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From the author of Creating a Table

Creating a Table

There are (at least) four ways to create a table.

  • “From scratch.” Click the Type tool inside a text frame, then choose Insert Table from the Table menu. InDesign displays the Insert Table dialog box. Enter the number of rows and columns you want in the corresponding fields and click the OK button. InDesign creates the table (see Figure 6-6).
  • Figure 6.6 Creating a Table “From Scratch”

    Once you’ve created a table using this approach, you can add text or graphics to the table the same way you would add text to any text frame—click the Type tool inside a cell, then enter text, or paste text or graphics, or place text or graphics into the cell.

  • Converting Text to a Table. To turn a range of text into a table, select the text and choose Convert Text to Table from the Table menu. InDesign displays the Convert Text to Table dialog box. Select the delimiter characters you want to use, and specify the number of columns, if necessary (InDesign will only display this field when it cannot determine the number of columns in the table, given the specified delimiter characters). Click OK, and InDesign converts the selected text to a table, using the delimiter characters to split the text into table rows and columns (see Figure 6-7).
  • Figure 6.7 Converting Text to a Table

  • Importing a Table. Another way to create a table is to import a table you’ve saved in a Word, Excel, or RTF document. There’s no trick to this—select a file containing a table in the Place Document dialog box and place it, just as you’d place any other type of file. If there is a table in the document, InDesign will convert it to an InDesign table as you flow the text onto a page.
  • Pasting a table. You can also copy and paste tables from Word and Excel—just select the table, then copy, return to InDesign, and paste. However, this only works if you first change the Paste option in the Clipboard Handling pane of the Preferences dialog box to All Information. The default setting (Text Only) tells InDesign to paste the data as text, with tabs between columns.
  • In theory, you can also copy tables from HTML pages displayed in a web browser. However, not all HTML tables seem to convert, nor are the results identical from browser to browser. It won’t work unless your browser copies the table to the system clipboard as RTF. (David cannot get this to work at all.)

When you create a table, InDesign sets the width of the table to the width of the text frame. But you’re not limited to that width—InDesign tables can be narrower or wider than their containing text frame. As you’d expect, tables take on the alignment of the paragraph containing them (though the text inside the table can be of any alignment). To change the position of the table in (or relative to) the text frame, change the paragraph alignment.

Overset Cells

Sometimes, when you create or edit a table, you’ll see a red dot in one or more of the cells in the table (see Figure 6-8). This means that the content of the cell (the text or graphic inside the cell) has become overset—it’s exactly the same as having overset text in a text frame. What can you do? Either resize the cell or set the cell to automatically expand (as described later in this chapter).

Figure 6.8 Overset Cell

Converting Tables to Text

To convert a table to text, follow these steps (see Figure 6-9).

Figure 6.9 Converting a Table to Text

  1. Select the table, or a cell, row, or column in the table, or click the Type tool anywhere inside the table.
  2. Choose Convert Table to Text from the Table menu. InDesign displays the Convert Table to Text dialog box.
  3. Enter the delimiter characters you want to use, if necessary, then click the OK button. InDesign converts the table to text.
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