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Q:I’ve got a table of data in Adobe® InDesign® and need to increase all of the numbers by 15%. How do I do this?

A: You don’t – at least not in InDesign.  InDesign is a layout program, not a spreadsheet. Your spreadsheet program can’t do the precision layout that InDesign can, and InDesign can’t do calculations like your spreadsheet can. So, you have at least 3 options:

1) Export your InDesign table as a *.TXT file, open it in your spreadsheet program, apply your multiplier, then place (or copy and paste) the revised data back into InDesign. There are lots of things to watch out for. Here’s the most common:

  • If you have properly applied styles in InDesign, be sure to check the “export tags” box when you export the data. This will allow you to reapply the styles in InDesign, formatting your table to look like it did before you exported it. This will save you tons of time.
  • When you open the *.TXT file in your spreadsheet program, be sure to define the columns properly or you may find that some text information will come into your spreadsheet as dates. For example, if you have a column of part numbers and one of them is 05-05, your spreadsheet may display it as May 5. Identifying the column as text when importing avoids this.
  • If you have special characters in your InDesign table (such as em dashes or registered trademark symbols), they will come into your spreadsheet program as a programming code. You’ll need to search and replace the codes with the special characters.

2) If it’s a relatively small table, I’d probably calculate the correct values in a spreadsheet program, and then enter the data or copy and paste it into InDesign using the text tool. If your table is small, this approach will take less time than the first option.

3) Ask us to do it for you! We exist to make your life easier. We do this kind of thing all day long.

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