Buried Treasure – Inserting Tabs in Tables

InDesign Secrets just did a post on typing tabs in a table cell. It’s a good tip that reminded me of a series I’ve been wanting to do called “Buried Treasures” in which I extract tips from Help topics and highlight them in this blog. I’ll start with this little topic called Insert tabs into a table cell:

Insert tabs into a table cell

When the insertion point is in a table, pressing Tab moves the insertion point to the next cell. However, you can insert a tab within a table cell. Use the Tabs panel to define tab settings in the table. Tab settings affect the paragraph in which the insertion point is placed.

1. Using the Type tool , place the insertion point where you want to insert a tab.
2. Choose Type > Insert Special Character > Other > Tab.
3. To change tab settings, select the columns or cells you want to affect, choose Type > Tabs to display the Tabs panel, and then adjust tab settings.

Note: When you use the Tabs ruler to apply a decimal tab to a cell or group of cells, you usually don’t need to press Tab at the beginning of each paragraph to decimal-align the text in the cells. Paragraphs are automatically aligned on the decimal character, unless the paragraph contains additional formatting, such as center alignment, that overrides the decimal tab.

On a Mac, you can press Option-Tab. In Windows, you need to assign a keystroke.

You may wonder why we don’t provide keyboard shortcuts in Adobe Help topics. It turns out that scattered keyboard shortcuts give our international friends fits when they’re translating the Help topics, especially for languages that use different keyboards. To save time and money, we keep all of our shortcuts listed in the Default keyboard shortcuts topic.

6 Responses to Buried Treasure – Inserting Tabs in Tables

  1. Yvonne Christensen says:

    I have a tab within a cell for lining up 2 columns of text within a cell.
    Usually I CTRL-TAB to navigate to the second tab.
    But today it is not working!
    I have restarted and still not working!
    Any suggestions?

  2. Ionut says:

    I got the same trouble: aligning at a decimal tab, the values – numbers of a simple table… really hard. Need badly a fix or explanation on that!!!

  3. Melissa Kish says:

    I agree… I prefer to use shortcuts. They really need to fix this!

  4. Eric Barker says:

    Easiest way to keep using the tab is to insert one through the special character menu and then just copy and paste it. I know, kind of obvious, but sometimes I miss the obvious.

  5. Danni says:

    Thanks for sharing that, it’s been driving me mad for ages!

  6. Jim S says:

    I was expecting that inserting a tab inside a cell would be like in Word, Ctrl-Tab. Alas, in InDesign it defaults to a Windows navigation. But the above tip worked like a champ for me once I took the time to look for an answer. Thanks. (And I used the copy and past technique as well.)