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Working with Typography and Tables in Adobe InDesign CS4

Chapter Description

Learn how to apply special effects such as scaling type, creating drop caps, anchoring objects in text, and wrapping text around objects and images. Also learn the tricks for creating and formatting tables that save you time and enhance your designs.

#46 Editing Tables

When it comes to tables, change is inevitable. You will find yourself constantly adjusting column widths and row heights, adding rows and columns, deleting rows and columns, and so on. Both the Table menu and the Table panel menu provide many options for editing tables.

Inserting Rows and Columns

You can insert blank rows and columns within a table whenever you need them. To insert rows and columns, first select the Type tool.

  • Inserting rows: To insert rows within a table, click in a row above or below where you want the new rows. Choose Table > Insert > Row. In the Insert Row(s) dialog box (Figure 46a), enter the number of rows to insert in the Number field and then click Above or Below to indicate the position.
    Figure 46a

    Figure 46a The Insert Row(s) dialog box lets you specify how many rows to insert and where to insert them.

  • Inserting columns: To insert columns within a table, click in a column to the left or right of where you want the new columns. Choose Table > Insert > Column. In the Insert Column(s) dialog box, enter the number of columns to insert in the Number field and then click Left or Right to indicate the position.

Adding Rows and Columns

You can add rows to the bottom of a table or add columns to the right side of a table at any time. First, click in the table somewhere with the Type tool, then do one of the following:

  • Change the values in the Body Rows field or the Columns field in the Table Setup tab (Table > Table Options > Table Setup).
  • Change the values in the Number of Rows field or the Number of Columns field in the Table panel (Window > Type & Tables > Table).
  • Change the values in the Number of Rows or Number of Columns field in the Control panel (available when rows or columns are selected).

Deleting Rows, Columns, and Tables

The Delete key will eliminate just about any selection in InDesign—selected text and objects, for example. It will not, however, delete selections within a table but will delete the contents instead.

To delete parts of a table or an entire table, make a selection first. With the Type tool, click in a row, column, or table that you want to delete. Choose Table > Select, and then choose Row, Column, or Table. You can also click outside the table when the arrow pointer displays to select a row or column (Figure 46b). Drag the arrow pointer to select multiple rows or columns. Once you've made a selection, choose Table > Delete, and then choose Row, Column, or Table.

Figure 46b

Figure 46b When you point outside a table with the Type tool, the arrow pointer lets you select entire rows and columns to format, cut and paste, or delete.

Resizing Tables, Rows, and Columns

If the initial column widths and row heights are not quite right—and they rarely are—they are easy to adjust. Using the Type tool, you can drag the gridlines between rows and columns to adjust the sizes (Figure 46c). You can also drag any edge of the table to resize the table height or width in any direction.

Figure 46c

Figure 46c Using the Type tool, drag the gridlines to adjust column widths and row heights.

To "clean up" a table so the columns are the same width and the rows are the same height, choose Table > Distribute Columns Evenly or Table > Distribute Rows Evenly. You can also specify a height for selected rows and a width for selected columns in the Table panel and in the Rows and Columns tab in the Cell Options dialog box (Table menu).

Merging and Splitting Cells

You may need to merge and split cells for various reasons such as creating a single-cell row for a table's title, adding a column that contains a vertical graphic, or dividing a cell into two to contain a note along with data.

To merge cells, first select the cells to merge with the Type tool. You can select any number of adjacent cells, including selecting cells across rows and columns to create a large rectangular cell. When the cells are selected, choose Table > Merge Cells (Figure 46d). If you change your mind about the merged cells, select the cell and choose Table > Unmerge Cells.

Figure 46d

Figure 46d The Table menu lets you merge and split cells.

To split a cell, click in it to select it. Then, choose Table > Split Cell Horizontally or Table > Split Cell Vertically.