Introduction to InDesign Tables

About Tables

Excerpted from Chapter 18 of Interactive InDesign CC…

The table creation tools in InDesign provide a wide range of customization options that include granular controls for cell borders and background; cell height and insets; text styling and rotation; table formatting and more. Your settings can be captured as table styles which are built on cell style definitions that can include paragraph styles as part of their formatting options. While this might sound a bit complicated, let it instead be an indicator of the level of control you can exercise over the design and layout of your InDesign tables. Search Adobe Community Help to learn how to create table and cell styles.

When you create a table with the default [Basic Table] settings, inset spacing of 0.0556″ is applied to the interior of each cell, cell content is left and top aligned, and each cell border has a solid stroke with a stroke weight of 1 pt. With the defaults as your jumping off point, when you know how to employ the tools, there’s virtually no limit to the way you can customize your tables.

You can format a table using either the Control panel or the Table panel. Both panels contain the same controls with additional tools in the Control panel for customizing cell borders.


InDesign's Table panel

Table panel

At first blush, the controls for refining cell borders may seem somewhat counter - intuitive. In truth, they’re pretty easy to manipulate once you know how. When a border is selected in the cell border proxy it turns blue and the weight displayed in the stroke weight dropdown is applied to it. To remove a stroke from individual borders of a table cell, make sure those borders are blue in the proxy and then set the cell weight to zero.

To select a table cell (or cells) for formatting, click and drag through the cell(s) with the Type tool cursor to highlight the entire cell. When a cell is selected, the cell formatting controls appear in the Control panel and the cell background turns blue. To select an entire row or column, position the Type tool cursor to the left of the row or at the top of the column. When the cursor turns to a black arrow, click to select the row or column.

To resize a column or row, position the Type tool cursor over the border dividing the cells, and when the cursor changes to a double - sided arrow, click and hold and drag. The width or height of the entire table shifts as a row or column border is repositioned. To maintain the existing width or height of the table and affect only the rows or columns on either side of the active border, hold the Shift key while dragging.