Join David Blatner for an in-depth discussion in this video Formatting cells, part of InDesign CC Essential Training (2015).
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- So far we've been exploring formatting a whole table. In this move, we'll take it a step furthur and look at both formatting the data inside the cells and then the cells themselves. I'm going to double-click on this table over here on the left. That switches to the Type tool, and now I'm going to zoom in to 200% by pressing cmd + 2 or ctrl + 2 on Windows. I'd like to format this first row, these headers up here. Now, you'll remember that each cell in the table acts like its own miniature text frame, so I can actually select over this text if I want to.
If I drag over all the text, then the entire cell gets selected. You can format the text inside of a cell by selecting it or selecting the cell itself. Either one works. In this case, I wanna select all four of those cells, so I'm gonna click with the black arrow to the left of the row. Now all of them are selected, so I can change them all at the same time. First, let's change the font. I'm gonna come up here to the Control panel and change the font to, say, akt, yes, Aktiv Grotesk. That's the one I want, but I want it to be bold, so I'm gonna choose this extra bold style.
Now let's make that a little bit smaller. I'll press the Tab key twice to jump to the Text Size field and then let's make this much smaller, maybe seven points. Then I'll hit Tab again to jump to Leading, and let's make this, say, 8.5 points. Now I'll hit Return or Enter. When you have cells selected in a table, you'll notice that the Control panel gives you kind of a mishmash of character formatting, paragraph formatting, and cell formatting. So up here, right next to Size and Leading, is my Horizontal Alignment.
Let's go ahead and center those paragraphs inside each cell. That's good, but now I wanna change the formatting of the cells. Let's make the cells a different color. Right now, if I click off here, you can see they're just white. So I'm gonna go ahead and select them again. Then I'm going to open my Swatches panel, and I'm going to fill these with a color, say, this purple color. It's kind of annoying that when you click purple they show up as green. That's because green is the inverse of purple, but if I click off here on one of these cells, you can see they really are purple.
All right, that looks pretty good. Oh, one more thing. Let's change the color of the text to white. I'll go back and select the row. Now I'll click on this little T icon inside the Swatches panel. That makes the color apply to the text instead of the cell itself. Then I'll click on Paper. Now I'll click out here, and you can see that we have white text on top of a purple background. Now let's turn our attention to the strokes in between each of these cells. I like the white strokes down in the bottom part of the table, but I don't like them up here in the header.
I wanna get rid of those. I also wanna get rid of that big, thick black border along the bottom. So how do we get rid of those? Well, once again, I'm gonna select the entire row, and I'll head back up to the Control panel, and I wanna pay attention to this really weird looking icon up here, this thing that looks like it has a blue frame around it. When it comes to formatting table, it's really important that you understand what this icon represents. Each of these blue lines represents one of the strokes inside the current selection of cells, so the bottom line and the top line represent the bottommost and the topmost lines in the selection, not the whole table, just the selection.
Same thing with left and right. The left and right lines inside this icon represent the leftmost and the rightmost column strokes inside that selection. Now this line in the middle of the icon represents the middle strokes. In this case, that one line represents all three of these strokes down here, just the strokes in the middle of the selection. So if I want to change the strokes for each of those columns, I need to turn off all of those blue lines except for that one in the middle. Now you can turn on and off a stroke simply by clicking on the icon.
If I click once on that bottom stroke, it turns off. Click on it again and it turns on, but there's a little shortcut that you should know about, and that's double-clicking. Double-clicking turns on and off all the strokes on the outside, so if I double-click on that, now all of them are turned off at the same time. Triple-clicking turns on or off all the strokes in the icon. So, once again, I'll double-click to turn off all the outside strokes, and that leaves the one stroke in the middle highlighted. Now if I look over to the left, I can see that this stroke is colored Paper.
It's a one point Paper stroke, so if I wanna turn that off, all I have to do is click None, and then all of those strokes go away. Now I'm gonna turn that blue line off in the middle and turn the bottom one on. Remember, that represents the bottom stroke of the selection. Now you'll see that this one is set to one point Black. I'm gonna turn that off by setting the color of this to None as well. Now I'm gonna click out here, and we can see that all of those strokes went away They just disappeared, and I like it.
Now I wanna format this cell down here, the one with the word Loans in it. Remember, this is a merged cell. It currently goes across all four columns, so it acts like a single cell, and I'd like to make it a little bit more attractive because it's a section opener. So I'm gonna do all the same things I did before. I'll select it by clicking inside of it. Now the cursor is flashing inside the cell, but I'd like to select the whole cell itself. There's a shortcut to do that, and that's the Escape key on the keyboard. Hit Escape key once and now the cell is selected.
If I press Escape key again, it goes back to select the text inside the cell. That's a really handy shortcut to remember. Escape key goes back and forth between the text inside the cell and the cell itself. So let's go ahead and format this. I've selected the cell, and now I'm going to fill this with that purple color. I'll click on this and then click purple again. Notice that that changed the Tint from 20% to 100%. Then let's go ahead and change the Type color to Paper. Make that reversed out, and let's change the font as well just like before.
I'll set this one to the Aktiv Grotesk, and I'll make it extra bold. Now because this is a header, I'd like to make this cell a little bit taller, so I'm gonna head over to the upper right corner of the Control panel, and I'm gonna set this to, say, Exactly 30 points. When I hit the Return, you'll see that the row extends. It gets taller, but the text is still at the top. That doesn't look good. I wanna center that text inside the cell, and I can do that over in the middle of the Control panel by choosing one of these little icons.
This is the Vertical Alignment icon, and if I click Align Center, the text gets centered in the cell. That Align Center button is just like the Align Center feature inside the Text Frame Options dialog box, but in this case it applies only to the cell. Now there are a couple of things that you can do to cells that you cannot change in the Control panel. So I'm gonna head up to the Table menu, come down to Cell Options, and then choose Text. That goes directly to the Text tab of the Cell Options dialog box.
Here you can do things like change the text insets. Text insets are just like the text insets in the Text Frame Options dialog box. It lets you control how far in from the edge the text should be. I'm gonna make sure this little icon in the middle is unlinked, so I can change each one of these independently, and I'll change the Left indent here to, say, 20 points. Then I hit Tab, and you'll see that the text moves over 20 points, that is the left edge of the text is 20 points from the left edge of the cell. Let's click OK here and deselect that cell, and now we can see that this table is really coming along.
There's just one more thing I wanna show you, and that is how to put a graphic inside one of these cells.
Want to learn InDesign in just 20 minutes? Watch the first chapter, which concentrates on the most essential skills: editing text, adding graphics, moving objects, and creating PDFs. Once you're ready to move on, InDesign insider David Blatner will show you the rest of what InDesign has to offer. Learn how to navigate and customize the workspace, manage documents and pages, format text and graphics, experiment with color and gradients, draw and transform shapes, create interactive documents, package your designs for print, and much more.
- Getting started with InDesign in just 30 minutes
- Setting up a new document
- Inserting text
- Placing graphics
- Formatting objects
- Creating color and gradient swatches
- Organizing InDesign projects with layers
- Transforming objects
- Incorporating drop caps, bullets, and numbering
- Applying character and object styles
- Building tables
- Creating an interactive PDF and exporting to EPUB
- Printing and exporting