Join Diane Burns for an in-depth discussion in this video The three "Golden Rules", part of InDesign Tables In Depth (2012).
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If you're new to InDesign tables, there are three things you need to know to get started. I like to call these the golden rules of tables. I'm going to switch from Preview into Normal mode here. The first golden rule is that an InDesign table it's always inside a text frame. It's not a stand-alone object on its own. The frame may be larger than the table or even narrower or if I close up this frame and you get text overset, I can just click on the Overset icon and create a new text frame and the table comes along with it.
Regardless of the size of your text frame, the table always comes along with it I'm going to delete the second frame and open this up a little bit. The other about InDesign tables, is that they behave like an in-line object. I just double-click on this text frame and you can see that I have this long black blinking cursor to the right of the table, I'm going to press the left arrow key and when I press the Return key the table moves down just like an in-line object. I'm going to make this frame a little bit larger I have some text over here on the pasteboard, I'm going to select it and copy it into the clipboard and if I paste this text in front of the table it also moves down, so it's just like an in-line object in that way, the table moves along with the text in front of it.
The second golden rule is that InDesign tables can only be selected with a Type tool. If I try to select this table with the Selection tool, well, I'm selecting the text frame that it's in. Even the direct select tool doesn't help. I have to use the Type tool I'm going to press the letter T to switch to the Type tool and now I can go in and select any part of this table and apply formatting to it. I can select individual cells or row or column or any part of it that I want to, but it has to be the Type tool, I'm going to switch back into Preview mode.
And now the third golden rule is really more something to keep in mind even sometimes for more experienced users and that is be clear on the difference between table level formatting and cell level formatting. Table level formatting includes things like this border that goes around the entire table or these alternating fill patterns are applied at a table level. Cell level formatting includes things like the positioning of the text within this frame or these row strokes that you see here. This distinction is even reflected on the Table menu.
If we hold down the Table menu, we can see we have Table Options and Cell Options. This distinction is important when you're formatting tables and it becomes really important, when you start working with table styles and cell styles and it even comes into play when we export to EPUB in HTML things will be covering in other videos. Once you follow these golden rules, you we'll be able to utilize InDesign's incredibly useful table features.
- Navigating and selecting tables
- Positioning tables
- Inserting and deleting rows and columns
- Adding header and footer rows, fills, strokes, and borders
- Dealing with overset text
- Applying cell and table styles
- Using tables to streamline graphic design work
- Creating infographics with tables
- Creating pull quotes and design objects using tables
- Exporting tables to EPUB and HTML