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Using Cut and Paste to update table data

From: InDesign Tables In Depth

Video: Using Cut and Paste to update table data

There any number of reasons you may need to update the information in an InDesign table. If the original table source was an Excel or Word table document, you can link to those documents and update them via the Links panel which we discussed in the previous video. But sometimes the information you need to update isn't in an Excel file or a Word table document, maybe it came as an e-mail attachment or from a website, or maybe you don't really need to update an entire table, you just need to change a few rows or columns. Fortunately there's a pretty good alternative to linking files, turns out, InDesign is pretty smart about letting you cut and paste to tab delimited text into a table, and actually in some ways it's easier than updating a linked file, in fact, if your table is not that large, and if your workflow is such that you can do it, I think this method is a bit better.

Using Cut and Paste to update table data

There any number of reasons you may need to update the information in an InDesign table. If the original table source was an Excel or Word table document, you can link to those documents and update them via the Links panel which we discussed in the previous video. But sometimes the information you need to update isn't in an Excel file or a Word table document, maybe it came as an e-mail attachment or from a website, or maybe you don't really need to update an entire table, you just need to change a few rows or columns. Fortunately there's a pretty good alternative to linking files, turns out, InDesign is pretty smart about letting you cut and paste to tab delimited text into a table, and actually in some ways it's easier than updating a linked file, in fact, if your table is not that large, and if your workflow is such that you can do it, I think this method is a bit better.

Here we have a table that needs to be updated and the updates are in a tab delimited file. The first step is we are going to a place that file on the pasteboard, so I'm going to zoom out and switch from Preview to Normal mode, so that we can see the pasteboard. Using the File Place command I will select the file and I'm going to just click and drag and position it over on the pasteboard. Let's zoom in and take a look at this. Couple of things you need to keep in mind is first the information in your text file needs to be Tab Delimited, Comma Delimited text won't work, but that's not such a big deal.

If the information that you need to use to update your table is comma delimited, just place it on the pasteboard and then use Find Change to find comma and change to a tab character. But it's got to be tab delimited. And also you need to select the same number of data fields that is the text in between each tab character the number of bits of information or the number of tabs has to match the number of cells that you're pasting into, or at least, if you're trying to for example, replace an entire row, things have to match up, if there is a field missing it's going to miss a line in your table.

So I am just going to replace all the text in this table with the text from this file and I'll have my blinking cursor in the text so I will select all with Command+A or Ctrl+A and we will copy this into the clipboard. I'm going to move over to the table and by the way this table is formatted with paragraph styles but it uses only local formatting for the tables there are no table or cell styles applied to it. Now I'm going to click in the first cell and select the text and then I'm going to paste, I am going to use the keyboard shortcut, Command+V or Ctrl+V not good the dreaded overset symbol, but that's okay, this is not the correct way to paste information into a table.

I am going to undo that, Command+Z or Ctrl+Z. The way to paste text into a table is to select an entire cell, you can actually just select the first cell in the range of the text that you want to replace, as I've been here by pressing the Escape key. Now we will paste this text into the table, Command+V or Ctrl+V and the text comes in, the table formatting is there, but all of my text formatting is lost. Well, I could reapply paragraph styles and what have you, but that's a lot of work.

There's actually a better way to do this. I am going to undo this, Command+Z or Ctrl+Z.And instead of using the paste command, I'm going to use the wonderful, Paste Without Formatting command, this is a command you should really be aware of when you're copying and pasting text into your InDesign file whether it's in tables are not. If I use this command, all of the text is replaced, we've gone from European countries to Asian countries, and because I pasted the text without taking any formatting from the text that I am pasting into this table, all the formatting is there and guess what, I am done, pretty nice huh? And I didn't even have to apply any Table or cell styles.

Now I can use Table or cell styles. In fact, we are going to look at a few more examples of how to cut and paste text with a table that is styled. I am going to turn to the next page using Shift and Page Down, and this table is just like the other one, but it's been styled with a table style. I'll select the text and let's open our Table Styles panel and it's a standard table style. If we take a look at it, it has table level formatting, but it also has some cell styles designated here.

And if we look at the cell styles, they have that very important attribute of assigning a paragraph style to the table. But as I say in this case we don't really gain an advantage with our formatting by applying a Style. However, it's still a good practice, because we can always use the style if the need to apply it to a table with different information in this document, right? Now I already have the text over here on the pasteboard. It's the same text that we used before. I will get this panel out of the way and one thing that's really great about copying or cutting and pasting text into the table is you don't have to replace the entire table, like you do when you update a linked Excel file.

I am going to select just these last two rows here and copy the text into the clipboard, Command+C or Ctrl+C, and I'll select just this first cell. I know that this is the last two rows of the table and instead of pasting. I am going to Paste Without Formatting the keyboard shortcut is Shift+Command+V or Shift+Ctrl+V, so it just adds the Shift key to the paste command you're accustomed to, and there we go, those two rows are updated and we are done. How about that? That didn't hurt at all.

It turns out using just good old cut and paste can really take a lot of the sting out of updating table data. And at the same time, it maintains all the text and the table formatting. I like that.

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This video is part of

Image for InDesign Tables In Depth
InDesign Tables In Depth

38 video lessons · 12752 viewers

Diane Burns
Author

 
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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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