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#43 Formatting Tables

With the table formatting options, you can create eye-catching, easy-to-read tables by automatically applying strokes and fills to alternating rows or columns of information, specifying different strokes and fills for individual cells, applying a border to the entire table, and much more. To access the formatting controls, you need to select all or parts of a table with the Type tool. All the formatting commands are available in the Table menu and the Table panel menu (Window > Type & Tables > Table). When cells are selected, frequently used table-formatting options are available in the Control panel as well.

Formatting an Entire Table

To format an entire table as opposed to individual cells, click anywhere in the table with the Type tool. Then choose Table > Table Options > Table Setup. The Table Setup tab (Figure 43a) lets you change the number of rows and columns, add a table border, and specify the amount of space before and after the table.

Figure 43a

Figure 43a The Table Options dialog box provides formats for the entire table such as a table border and spacing before and after the table.

Formatting Rows and Columns

In the Table Options dialog box, the Row Strokes, Column Strokes, and Fills tabs (Figure 43b) let you apply a pattern of strokes and/or fills such as applying a fill to every third column. You can also apply a table style to a selected table (see #44). For information about the Headers and Footers tab, see #45.

Figure 43b

Figure 43b The Fills tab automates the process of creating a pattern, such as applying a tint to every other column, to improve a table's legibility.

Formatting Cells

To format cells, you first need to make a selection—a single cell, multiple adjacent cells, or the entire table. You can then specify how the text is positioned within the cell, specify strokes and fills for the cell, and even select cells with a pattern of diagonal lines. To make a selection, use the Type tool and then do one of the following:

  • Click in a single cell to select it.
  • Click and drag to select multiple cells.
  • Move the pointer over the left or top edge of the table until it turns into an arrow. Click the arrow to select an entire row or column; click and drag to select multiple rows or columns.
  • Choose an option from the Table > Select submenu, including Cell, Row, Column, or Table.

Once you have cells selected to format, choose Table > Cell Options > Text. The Text tab in the Cell Options dialog box (Figure 43c) lets you change Cell Insets, Vertical Justification, First Baseline, Clipping, and Text Rotation within the cells. The Strokes and Fills, Rows and Columns, and Diagonal Lines tabs let you specify cell sizes and add strokes and/or fills to the cells for emphasis or clarity. You can also apply cell styles (see #44).

Figure 43c

Figure 43c The Cell Options dialog box lets you specify the text placement, strokes, and fills for selected cells.

Using the Table Panel

The table formatting options used most often are also available in the Table panel (Figure 43d). To open the panel, choose Window > Type & Tables > Table. Point at the controls on the panel to display their tool tips and see what they do. The Table panel menu provides quick access to most of the commands in the Table menu.

Figure 43d

Figure 43d The Table panel provides quick access to commonly used table formatting options such as number of rows and columns, and text inset within cells.

Using Table Options in the Control Panel

When table rows or columns are selected, the Control panel provides quick access to common table formatting options (Figure 43e). These include options for formatting text in selected cells, rotating text, adding rows and columns, merging cells, and more. You can also apply styles to selected cells or the entire table (see #44).

Figure 43e

Figure 43e When you select rows or columns in a table, the Control panel offers options for formatting the text, cells, and table.

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