11 Replies Latest reply on Aug 4, 2017 11:04 AM by BarbBinder

    Table Spanning Across Two Columns Help

    wuts23143389 Level 1

      Hi all,

       

      I am quite new to InDesign and need help with Tables. I cannot figure out how to span a table across a two-columns layout (see ref below). I've looked into the Tables options and I don't any options, and I use the Span column option in the paragraph style but no luck. Could anyone tell me what did I miss? Appreciate in advance!

       

      Screen Shot 2017-08-04 at 8.14.16 PM.png

        • 1. Re: Table Spanning Across Two Columns Help
          Peter Kahrel Adobe Community Professional & MVP

          It's not clear from your screenshot where the cursor is. To have the table span columns, make sure that you select the paragraph that holds the table.

           

          But you should be cautious with this. I've had no end of trouble with spanning tables using the table's parent paragraph's span settings -- paragraph column spanning is fragile, to say the least. You often end up with bad compositions or crashes. It's much safer to place those tables in separate text frames with text wrap applied.

           

          Peter

          1 person found this helpful
          • 2. Re: Table Spanning Across Two Columns Help
            BarbBinder Adobe Community Professional

            I'd guess it is your cursor position. Place your cursor on the ¶ directly above the table (which I assume is embedded in the story) and tap the right or down arrow. Your cursor will now be on the ¶ with the table:

             

            InDesign CCss_007.png

            Then set up the span. (I highlighted the last word above the table in magenta so that you can track it):InDesign CCss_008.png

             

            But, this produces an awkward layout, and here is where InDesign falls short, IMHO. FrameMaker (Adobe's other page layout application) has table placement commands that allow you to put a spanned table at the top or bottom of the page automatically. You can simulate this by putting your table in an anchored frame in InDesign, activating text wrap and use anchoring controls to the same effect. It's not as simple, but it gets the job done.

            InDesign CCss_010.png

            Or if there aren't that many tables, you might just position them on the page, and pull up the text frames, and hope for the best.

            1 person found this helpful
            • 3. Re: Table Spanning Across Two Columns Help
              wuts23143389 Level 1

              Thank you kindly pkahrel. I will take your advice and apply it.

              • 4. Re: Table Spanning Across Two Columns Help
                wuts23143389 Level 1

                Thank you very much Barb, I got the spanning to work after you specified the cursor placement. I will use anchored frame will text wrap as you suggest. Having a table as part of a story spanned across two columns in the middle of the page indeed does make an awkward layout. Hopefully table function will improve over the next update.

                • 5. Re: Table Spanning Across Two Columns Help
                  Peter Kahrel Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                  The problem with placing the table in an anchored frame is that text wrap on anchored frames works only if the frame is placed after the anchor. That means that the anchor should always be somewhere at the top of the left column -- in fact, you won't therefore be able to place the frame at the top of the page. If the text can reflow because of edits, the table might end up on a different page and the wrap might no longer be honoured. Those problems can be avoided by placing the table in a separate, unanchored, frame.

                  2 people found this helpful
                  • 6. Re: Table Spanning Across Two Columns Help
                    wuts23143389 Level 1

                    Hi thank you for your insight. Indeed I ran into the problem you mentioned – the text wrap doesn't work on any text prior to the anchor point. With the limitation you described, is this line of thinking correct or is there a more efficient way:

                     

                    1. I am working on a chapter that has 11 graphs and 2 tables.
                    2. The sequence within the story is graph 1-8, table 1, graph 9, table 2, graph 10-11.
                    3. I should complete graph 1 first, then place it in the same page where it is referenced in the story. Place the graph unanchored with text wrap and let the text reflow.
                    4. Find in the story where graph 2 is referenced, then place the second graph in the same page with text wrap on. Let the text reflow.
                    5. Continue in the same fashion as previous, and hope that in the future client won't have a big chunk cut off or add on to the body copy.

                     

                    When you are working for a publication that has graphs and tables needed like this, how do you set them up? Or do you just avoid using columns altogether?

                     

                    Thank you ever so much for your help.

                    • 7. Re: Table Spanning Across Two Columns Help
                      Peter Kahrel Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                      It doesn't matter whether a text is in one, two or more columns. I place all graphs and tables in separate frames in a separate document. In the text I mark all text references to tables and figures (see Fig. 1) -- if there are any -- with a condition so that they're easy to see (and you can set the condition to not print, so you can leave the conditions in the text). Then when the text is as good as done, I go through the document and when I see a reference to a figure of table, I place that item. And so on. Works well for me.

                      1 person found this helpful
                      • 8. Re: Table Spanning Across Two Columns Help
                        wuts23143389 Level 1

                        Thank you so much. Luckily in the body text the references are included. I use GREP to change their colors for easy reference for when I insert the tables / figures in the future. Thank you very much!

                        • 9. Re: Table Spanning Across Two Columns Help
                          BarbBinder Adobe Community Professional

                          When you are working for a publication that has graphs and tables needed like this, how do you set them up? Or do you just avoid using columns altogether?

                           

                          My InDesign docs tend to be on the shorter side (under 300 pages for the entire book) so I often use the last technique I recommended.... just manually place them on the page (in their own frames) and move when necessary. Sounds like Peter is on the same page. I also color code with a slightly different technique.

                           

                          But I have the advantage of owning and knowing both of Adobe's page layout applications. As I mentioned previously, FrameMaker handles this quickly and easily, whereas you have to work at it in InDesign. I'm bringing this up again because if this ends up being just one of many issues arising in this document, it might be worth considering if InDesign is the best application for this publication. (If it's the only issue, then ignore the entire paragraph!)

                           

                          Sounds like you are back on track. Happy weekend.

                           

                          ~Barb

                          1 person found this helpful
                          • 10. Re: Table Spanning Across Two Columns Help
                            wuts23143389 Level 1

                            Thank you so much Barb. Currently I am working on a deadline and I'm afraid learning a new application like FrameMaker might consume too much of my required time. Will definitely study on FrameMaker after this project.

                             

                            Have a pleasant weekend!

                            • 11. Re: Table Spanning Across Two Columns Help
                              BarbBinder Adobe Community Professional

                              I'm afraid learning a new application like FrameMaker might consume too much of my required time.

                              Yes, it would!