How to Do Tables in Illustrator

by Joshua Mcgee

Adobe Illustrator is not a word-processor or desktop publishing program and it's not designed to create tables as you would in Microsoft Word or Adobe InDesign. Therefore, you cannot create a table that manipulates data or automatically adjusts to the text. With a little extra effort, though, you can use certain of Illustrator’s text features or the grid tool to simulate a table. You can also import a table from other programs such as Microsoft Word or InDesign.

Area Type Options

1

Select the “Type” tool.

2

Draw a rectangle on your artboard to represent the type area.

3

Click on the “Type” menu. Select “Type Area Options.”

4

Click on the “Preview” check box. Adjust the “Rows” and “Columns” number, span and gutter settings.

5

Enter the text for the table. Stylize the text using the “Paragraph Styles” and “Text Styles” panel. The text will automatically flow to the next column when it reaches the end of the first cell.

6

Style the table using the drawing tools. For example, to add lines between the columns, select the “Line Segment” tool and draw a line between the columns.

Grid Tool

1

Click on the “Line Segment” tool for a few seconds until the sub-tools appear. Select the “Grid” tool.

2

Begin drawing the grid in the artboard.

3

Hold the mouse button while pressing the “Up” arrow to increase the number of rows or the “Down” arrow to decrease the number of rows. Press the “Left” arrow to increase the number columns and the “Right” arrow to decrease the number of columns.

4

Click on the “Stroke” icon in the Tools panel. Change the color to "black."

5

Select the “Type” tool. Draw a rectangle in the first cell. Enter your desired text. Repeat for the remaining cells.

Copy From Other Programs

1

Create the table in the desired program. Adobe InDesign will be the most compatible with Illustrator but you can Excel, Word, Pages or any other word processing program.

2

Copy the table.

3

Choose the “Selection” tool in Adobe Illustrator.

4

Click inside the artboard. Click on the “Edit” menu and select “Paste.”

5

Edit the table as desired. Some additional information may have been added when copying the table. Each border line surrounding a cell will be converted to its own line segment.

About the Author

Josh McGee graduated from Utah State University with a bachelor's degree in English, professional and technical communication, and a minor in marketing. He has worked as a technical writer and illustrator for two large manufacturing companies, ICON Health and Fitness and Cover-Pools Incorporated. He is currently employed full-time for the latter.

Photo Credits

  • photo_camera Burke/Triolo Productions/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images