Make a Table Span Columns in InDesign
A designer called me today and asked: “How can I make a table go all the way across a multi-column page without putting it in its own frame?” The answer is straightforward if you have InDesign CS5 or newer. Use one of my favorite features: Span Columns.
In the example below, the text frame has two columns. The “Great Steaks” head and the table are both set to span two columns.
The trick is to remember that tables behave sort of like inline graphics. In other words, a “child” table resides in a “parent” paragraph in your text flow. So to make a table span a multi-column text frame, you need to select the paragraph that contains the table. An easy way to do this is to click with the Type tool in the upper-left corner of the table, to the very left of the first character of text in the cell, and press the left arrow key. This will place a large flashing text cursor to the left of the table. Then you can specify the span using the Span Columns widget in the Control panel, or by choosing Span Columns from the Control panel menu.
Bonus tip: If your document will contain multiple tables, always specify a Paragraph Style for the “empty” paragraph in which each table resides. This will allow you to easily specify repetitive settings for Span Columns, Space Before/Space After, Alignment, etc.