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How Do I Make a Table Style in InDesign?

Lisa wrote:

Can you apply styles to tables? Such things as stroke colour & weight, fill colour, column width, space before and after etc… pretty much everything available in the Table Options and Cell Options in the Table palette.

Unfortunately, while InDesign CS2 has paragraph, character, and object styles, it does not offer table styles. This is, to say the least, extremely frustrating. Fortunately, third-party plug-in developers have stepped up to the plate. I suggest taking a look at TableStyles and CellStyles from Teacup Software ( Another option is Woodwing’s SmartStyles.

Another option might be to use a script to assign styles automatically. For example, you can find the TableCellStyle.js file on the Adobe Studio Exchange. (I haven’t used that script, and it’s free, so no guarantees!)

Added: Please note that InDesign CS3 now has table styles built in.

David Blatner

David Blatner

David Blatner is the co-founder of the Creative Publishing Network, InDesign Magazine, and the author or co-author of 15 books, including Real World InDesign. His InDesign videos at are among the most watched InDesign training in the world. You can find more about David at
David Blatner

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7 Comments on “How Do I Make a Table Style in InDesign?

  1. Thanks for bringing that up! I’ve been struggling with a number of tables and thought I was the only one who was unable to find a solution.

    I have tea cup software’s TableStyles and CellStyles a go and it’s FABULOUS!!

    Will try to convince my company to get it.. =)

  2. Don’t want to sound stupid, but couldn’t you add the finished table to your library and then just pop it in as you need it and edit the text? Or is that too longwinded?

  3. That would work if it were a very simple and easily-edited table. But I think pulling a table out and editing it each time would get pretty tiresome.

  4. This isn’t working for me. I’m on a mac(OSX:10.5.2) using CS2 Indesign. I have loaded teacup’s Table and Cell Pro. I don’t know why when I past in the financial tables to format from excel into Indesign my table styles and cell styles are not working. Any suggestions would be a great help.

  5. RS, I’m sorry but you may have to contact Teacup Software for technical support. However, please note that you cannot copy and paste data from Excel into an InDesign CS2 table — that is a CS3 feature. If you need to paste text in CS2, you’ll need the PopTabFmClip script.

  6. I am having trouble with table styles, PLEASE HELP!
    I format the table, changing column width, header and body row font formating, etc., create paragraph styles based on formatting. Create new cell styles to use paragraph styles. I created a new Table Style telling it to use Header cell and Body cell styles. Click in new table apply new table style and all it does is remove rules around cells?

  7. @Linda: This blog post was from 2006, back before InDesign had table styles. Now it does offer this feature, as you’ve discovered. However, it doesn’t always do what you want/expect. See this post.

    In general, you want to make cell styles first, then use those in the table style definition. And note that table styles cannot convert rows to headers for you or change column or row size, and so on.

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