Adobe InDesign CC - Tables

InDesign provides several ways of working with tables. You can create a table from scratch within a text frame or convert an existing data into a table. Note that the table created will be an anchored object for the text frame.

Creating a New Table

To create a new table, simply select the Text tool and draw an area that you want to create as a table.

Create Table

Then go to the Tables menu and select Create Table… to open the Create Table dialog box. Here, you can specify the number of rows and columns that you want in your table and also specify if you need headers and footers for the table. Clicking OK will create the table within your text frame.

Create Table Dialog Box

You can now enter data within this table. Moving the cursor over any of the rows or columns will allow you to resize the row or column. Use Shift and drag outside of the table to adjust the entire table proportionally.

Remember that to drag the rows or columns, you need the Type tool selected on the toolbar as the table is considered to be a text frame. If you use the Selection tool, it will move the whole text frame instead of just the row or column.

To delete the table, simply drag over the table and press Delete on your keyboard.

Creating a Table from Existing Data

Most of the time, it makes sense to convert an existing data into a table. You can import a Word, Excel, Access (database) file, or even a text document and convert the contents into a table.

Use the Text tool to create the text frame for your table. Then, use the Place command to place your data into the text frame.

In the following example, we will use a simple text file containing information about websites of some pharma companies and convert this into a table.

Pharma Companies

Select all the contents of the text frame by clicking the text and pressing Ctrl+A on Windows or Command+A on the Mac. Go to the Table menu and select the Convert Text to Table… option to open the Convert Text to Table dialog box.

You need to tell InDesign what it should consider as a row and column separator. For now, the defaults will work. Click OK to create the table.

Convert Text to Tables

We see that InDesign has created a table with the given data.

Company Website
Divis Labs
Raks Pharma

You can edit the contents of each cell just like how you would edit a regular text frame. If you want an even distribution of rows and columns, you can simply select the rows or columns and go to the Table menu and select either Distribute Rows Evenly or Distribute Columns Evenly or both.

Formatting Tables

InDesign gives plenty of options to format the layout of the table.

All table formatting options are accessible from the Table Options dialog box. To access this, simply go to the Table menu, then go to the Table Options submenu and choose Table Setup…

Formatting Tables

From here, you can choose how your borders should look like and what should be their stroke, how you want individual rows and columns to be colored and a whole lot more. It is easy to explore the options and change the necessary settings.

For this example, let us see the final output after doing some basic formatting. Before doing this, it would be a good practice to define the first row of the table as the header. To do this, go to the Table menu, then to the Convert Rows submenu and select, To Header. This is useful when you have a table spanning multiple pages and it helps to have the header on all the pages for easy reference.

Well Formatted Table

Now, we have a table that is reasonably well formatted. You can explore further options in the Table Options dialog box to adjust the formatting to your liking.

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