Learn how to easily and precisely insert images into table cells.
Place images in table cells in InDesign.

In the previous releases of InDesign, placing images inside table cells was not an easy task. Images were added as inline graphics that had to be tweaked to fit the cell and were hard to resize.

With the release of InDesign CC 2015, table cells can be of two types: Text cells and Graphic cells. Now you can easily and precisely place images in table cells and style them, just as you would style your text.

Place images in table cells
Easily place images and text in table cells

1. Convert a Text cell to a Graphic cell

If you haven't already done so, download the sample files from the link above. Double click to open the BERRY_CHART.indd file.

With the Type tool selected, click inside the cell above the word Raspberry, and drag to the right until all four cells in the table row are selected. 

Right click, or choose Table > Convert Cell to Graphic Cell.

Note: You can also convert a Graphic cell back to a Text cell. 

Convert a Text cell to a Graphic cell
Convert a Text cell to a Graphic cell

2. Place an image into the Graphic cell

From the Finder (Mac) or Explorer (Windows), navigate to the sample files you downloaded.

  1. Select the image named Raspberry.jpg and drag it from its folder onto the left-most cell selected in the table.  

    Note: Don’t worry if the image looks inverted. This is because the cell is still selected.

  2. Repeat this step to place the Blackberry image in its cell. The brackets around the image icon indicate that the image will be dropped into the cell. 

Then, place the remaining two images in their cells.

Place an image in a Graphic cell
Place an image in a Graphic cell

3. Merge Graphic cells 

With the Type tool, select the row of four cells above the photos, and from the Table menu, choose Merge Cells.

Once again, navigate to the sample files you downloaded. Select the image named BerryBanner.jpg and drag it into the merged cell you just created.

Note: The banner image will appear inverted as the table cell is still selected. 

Merge Graphic cells
Merge Graphic cells

4. Customize and apply effects to Graphic cells 

You can resize a cell, add a drop shadow to the cell, or in this case, set the image inset.

With the banner graphic cell still selected, choose Table > Cell Options > Graphic... Under Cell Insets, enter the inset value 0.1 inch, and preview the effect.

Note: In certain instances it might be helpful to turn on “Clip Contents to Cell” so that an effect like a Drop Shadow is contained inside its cell wall. 

Customize a Graphic cell
Customize a Graphic cell

Clip Contents to Cell
Clip Contents to Cell


Contributor: Steve Simpson 

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