Table Cell Navigation in Quark/InDesign

December 17, 2003 - 1:00am ||| 0 Comments | Add new

Quark 5 and 6, and all versions of InDesign, let you create tables in your document. Entering and formatting text inside each table cell is essentially the same for both programs. But moving that text insertion bar from one cell to the next using the Tab key is handled differently. If you bounce back and forth between Quark and InDy, as I do, it can be hard to keep straight.

Here's a brief rundown:

It helps me when I'm working on a table in InDesign to remember that it works like Microsoft Word table. Press the Tab key to move from one cell to the next. If you're in the last cell, pressing Tab creates another row and puts your cursor in the first cell in that row. To create a tab stop *within* a cell, press Option/Alt-Tab.

In Quark 5 or 6, pressing Tab simply adds a tab stop to the cell you're in. I think that's more intuitive, providing you're not accustomed to tables in Word. To move from one cell to the next, press Control-Tab (yes, the Control key on both Mac and Windows). If you're in the last cell of a table and press Control-Tab, the cursor cycles back and ends up in the first cell. The only way to add a row is via a menu or dialog.

While working on a Quark table on the Mac, if you get confused and press Option-Tab, thinking it will either insert a tab stop or jump you to the next cell, it won't. You'll end up with a right-indent Tab in the cell you're in, same as if you pressed Option-Tab in a text box. (In Windows, you can get a right-indent tab in the cell or text box by pressing Shift-Tab.)

If you're in Quark and Control-Tab isn't moving your cursor to the next cell, the cell you're in is probably linked to another cell, a feature found only in Quark and only in version 6. Cells are automatically linked if you turned on the Linked Cells option when you created the table, or if you manually linked the cells with the Linking Tool. Either way, you can unlink the cell with the Unlinking Tool, same as unlinking two linked Text Boxes.

In either program, the Arrow keys on your keyboard will almost always move your cursor from one cell to the next. (The exception being when you're in a Linked Cell in Quark 6, see above. Arrow keys don't work there either.) But the Arrow keys are just not as convenient as the Tab key and its combinations are when you're editing text in a table.

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