Long story short: Does Indesign support inline tables in a way similar to HTML?

Short story long: I am working on an interlinear text and have resorted to tables to do the layout. Right now, each line is a two-row table with the foreign word in the first row and the translated word in the second row. This works fine, but it's a laborious process and I'm concerned that it will be difficult if I ever want to change the font size, page size, etc. since each line is manually created. So I'm looking for a solution to work smarter... This is where inline tables comes in.

If InDesign supports inline tables like HTML, then I can put each word in a two-row table and if that table doesn't fit on a given line, then it will just flow to the next line. As far as I can tell, InDesign doesn't support tables like this but I wanted to make sure. So... any way to do this with Indesign? Or is there perhaps another way of tackling this problem that will make future changes way more painless?



There was some confusion as to what I'm trying to do, so here's an example (the pipes are only there to help visualize the cell boundaries):



Where the line of "translated" words is always underneath the original words and each translated word lines up exactly underneath the original word. There will be many, many lines of text.

1 Answer 1


I hope I did understand your question clearly.

Its easy... Just think like what you always do in HTML without using tables. with just styling. my solution based on styling.

Now you have two item, let's say a word and its destination (for example) and you want it to be in a single frame that can be reflow easily, without worrying about changing fonts or changing the size of your document.

here you are what you expected to get

the word¶ --tab-- the definition¶
                  the definition¶
                  the definition¶
                  the definition¶

so the trick in styling "the word" and "the definition" the way that each word have it's definition after it, separated by a tab space.

enter image description here

"the word" style should have a default paragraph style, the definition must have a different style based on "the word" style but have a tab spacing like the hereunder screen capture.

enter image description here

That's it.

The main disadvantage of this method is the term (the word) if it comes in multiple line will ruin the formatting. I Just post my solution maybe somebody complete it.

  • I agree, tabs might be faster for your purpose.
    – Lucian
    Dec 23, 2016 at 21:22

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