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#45 Adding Headers and Footers to Tables

For a table to be useful, it generally needs row and column headings—so you know what kind of information the cells contain. This is easy to accomplish with a row at the top of the table containing column headings and a column down the left containing row headings. A problem occurs, however, if the table is split across several columns, text frames, or pages. The first row, which contains the column heads, can become separated from the columns, leaving the reader to guess what's in them. Fortunately, InDesign provides a simple solution with its header rows feature that automatically repeats the necessary rows whenever the table splits across columns, frames, or pages. In addition, if you need a footer in the table (to contain a disclaimer or source, for example), footer rows repeat as well.

In the following sample table (Figure 45a), the first row is designated as a header. So if we add 20 more steakhouses and need to continue the table on another page, the column heads will repeat. The last row is designated as a footer, so it will repeat as well.

Figure 45a

Figure 45a In this table, the first row is a header and the last row is a footer. These rows will repeat as necessary if the table flows across pages.

Creating Header and Footer Rows

You have two choices for creating header and footer rows: You can convert existing rows, or you can add new rows.

  • Converting Rows: In many cases, you will format your own rows to serve as header or footer rows—then realize you need the "official" header or footer rows because the table will actually continue in a different column, text frame, or page. In that case, you can convert the rows containing the header and footer information into actual header and footer rows. To do this, select the rows containing the header or footer information. (Using the Type tool, move the pointer over the right or left edge of the table until it turns into an arrow. Click to select the row, or click and drag to select multiple rows. Choose Table > Convert Rows > To Header or Table > Convert Rows > To Footer. If you're using both headers and footers in a table, you'll have to convert the rows separately.
  • Adding New Rows: To add new rows for headers and footers, choose Table > Table Options > Headers and Footers. In the Headers and Footers tab (Figure 45b), enter the number of header rows to add in the Header Rows field. Enter the number of footer rows to add in the Footer Rows field.
    Figure 45b

    Figure 45b The Headers and Footers tab lets you add header and footer rows to the selected table and control how often the rows repeat.

  • Headers and Footers Options: Whether you convert existing rows or add new headers and footers, you can control how often they appear in the Headers and Footers tab. Use the Repeat Header and Repeat Footer menus to specify whether the row should appear every time the table flows to a new column, to a new text frame, or only to a new page. If the start of the table contains column headings or footer information in a different format, such as a graphic, you can remove the header and footer from the start of the table. To do this, click Skip First in the Header area or Skip Last in the Footer area.

If you change your mind about header and footer rows, you can select the rows and delete them or decrease the number of Header Rows or Footer Rows in the Headers and Footers tab.

Editing Header and Footer Text

When you edit content in rows designated as headers and footers, the text and graphics automatically update wherever the header and footer is used. (As a result, do not insert words such as "continued" in the header of the continuation of a table because it will show up on the first part of the table as well.) To quickly jump to a header or footer row to start editing it, choose Table > Edit Header or Table > Edit Footer.

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