Active Tables for Adobe InDesign


The plug-in creates 3 new panels:

  • Formulas - here you can define formulas in cells and in text and format the results. Also contains a list of all formulas in the document.
  • Names - in this panel you can define global and range specific names. Name can be number or a formula and is then used in formulas. You can define a name TAX with a formula " 8% " and then in your formulas whenever you need to add a tax to the price you just write +TAX
  • Tables panel lists all tables in the document and in the menu contains UI for showing grid around tables for easier orientation.
Formula format can be defined in paragraph styles too, sorting features and functions to convert text to formula are added to text context menu.

Using Active Tables

The most important one is the Formulas panel - click somewhere in table or text and then click in the topmost edit box in the panel - this way you create a new formula. The way to use calculations is easy, first choose source numbers to be used - either by typing coordinates of the cells, or simply clicking on the cells to be inserted into formula then choose the functions to use on these numbers (green button, or you can type them in).

Typical example of a simple formula is SUM (A1:A5) - sums first 5 cells in the first column. you can also just type in the cell A6 the following: =SUM (A1:A5) and click on convert text to formula command with cursor placed at the end of the formula.

You can define how to display the result number either by choosing from the common presets, or using a freeform composition format. # stands for number .# stands for decimal place . The number can look different if the result is a negative value (you can set even a different cell or character style for positive and negative results).


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