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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.
If you use InDesign styles like paragraph and character styles, which hopefully you do, maybe object styles once in a while, table and cell styles are going to look pretty familiar to you. The basic approach is the same. But there are a couple of limitations in table and cell styles that I know really threw me off when I started trying to learn them and I wanted to share them with you. We're going to cover the details of the how-to and other videos in this chapter, but I wanted to point out a couple of things upfront, so that hopefully you won't get discouraged by trying to use table and cell styles. But, we'll end up really appreciating your power and speeding up your table formatting.
I'm going to open the Table Styles panel and that lives under the Window > Styles menu and here we can see I have one table style in this file. If I click on this table, that's the style that's applied to it. And just like other styles, we can right mouse-click to edit this style, and it has the same general setup with different things here that you can control. And table styles also let you include cell styles within the definition of the table style.
Just like with other styles in InDesign, we can even load table styles and cell styles from other documents. I'm going to choose from the Menu here, and choose Load Table and Cell Styles. We have a document here, that its only purpose is to let us load table styles from it. I'm going to open that document. Again, just like with other style types, we have a list here. This icon represents that these are table or cell styles and it also brings along any paragraph styles that are used in the table cells.
I am going to turn off Basic Table. I don't like to bring that over and I never like to bring over basic paragraph from another document, because you just don't know how those are defined. So with that, I'll click OK and now I have this second table in my panel, and so far, everything looks very familiar, and it is, because it works the same as other styles. I'm going to switch to the Type tool and I can select this table which has this style applied and simply click on this style, and it's applied. So that works really great. I'm going to go down to the second table, which is partially formatted and what's partially formatted in here is really important to understanding the limitations of table and cell styles, because what's formatted here is first of all, this row has been converted to a header row.
I know that because it says Convert to Body Rows, so it's already a header row. The other thing that's important to note that the formatting that's been done on this table includes the row height and column width. That's already been set and these two things are very important, because neither of them is something that you can incorporate into a table or cell style. So with this formatting already applied to this table, the header row designated, and the row height and column width set, I can simply click on this table, and apply a style, and it works great.
But, if I go down to this table at the bottom which doesn't have the header row designated and doesn't have the row height and column width set, when I apply the style, it's not quite such a satisfying experience. I am going to click on tide_table, and that's just not quite right. In order to make this table look right, I'm going to have to first of all, click on this top row and make it a header row, and then I'm going to have to set the row height and column width for the entire table. So I'm going to set that up here in the Control panel, and then I'd have to control or reset rather, or adjust the column width also.
So this doesn't really seem logical especially with the row height and column width. That's something that we think should be part of the styles, but it just isn't.But, I think if you approach table and cell styles knowing that the row height and column width is not part of the style, nor is the specification of which row is a header row or a footer row for that matter. Once you get your head around that or kind of get beyond it if you will, you can really find a lot of power in using table and cell styles. So table and cell styles are immensely useful.
But, if you try to learn how to use them without understanding these two basic table formatting attributes can't be set, it can make your experience very frustrating. Once you understand the limitations however, you can really start to enjoy the incredible power of working with table and cell styles which we're going to cover in detail in the other videos in this chapter.
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