Quick Tip: Drag and Drop in Tables with Adobe InDesign CC 2014


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Final product image
What You'll Be Creating

Designers, long gone are the days of copy and pasting entire rows and columns! InDesign CC 2014 offers a massive improvement for table creation and editing that will completely improve your productivity. Let's take a look.

1. Create the Table

Step 1

Not much has changed in the initial steps of creating a table in InDesign. First, make sure you have a clear space in your layout for a table. This example will feature 4 rows  and 4 columns. Select the Text Tool (T) from the Tools Panel and Click and Drag out your text box to fill the available space. You don't have to be too precise here as you can resize the text box at any time.

Step 2

Next up make sure your cursor is active in the text box by double-clicking inside the box and then go to Table > Insert Table. Fill in the Body Rows and Columns with 4 each. Hit OK.

You get a very basic table like the example below. Next we'll dress it up.

Step 3

Highlight the first row by clicking and dragging all the way across the 4 columns. Once you have the first row selected, fill it with a bright red: C=0 M=100 Y=80 K=15 from the Swatches panel.

Next we'll change the stroke colors for the rows by Highlighting the bottom 3 rows like we did for the top row. Adjust the strokes to the setting seen below with the same red color: C=0 M=100 Y=80 K=15. Notice only the middle line is selected in Blue. You can click each Stroke to Activate it and click again to Deactivate it. This allows you ultimate flexibility in designing the table you want as well as the colors of your strokes. If you notice any unwanted strokes, you can always Highlight the Column and/or Row and adjust the Stroke color, width, etc in the Swatches panel and the Properties panel. To add a Bottom Stroke to your table, make sure it is Highlighted along with the Middle Stroke.

Now Highlight the far left column's bottom 3 rows. Fill them with a light grey color: C=0 M=0 Y=0 K=20 and remove the middle strokes by selecting None for the Stroke color from the Swatches panel.

From here you can fill in the text content you want in your rows and columns. Now it's time to see the real magic of the drag and drop feature!

Drag and Drop Rows/Columns

In the past if you wanted to move a row and column, you had to copy and paste the content to the corresponding row or column. Not anymore! Instead, you can drag and drop rows wherever you want.

Dragging Columns

To adjust column placement, all you have to do is make sure your table is selected then select the Type Tool from the Tools Panel and Hover your cursor over the column you'd like to move until you see a Down Arrow. Click to select the column and then you should see the arrow change to an Up Arrow pointing right with a column and 2 rows attached to it. You can now Click and Drag the column anywhere within the table to swap positions with another column. For this example, release your cursor when you see a vertical blue line appear to the right of the first data column.

Dragging Rows

You can move your rows in the exact same method you adjusted a column. With the Type Tool selected, select a row by Hovering the Cursor along the Left Edge of the row you want to move. Your cursor will change to a right-facing arrow. Now click and drag the row to the bottom of the table.

Alternating Fills

Tables set with alternating fills will automatically apply the correct fill when you move a row.


Now you can save precious design time by dragging and dropping table rows and columns instead of copying and pasting everything over and over again. Keep an eye out for more tutorials and projects covering the new features of Adobe InDesign CC 2014 and have fun designing!