Look at a Yahtzee printed scorecard. I want to make a page with foreign language translations of the description column and notes/explanations, that lines up exactly with the official sheet and attaches with a paperclip.

In Illustrator, I can make a grid using a grid tool, as a starting point. I'll have to fiddle with the initial regular spacing and change the thickness of some of the lines. I expect that will be normal enough as the grid seems to just be a macro for creating a group of lines, and then I can select individual lines to change. Also note I said “align properly” not “center” or something more specific — I’ll also take advice on just what “properly” means. This will be Chinese text.

What I'm wondering about is how to then set text neatly in the many boxes formed by the gridlines. I want it lined up properly but don’t relish fiddling with exact manual placement on every item. How can I do this easily?

I have the Adobe Suite so I could use any of the tools. I've used Illustrator and InDesign before. I would prefer a vector PDF result so I’m not thinking of using Photoshop.


Here is a scan of the printed sheet as found on Baidu which is where I'm getting the translated names for the rows and some explanation.

Imagine drawing the first two columns again, so they can be placed over or beside the original sheet.

You can see that due to thicker lines and breaks between categories, it’s not perfectly uniform in vertical spacing. The paper is 7 inches tall.

I could not include the URL as I got a snarky error accusing me of posting spam, noting the first character in the page name. However, you can find it in a comment in this post from user6065.


I posted the final project on my blog. Thanks all.



2 Answers 2


As I said it hard to do that task using Acrobat Illustrator so I suggest to do it using Indesign.

before I begin I have to apologize of making a long solution and for not doing all the step... some steps need try and error to get your desire result

First you need to construct your table layout, go to Table > Create Table or press Ctrl + Alt + Shift + T

In the Create Table dialogue box, specify the numbers of rows and columns. In our case it will be 8 columns and 11 row … of course you can start with two rows considering at least one row as a header, so we ca style it separately. But if you preserve a header and footer make sure that the number rows and will be out of the header and footer.

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What we have done a table without any layout … what we need to do is to construct the cells according to the data go to Windows > Type & Tables > Tables to show theTable panel or just click Shift + F9

In the Table Panel you can resize the cell the way you want by column or by row.

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Mimicking a layout, I usually put the reference table in the background of the table in a separated layer and my table in another layer for exact result. Of course you can resize any column by stepping on its header and change the width and height, you can individually resize column or by select a bunch of columns.

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After constructing the table layout now comes filling the content. For the dice I prefer to use a true type font called “Dice” and you can download it from here or use any other font of your choice, you get the point? just to simplify your workflow.

Now fill the content: add tab in table cells by inserting special characters in types > Type > Insert Special Character > Other > Tab don’t worry about formatting your text now we will deal with it later, the same for the cell paddings.

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For the arrow insert it from the Glyph Panel, choose a font that contain arrows and apply it, in my case I did choose “Wingding” and I scale the glyph by 300% in the properties toolbar.

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To split a cell into two vertical cells, just click on the hamburger menu in the table panel which have some extra option for the tables, and click slit cell vertically. This option split the cell vertically but into two equal cell width. To resize the new cell just step into the cell you want to resize and put a new value in the width fields in the table panel as we did before. You will notice that any change in the cell width will affect the whole width of the table, so you have two option to deal with this problem 1- is to retype the values of the two spited cells or 2- juts drag the intermediate vertical border while clicking on shift button.

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Now comes the cell styling: first we need to vertical and horizontal align all content in all cells to be align center, you can align it manually or by creating a new cell style.

To style the content: the center alignment with a paragraph style and vertical alignment is a cell style as follow:

Go to Windows > Type > Paragraph Styles click on create new style name it “Cell Content” in the paragraph styles options dialogue box we will style all the text properties you want, colors, font, font size … etc. and the alignments as well.

Make individual style for the left column as well as the header, based on the style you just create it.

For the dice style we will create a character style, go to Windows > Type > Character Styles and name it dice and assign the font you download it to that style.

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Make sure when styling the left column to adjust the base line as follow to ensure middle alignment to dice.

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And go through filling content one by one and here you are my result.

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Just one more thing it to eliminate the intermediate border of the splited cell we created previously, by a value of 0pt

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  • 1
    To be clear, I'm not duplicating the entire sheet, just the left two columns. That’s why I want it to line up exactly, for overlaying on the existing sheet. Putting the original in the background is a great idea and I wish I could upvote a second time!
    – JDługosz
    Dec 28, 2016 at 0:06
  • How did you get 11 rows? There are 23.
    – JDługosz
    Jan 5, 2017 at 11:18
  • Thanks for your detailed post. Much of the specifics you detailed proved to be very helpful. One thing though: I didn't see the same appearance for the arrow you used, in Windings. Cell text: I went with Bottom for the most part so that the baselines lined up when columns used different text sizes. And I still had to fiddle with one… No "baseline" alignment? You described Paragraph Style but I had to use the Table Cell style to make the settings work.
    – JDługosz
    Jan 10, 2017 at 11:33
  • @JDługosz yes sure you will not find an arrow in windings font, just select a similar appearance and stretch the glyph (horizontal scale) by 300%
    – hsawires
    Jan 11, 2017 at 15:03
  • I know you stretched it. But you must have started with an arrow with a solid triangular point. I could not find one that looks like this.
    – JDługosz
    Jan 11, 2017 at 17:40

@hsawires has provided a GREAT tutorial in using InDesign tables for setting up type in grids in InDesign. I just wanted to piggyback on that answer and say that I have always found it much simpler to start by creating a table that includes the maximum number of rows and columns that I will require and then merging cells where I need fewer of them.

So, in your Yahtzee card example, I would specify my starting table to have 20 columns (see the row labeled "YAHTZEE BONUS" and ""checkmark" for each bonus") and 23 rows. Then I would size each of the individual cells in the row with the most columns, and merge cells in other rows as needed for the final table. Although more time- and labor-intensive than splitting/dividing cells, my experience has been that the column widths are better maintained when you merge cells than when you use the divide cells function.

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