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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.
We know it's very easy to apply solid color fills to table cells using either the Swatches panel or the Strokes and Fills dialog. We can also apply gradients to table cells the same way, but gradients don't get applied exactly the way we might like. Let's take a look. I have a few gradients set up in this document and I'm going to open the Swatches panel, and pull it over here, so we can it a little bit more clearly, and I have three gradients. One goes from just one color to another, and then I have one that goes from one color to another, and then back again, our A-B-A_gradient, and then we have a radial gradient.
I'm going to switch to the Type tool by pressing the letter T and we'll go into Normal Mode, so that we can see what this looks like. If I select an entire row of this table and apply a gradient, we'll choose the A-B_gradient, doesn't look so bad. It goes from one color to another. Let's try our A-B-A_gradient. That looks pretty good too. But, the problem comes in if we try to apply it to a single column. I'll select this first column, and then apply the same gradient.
That's not exactly what I expected, because this is my A-B-A_gradient, I wanted it to go from green to yellow and back to green. That's just not what I wanted. The reason this problem comes up is that gradients applied to tables are really seeing the entire text frame that the table is sitting in. I'll show you what I mean. I'm going to select this text frame and apply that same gradient. Here is where the gradient is actually being applied, and you can see that in fact, that's what I got in that first row and this is what I got in that column which is not exactly what I wanted.
I'm going to undo that. There are a couples of ways that we can fix this. One which I'll show you now is to use the Gradient Swatch tool. I'm going to select this first column and then I'll choose the Gradient Swatch tool, and redirect the gradient. Now, that's more what I intended to have when I applied this particular gradient. So I can use the Gradient Swatch tool and I can even redirect the gradient altogether. So I'm going to go from top to bottom.
That's pretty interesting! But it's a lot of work. The only other thing we can do is create a new gradient, and adjust the color stops to try to fit the column. Let's look at another example. I'm going to hold down the Shift key, and press Page Down, and here is a table with no fills in it, no gradients, and I'm going to make a copy of our A-B_gradient. So I'll right mouse-click on the A-B _gradient and Duplicate the Swatch. Here, I have a copy and I'll go to Swatch Options and we'll rename this.
We'll call it gradient column. Now, I can move over these stops. So I'm going to select the row to begin with, and we're going to apply the original gradient. That's okay. Now again, if we apply that same gradient to the first column, that's not what we want. But, if we apply our new gradient, it's a little bit better. It goes from one color to the other which is much closer to what we wanted.
But, the problem with building a new gradient is it'll really only work in this column. If I try to apply it to another column, that's not what I wanted at all. And again, that's because this gradient is being applied or the gradient is seeing the entire text frame, and so we do have our color shift here. But, by the time we get to this location in the text frame, we're into this other color. So gradients can be used in tables, but they really work best when they're applied to cells that either span the width of a text frame, or if they're applied to an entire table.
For example, we can select this table, and apply our radial gradient and well it's interesting. It's fun to play around with gradients, but just be aware of these limitations as you add them to your tables.
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