I have a table that I've imported into InDesign with the 'unformatted table' box checked. I was of the understanding that this imported text only so that if I make a change to the text value only, it will automatically update in InDesign.

I've spent a lot of time formatting and resizing rows and columns for them all to resize when I update the table link.

Cell colours are not affected (which are when I relink it as a formatted table) but the typeface, type size revert and row heights shuffle around.

Is there any way of getting just the text to feed through dynamically with InDesign keeping all the formatting?

2 Answers 2


Yes, but it requires more work.

You have to create/apply Cell Styles from the Cell Styles Panel to all the cells in the table, and each cell style must have its own Paragraph Style linked.

If you already spent a lot of time formatting and resizing rows and columns, just select a cell and create a new Cell Style, adding a Paragraph Style to it and apply this new Cell Style to all the corresponding rows and columns.

CEll Style

At the animated example, the header and the six first references rows and text rows have applied a cell style, the rest is only formatted with a paragraph style. When making a change in the first line of the excel (the word WHITE to BLACK), the whole table is updated, but only the rows and columns with cell style keep the format.

updating excel sheet


If you want to keep the aspect ratio of the table without overflowing the size, just select the table, right click and select the option "text frame options". Once inside select the menu "automatic resizing" and then in the drop-down list select "width and height (keep proportions)"

That's it, then when making the modification in the Excel table, clicking on the yellow triangle in the InDesign table will update it keeping the proportion.

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