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Tip of the Week: Using Graphic Table Cells

This InDesign tip on using graphic table cells was sent to Tip of the Week email subscribers on June 8, 2017.

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In the past, if you wanted to insert an image in a table cell, you had to add it as an inline anchored graphic. Resizing and cropping the image independent of the table cell was tedious and inconvenient.

To address this problem, InDesign CC 2015 added a new type of table cells: graphic cells. When a table is first created, it’s business as usual: all the cells are text cells. But placing an image in a cell via drag and drop or with a loaded place cursor will convert the cell to a graphic cell. Initially, InDesign scales your image so that it fills the cell (like the Fill Frame Proportionally feature). Technically, it appears that InDesign is still actually creating a graphic frame and anchoring it inside the cell. But the graphic frame in the cell updates automatically as you change the size of the cell (by adjusting the position of the rows and columns). So you can actually select the image inside the cell and give it rounded corners, or convert it to a polygon, or even apply drop shadows to it. Pretty nifty!

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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2 Comments on “Tip of the Week: Using Graphic Table Cells

  1. When i make a graphic cell inside a table i sometimes put a stroke around that cell and everything looks fine in indesign, but when i pdf the page my image blocks out some of the stroke. I have tried to use the clipping cell image but that seems to have no effect. Any suggestions?

    • After checking the “Clip Contents to Cell” checkbox, I did not realize i needed to use the cell inset, after changing the cell inset, everything looks good.

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