Join Diane Burns for an in-depth discussion in this video Highlighting a column, part of InDesign Tables in Depth.
- InDesign tables are really flexible and you can use them for designing all kinds of information. Here's an example of various plans offered by a service provider. And the design challenge was to make one of the plans stand out as the plan to choose and the one the provider wants you to choose, of course. Well, there are different ways to do this and I wanted to share with you a couple of design ideas and techniques. They all involve tables, of course. I'm going to turn to the next page of this file and zoom back a little bit.
And let's switch out of Preview mode into Normal mode so we can see how this table was put together. This is a standard table with multiple rows and columns as you can see here. It has alternating fills, though different colors were applied in each column. It contains these buttons that are actually live buttons. They could be hooked up to go to a URL if you needed it to. And otherwise, the table thus far is pretty straightforward.
Now, one of the featured elements of this table are these text frames that are anchored in the top of these cells. I have one here. These text frames were created by starting with a rectangle and then using the Pen tool to add an extra point. That extra point was pulled down and this arrow shape was created. And a gradient was applied, of course. And once one was created, then the others were just duplicated and the different dollars amounts put in.
So, these banners were anchored very simply. The easiest way really is just to cut and paste them. I'm going to Command or Control + X and then I'll click up in this cell and paste. And I'm going to turn on our invisible characters, Option + Command or Alt + Control + i so we can see a little bit more what's going on with the table. Now then, we have our highlight column here, so the first thing I'm going to do is make this wider because we have a larger price banner here that we want to add. And I'm going to change the column width to 101 pixels, in this case.
That's going to accommodate this banner. So I will take this banner and cut it into the clipboard and then paste it in as the other one was done. But if we look at the original, this whole column seems to ascend above the other columns. How did we do that? Well here's where a little bit of trickery comes in. First, I'm going to add an extra row to the top of this table. So I'll select this row and choose the Insert command and put a row above the current one.
This row takes on the formatting of the row that was just below it. So next, I'm going to cut this text and paste it in here, because it's ultimately going to go in here. I'll zoom up a bit. The next step is that I'm going to merge this cell with this banner. So I'll select both of these cells and merge them. That causes that banner to move up and be more emphasized than the other banners on the other side of it. Now, one thing that happens is that the formatting takes on the top frame and in this case, the background of this cell becomes 100% of this green color.
But that's pretty easy to fix. I'm just going to go to my Swatches panel and set that tint back to its original 20%. Let's take a look at this in Preview mode again. Now, all of my strokes are already white and the last thing I need to do is get rid of the fills in these extra cells here on either side of the cell that I want to emphasize at the top of this column. So I'll select those and make the color None.
Select these, make the color None. And there you have it. By adding an extra row and making part of it not visible, we emphasize this one column. Pretty handy, huh? Now I want to show you just another example quickly of a slightly different treatment for this same kind of thing. I'm going to go to the next page of this file. I'll zoom back a little bit so you can see it. And here's another service plan but this column has been given emphasis in a slightly different way.
Let's go out of Preview mode and I'll show you how it was set up. Again, we used this idea of an extra row at the top where only one cell is filled in. Namely, the cell of the column we want to emphasize. And in this case, we added an extra row at the bottom and then merged the bottom of this column with that cell, thus making it appear to be taller than the adjacent columns, but it isn't really. It's just that we turned off all the strokes and fills of the adjacent cells, and so this is the only one that's visible.
An extra stroke was added to give it a little bit more emphasis but the main thing here is adding that extra row at the top and bottom. So, these were just some ideas for you. Keep in mind, you can add these extra rows, merge cells, and then add a little invisibility to the part of the extra rows that you don't want to show. A little table magic to the rescue.
- Navigating and selecting tables
- Formatting text in tables
- Working with fills
- Inserting and deleting rows and columns
- Rotating text
- Dealing with overset text
- Applying cell and table styles
- Updating table data
- Working with graphic cells
- Creating infographics with tables
- Creating pull quotes and design objects using tables
- Exporting tables to EPUB