Chapter 21. Setting Up Tabs and Tables


  • Preparing tabbed text

  • Learning the Tabs panel

  • Creating tables

  • Formatting rows, columns, and cells

  • Working with table and cell styles

  • Converting text to tables

If you ever used a typewriter, you may remember pressing the Tab key to indent each paragraph. And you may have pounded on it repeatedly to align columns of data. In InDesign, you use first-line indents to distinguish the first line of a new paragraph, and you reserve tabs for separating columns of data. Although InDesign has a built-in table editor, you can create simple tables using regular tabs quickly with the tabs feature. For more sophisticated tables, use the table editor.

In InDesign, tabs are part of paragraph formats — meaning that when you set them, they apply to all the text in selected paragraphs rather than to selected characters within a paragraph. By default, when you start typing in a paragraph or you create a new paragraph style, there are invisible, automatic tab stops every half-inch. Regardless of the measurement system your rulers are set to use, when you press Tab you jump to the next 0.5-inch increment on the ruler.

As soon as you set a tab stop of your own, it overrides any of the automatic tab stops to its left. The automatic tab stops remain to the right until you override all of them.


Any tabs you set in the Tabs panel when no document is open are added to all future documents you create. Therefore, if tabs set at every quarter-inch are more useful ...

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