Join David Blatner for an in-depth discussion in this video Formatting cells, part of InDesign CS6 Essential Training.
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In the last movie, we explored formatting a whole table. In this movie, we'll take it a step farther, and look at formatting both the data inside the cells, and then the cells themselves. I will press Command+2, or Control+2, and I'd like to format the cells in this header. To do that, I need the Type tool. So I will double-click inside the table; that switches to the Type tool automatically, and now I can select all of those cells in that row by clicking to the left of the row, where I have that little black arrow. The first thing I am going to do is change the font.
I can do that in the control panel. I will change the font here to Myriad Pro, and let's change this to Bold. Notice that because I made a change with a number of cells selected, that change is made in all the cells. We should probably make this a little bit smaller; that looks pretty good. Let's go ahead and center it. Now let's make the cells a different fill color. Right now, if I click off here, you can see that it's just white. So I am going to select all those cells again, and fill them, here in the control panel, with a color.
Let's choose this orange color; looks good. We can't see the orange color right now, because the cells are selected, so we actually see the inverse of the orange color, but I know that it really is orange. Now I want to change the text color to white. I can't change the text color inside the control panel. For that, I need the Swatches panel over here, because I need that little T icon: the formatting affects text, not the cells. I will click on that, then click on Paper, and we can see that, again, it's inverted, but it is white on orange.
In fact, why don't I click out here, and you can see, yes, it really is white on orange. We have formatted the text inside the cells, and we have given it a different fill color; now I want to turn my attention to the strokes. I see those white strokes in the columns, and I don't like those. I don't like that black line underneath it either. How do we get rid of those? Once again, I am going to set the entire row, and then I am going to pay attention to this weird looking icon in the control panel. When it comes to formatting tables, 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. The bottom and top lines represent the bottom and top lines, or strokes, in the current selection; not the table, just the selection. Same thing with left and right; those represent the strokes on the far left side of the selection, and the far right side of the selection. This line in the middle indicates that there are center column strokes: 1, 2, 3, 4 of them here. So if I want to change the strokes of those columns, then I need to turn off all these blue lines, except for that one in the middle.
There is a little shortcut you should know about, and that's triple-click. If I triple-click on the outside stroke, it turns off all of them. Now I can just click on the one in the middle. Right now, I can see that this stroke is set to white, so I am going to change that to None. The column stroke went away. Now I will turn that blue line off, and turn the one on at the bottom. That represents the bottom stroke, remember? I will set that to None as well. This time I will do it in Swatches panel. I will click the tab on the Swatches panel to make that go away, then click out here, and we can see that the strokes disappeared. I like it.
Now I am going to format this cell at the very bottom; this Drawing & Applied Arts. It's a merged cell, it goes all the way across the whole table, but I want to make it a little bit more attractive, because this is a section opener. I am going to do some of the same things I did before. I'll change the color; this time I want this to be kind of a dark blue. I'll change the text inside of it to white, because I like that reversed out effect. I am going to change that font to Myriad Pro Bold again. Let's make it a little bit bigger, and I will click out here, and see how it looks.
I didn't get quite the solid blue I expected. I'll select that one more time, and I can see that in the Swatches panel, the Tint field at that top was set to 15%. I'm not sure why that happened, but we can fix it; set it to a 100%. Let's close the Swatches panel, and click out. Because it's a section start, I want it to be even bigger; taller than it currently is. So I will select that cell, and up at the right side of the control panel, I am going to change the height of this to be Exactly, something bigger, let's say 30 points.
The problem is that text is all bunched up here at the top. I want it centered. I can fix that in the control panel as well. I can click on the Align center button. That Align center is just like the Align center inside the Text Frame Options, but in this case, it applies only to the cell. There are a couple of things you can do to cells that you can't change in the control panel. So instead, I am going to go to the Table menu, and choose Cell Options. Then I will choose Text, and inside the Cell Options dialog box, you have a lot more control. For example, you can change your text insets. That's just like text insets in the Text Frame Options dialog box.
It lets you control how far from the edge the text should be. I am going to change the Left edge to be bigger; let's say 15 points. I will hit Tab, and you can see it moves the text over. Now the Left edge will be exactly 15 points over from the left edge of the cell. Now, the big problem that I'm seeing here is that this is a section start, but it's separated from the section that it's supposed to be with; that is on the next page. So I am going to go to the Rows and Columns tab, and I'm going to turn on the Keep with Next Row checkbox.
When I turn that on, you will see it disappears. That's because the Preview checkbox is turned on, so I am seeing all these effects happen in real time. Click OK, and I will zoom out to fit the spreaded in window with Command+Option+0, or Control+Alt+0, and you can see that it actually moved up here to the next page. Let's click off of it, and we can see that that does look like the section start that I wanted. This table is really coming together now, but if it took this long to format just one table, what are we are going to do if we have a bunch of tables? Well, that's where table styles comes in.
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