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  1. Design & Illustration
  2. Microsoft Excel
Design

Importing an Excel Table to Design a Schedule in Adobe InDesign

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Difficulty:BeginnerLength:QuickLanguages:
Final product image
What You'll Be Creating

Tutorial Assets

We've used Adobe InDesign CC in this tutorial, but older versions would work as well to follow along. You will also need the following stock photo to complete this tutorial. Please download it before you begin, or substitute with a similar picture and adjust the steps accordingly:

1. Prepare the Canvas

Step 1

Start by making a new file in InDesign. Click File > New and set the Page Size to Letter.

Preparing Canvas

Step 2

Activate the Type Tool and then click and drag to create a new text box.

Preparing Canvas

2. Add the Title and Subtitle Text

Step 1

Add a title and subtitle table.

Adding Title and Subtitle Text

Using the Type Tool, select the title. In the Option Bar, set its font type and size.

Adding Title and Subtitle Text

Step 2

Open the Character Styles panel and then click the Create New Style icon to keep the text format as a new Character Style.

Adding Title and Subtitle Text

Double-click to change its name.

Adding Title and Subtitle Text

Here are the title and subtitle used in this tutorial, both in Avenir font. Feel free to experiment.

Adding Title and Subtitle Text

3. Import the Table

Step 1

For the table content, we are going to use a table from a Microsoft Excel file. The file is available along with this tutorial: there's a download link in the sidebar.

Importing Table

In InDesign, click File > Place to import the Excel file.

Importing Table

Step 2

Select the file. Make sure Show Import Options is selected.

Importing Table

The table content ranges from A1 to F23. You can see it inside Microsoft Excel.

Importing Table

You can manually set the table Cell Range in the Import Options and then click OK. InDesign will try to automatically detect the table cells. As you can see below, the results are not accurate. Click OK. We will just delete the unused rows and columns in the next step.

Importing Table

You can see that there are some unused rows at the bottom of the table.

Importing Table

Step 3

Select the unused rows by clicking and dragging them vertically.

Importing Table

Step 4

Right-click and then choose Delete > Row.

Importing Table
Importing Table

4. Modify the Table Appearance

Step 1

Click and drag the edge of the last column to change its width. Make sure it fits the page width.

Modifying Table Appearance

Step 2

We want to make one of the columns wider. Hold Shift and then drag it to change its width independently, without affecting the other columns.

Modifying Table Appearance

Step 3

Select the Departure and Arrival columns.

Modifying Table Appearance

To make both columns the same width, right-click and choose Distribute Columns Evenly.

Modifying Table Appearance

Step 4

Select the first row and then click the Align Center icon to center the text.

Modifying Table Appearance

Step 5

Select both columns and then center their content by clicking on the Align Center icon.

Modifying Table Appearance

Step 6

Select all the table cells by clicking on the top-left corner.

Modifying Table Appearance

Change the font formatting. You may find that some of the new text doesn't fit the current table cell width. InDesign marks this with a red dot.

Modifying Table Appearance

All you need to do is to change the cell width or height by Shift-dragging it.

Modifying Table Appearance

This is the current table design.

Modifying Table Appearance

Step 7

Change the width of the first row by dragging down its bottom line.

Modifying Table Appearance

Step 8

Select the row and then click the Align Center icon to center the text vertically.

Modifying Table Appearance

This is the current design.

Modifying Table Appearance

Step 9

Select all the table cells.

Modifying Table Appearance

We don't want to see the lines in each table cell. To remove them, select all the lines in the Option Bar and then set the width to 0 pt.

Modifying Table Appearance
Modifying Table Appearance

The borders are gone, but we still have to find another way to add contrast to the table for easier reading.

Modifying Table Appearance

Step 10

Open the Swatches panel and then click the New Swatch icon.

Modifying Table Appearance

In the Swatch Options, set the new swatch color to (100, 80, 0, 0). We will consistently use this color throughout this design.

Modifying Table Appearance

Step 11

Click Table > Table Options. Add some space between the table and the text above it. Set Space Before to 10 mm.

Modifying Table Appearance

Activate the Fills section. Select Every Other Row in Alternating Pattern.

Modifying Table Appearance

Set First 1 Rows with no color and set Next 1 Rows with the color swatch created earlier. Set the Tint to 10%. Select Skip First 1 Rows to exclude the table header from this fill pattern.

Modifying Table Appearance

Here's the result.

Modifying Table Appearance

Step 12

Draw a rectangle using the Rectangle Tool. Use the same swatch color that we made earlier.

Modifying Table Appearance

Add rounded corners to the shape using the menu Object > Corner Options. Select Rounded and set the size to 3 mm.

Modifying Table Appearance

Make sure you activate Preview to see the results in real time.

Modifying Table Appearance

Here's a closer look at the current header.

Modifying Table Appearance

Step 13

Place the rectangle right behind the table header. Select it and then hit Ctrl-Shift-[ to put it behind the text.

Modifying Table Appearance

Select the table header and then set its text color to white.

Modifying Table Appearance

This is the result.

Modifying Table Appearance

Step 14

Select all the table cells and set the text color to blue.

Modifying Table Appearance

Repeat the same process on the title and subtitle.

Modifying Table Appearance

5. Add the Page Footer

Step 1

Draw a curved shape manually using the Pen Tool. For its color, use blue.

Adding Page Footer

Draw another curved shape. To add contrast, use a different color.

Adding Page Footer

Step 2

Grab the transparent airplane image from DeviantArt. Place it in the bottom-left corner of the page.

Adding Page Footer

Step 3

Add a quote and some other text in the page footer.

Adding Page Footer

We're done! This is the end result. I hope you enjoyed this short tutorial and learned one or two tricks on working with tables in Adobe InDesign.

Final Result
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