipboard, and then we'll paste that in here.

We are done with the character styles. Now looking at this I can see the spacing is definitely off, but it's really easy to fix. I'm going to bring the % sign and APY text over closer to the interest rate number by just pulling the site of the interest rate cell over. The interest rate and APY text are too tight here, and again, I am going to increase the spacing by just pulling down the bottom of the cell, this text is too far away, there we go, little more tweaking there. Now I will bring the edge of the table in, just to tidy things up, doesn't get any easier than that.

I mean all you have to do to change the spacing is move the edge of the cell around, fantastic! Now we have this interest rate number in its own little cell and it's really-really easy to edit, no frustration whatsoever. The last thing we will do to format our little element here is to put it in a frame with a rounded corner. Now tables don't have their own built-in feature for rounded corners unfortunately, but it's very easy to create that kind of effect. I have already drawn a frame with rounded corners and we're going to basically used the paste into command and put the table inside this frame.

I will tighten up the text frame by double-clicking on its corner and then I'm going to cut the table into the clipboard, Command+X or Ctrl+X I will click on this frame and instead of using the Paste command, Paste Into is the command that we want here. Now the table is inside this frame, but I can move it around by just grabbing the Content Grabber in CS5. 5 or in CS4, CS5, I can just use the direct Select tool. The table is still completely editable.

So as interest rates go up, we can make the change quickly. Finally, I'll bring our little pumpkin into place and there we go, let's setback our Preview mode. So both these things look the same, but there's one important difference, the one on the right that we just created is in a table and it's a really easy to edit. That's the important difference. If interest rates go up or down, we are there. So this is just one example, but anytime you have a grid where you have to go in and edit the text a lot, think about using a table for that, because by putting text into individual cells, it makes it really easy to get into those cells and edit your text.

There are currently no FAQs about InDesign Tables In Depth.

 
Share a link to this course

What are exercise files?

Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course. Save time by downloading the author's files instead of setting up your own files, and learn by following along with the instructor.

Can I take this course without the exercise files?

Yes! If you decide you would like the exercise files later, you can upgrade to a premium account any time.

Become a member Download sample files See plans and pricing

Please wait... please wait ...
Upgrade to get access to exercise files.

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Learn by watching, listening, and doing, Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along Premium memberships include access to all exercise files in the library.


Exercise files

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

For additional information on downloading and using exercise files, watch our instructional video or read the instructions in the FAQ .

This course includes free exercise files, so you can practice while you watch the course. To access all the exercise files in our library, become a Premium Member.

Join now Already a member? Log in

* Estimated file size

Are you sure you want to mark all the videos in this course as unwatched?

This will not affect your course history, your reports, or your certificates of completion for this course.


Mark all as unwatched Cancel

Congratulations

You have completed InDesign Tables In Depth.

Return to your organization's learning portal to continue training, or close this page.


OK
Become a member to add this course to a playlist

Join today and get unlimited access to the entire library of video courses—and create as many playlists as you like.

Get started

Already a member ?

Exercise files

Learn by watching, listening, and doing! Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along. Exercise files are available with all Premium memberships. Learn more

Get started

Already a Premium member?

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Ask a question

Thanks for contacting us.
You’ll hear from our Customer Service team within 24 hours.

Please enter the text shown below:

The classic layout automatically defaults to the latest Flash Player.

To choose a different player, hold the cursor over your name at the top right of any lynda.com page and choose Site preferences from the dropdown menu.

Continue to classic layout Stay on new layout
Exercise files

Access exercise files from a button right under the course name.

Mark videos as unwatched

Remove icons showing you already watched videos if you want to start over.

Control your viewing experience

Make the video wide, narrow, full-screen, or pop the player out of the page into its own window.

Interactive transcripts

Click on text in the transcript to jump to that spot in the video. As the video plays, the relevant spot in the transcript will be highlighted.

Learn more, save more. Upgrade today!

Get our Annual Premium Membership at our best savings yet.

Upgrade to our Annual Premium Membership today and get even more value from your lynda.com subscription:

“In a way, I feel like you are rooting for me. Like you are really invested in my experience, and want me to get as much out of these courses as possible this is the best place to start on your journey to learning new material.”— Nadine H.

Thanks for signing up.

We’ll send you a confirmation email shortly.


Sign up and receive emails about lynda.com and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

Keep up with news, tips, and latest courses with emails from lynda.com.

Sign up and receive emails about lynda.com and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

   
submit Lightbox submit clicked
Terms and conditions of use

We've updated our terms and conditions (now called terms of service).Go
Review and accept our updated terms of service.