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65 - How do I convert tables from Microsoft Word or Microsoft Excel into Adobe InDesign

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Questions & Comments

Steve Prewitt - 5 months ago

Once you paste a table into InDesign is there a way to have it update automatically when you make changes in excel?

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Video Transcription

So that we don't mess up our lovely long document, we're going to do this exercise in a new document, just a blank one. Just to keep it separate. Because we need lots of versions of it, and we got not a lot of space to do it in the other document.

So, what I need to do is, show you the different ways that you can bring in tables into Word. Most of the times they'll come through, and just be fine. So if I go to 'File', 'Place'-- we'll use 'Table Example Word 1'. Make sure you're doing it from Word first, click 'Open'. And we'll click and drag it out, and the table was perfect in Word, so it's come through perfect in InDesign. So no real drama's there. Where the dramas do happen, if I go to 'File', 'Place' now, and bring in the example of Word 2, and I drag this out, this can happen. And it still looks fine, but it's not a table, it's been done with tabs. So there's no actual tables to put the lines through. It's actually just, people have gone through, gone to here, and hit tab to separate them out. That's fine, but formatting becomes a little bit hard because it's not a table. It's easy to adjust with table.

Select all the bits you want to be in a table. So I've just highlighted them all. Go to 'Table', 'Convert Text to Table'. By default it's using the Column Separator as the 'Tab'. You might have commas, or something else, I'm going to click 'OK'. And hey presto, it's a table. I might have to do some adjustments, just to tidy that in. That needs to be a little bit smaller, and that needs to be a bit bigger, So you can mess around with it like we did in the previous example. So, I'm going to put him over here.

Another example that might come through from Word is either the table's not set up right in Word, and it comes through a bit weird or you copy, and paste it, so I'm going to open up that example. So this is my 'Table Example Word 2', I'm just going to copy it and paste it in, this happens. So the tab's there, but InDesign hasn't converted them nicely. It works just the same as the last example. Select everything that you want to be part of this table, go to 'Table', 'Convert Text to Table', it's the same. The tab is separating them, and it comes back to looking good again. We can go through and play with the lines between them and the style formatting like we did in the previous exercise.

Last one we'll do is - I'm just going to move him off to the side - is getting it from Excel. Same process as Word. 'File', 'Place', and there's one in here called 'Table Example Excel 1'. I'm going to click and drag it out. And it comes through with the same kind of problem. This is our Excel file, you need a course in Excel, I've got one, I've also got one in Word as well, if you want to check that out. I'm going to select all of these. So this is what happens when you place from Excel. It does this kind of weird tab thing as well. But I can fix it just like I did with Word. 'Convert Text to Table', and we're away again.

The nice thing about Excel though is, let's say it's a monthly thing. It's a revenue report, or sales report, or something you go through, and you format it, and you spend ages making it look nice. We'll do a little bit of formatting. We'll do 'Alternating Fills'. Every other row, skip the first row even. So we've got this, and we've done some formatting to it. Terrible formatting, I know. But let's say, when I update it now, instead of importing it and then saving table styles, and all sorts of advanced stuff, you can just jump to Excel, and let's say this is the data for another month or just been adjusted, or-- let's say it was a financial data, changing every month. Instead of having to go and re-import it, and style it, just select all the bits you want to change. Hit 'Copy', so 'Edit', 'Copy' in Excel. Then jump into InDesign, and what you're going to do is select the whole table. Or select everything you've copied. If you're only going to select the whole table, and hit 'Paste' and you'll notice that it goes from height, and just adjusts, but it also retains all the style that we've done.

So any changes that get made, you can go and adjust. Now, this is true if it's just one file. So say you've got red here-- I'm going to go through, and it's all red. I can select this whole column, so 'Color' all the way down, click 'Copy'. Go to InDesign, click in this, there's a little arrow at the top here. To get that whole column, hit 'Paste'. As long as these match up we're copying and pasting, and it will update, and retain the InDesign styles. Super awesome. All right, so that is a few different ways to work with tables when coming from different Microsoft platforms. Let's move on to the next video.

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