I had a customer ask me to do a layout for him on a metal plate with some thermark so he could laser it. I could have done this creating 3 columns and used the align tools but I thought it would be a good exercise to show you how to use the table command in X4 and X5. The table command allows me to add the 3 columns I need to create this layout very easy. Check out the Thermark on Steel video that was done on this topic in my video section.
Here is the Original Plate
Here is the original plate that I got from my customer
Enter in a Page Size
My plate size is 4 (1) by 2.75 (2).
First we need to Go to Options
I want to first setup my text options for the paragraph text so that when I create the table it will pick up these settings. In this case I want the text to be .125 inches tall and the font to be arial. The text needs to be left justified. Go to TOOLS (1) | OPTIONS (2).
First we need to select Styles (1). than Default Paragraph Text (2). Than Edit (3)
Change our Text Attributes
Make your text Arial and the size .125. Note if you want a special justification select paragraph and change your justification.
Make our Justification Left
For this exercise I made the default left. This is good for the two outside columns.
I drew out guidelines to help me line up the table. The left (1) and right (2) columns will be wider than the middle column (3).
Select the Table Command
Select the table command from the tool box.
Change your Columns in the Property Bar
I need 3 columns (2) and I need 7 (1) rows for my table. Type in this info before you create your table
Drag out the Table
With the “Snap to Guidelines” on I am going to drag from the top left corner to the bottom right hand corner. You can see that the snap is indicating intersection (via the dynamic guidelines).
Select the Shape Tool
To change our table widths requires me to use the shape tool. So activate it in the Tool Box
Adjust the Table
With the shape tool selected my lines turn to colour.
Drag in with the Mouse
Place your mouse over the line until it turns into a double headed arrow and drag inwards till it snaps on the guideline
Repeat for the Other Side
Repeat for the other side
Our Table is Ready
We now have a table that is setup the way we want it
Now to Enter Text
We can now start entering the text for each of our cells. With the text tool activated (press F8) click inside the table with your cursor (1).
Type in Your First Line
Type in your first line which in this case is the word CUSTOMER (1).
Continue in With Your Text
Continue entering your text into each column.
Finish Off the Second Column
Keep entering in your text. For the right column. For this column we need to make the justification as Center so click inside your cell press the Ctrl key and the “E” key together and this will center justify the column or you can click on the center justifcation icon in the property bar.
A Red Box Needs to be Fixed
When I am in text mode (1) the red box in the bottom right frame (2) indicates that the text is not fully showing on the screen. We need to adjust the text size or frame size to get the text on the screen.
Select Fit Text To Frame
If the line is a little long you can use the Fit Text to Frame found in TEXT (1) PARAGRAPH TEXT FRAME (2) and FIT TEXT TO FRAME (3)
Change the Margins of the Cell
You can also decrease or increase the margins of the cell. Make sure that the table tool is selected in the ToolBox. Now click on the Margins drop down (1). If you want to effect all the margins the same leave the lock button on and type in a value. If you want separate values unlock the icon (2). Now enter in your values (3). In this case all I want to do is to increase the width so that the last character can fit on the line. Note: worse case scenario is you can decrease the font size.
We Now Have our Text Laid Out
The text has been laid out. The problem is that the text is higher at the top than at the bottom. We need to adjust. We could lower the table box or we can change the alignment on the text frame. Right now it is top we need to make it middle. This will force the text into the middle of the table cell and the alignment will be even.
Change the Condensing Percentage
If you want you can also change the amount of condensing on that line. Go to TEXT | CHARACTER FORMATTING. This opens a docker. Select the line you want to condense (1). Next go and decrease the character spacing to increase the condensing on the line.
Change our Alignment to Center Vertical
Make sure that the Table command is active in the Tool Box (1). Click in on the cell that you want to change so that is active as per the round selection handle dots (2). Now from the pull down menu click on the Vertical alignment icon (3) and select Center Vertical Alignment (4).
Now Our Text Is Evenly Spaced
You can see that our text is now evenly spaced out on our plate. We now have to add in our dashes into the middle column
Enter in Your Dash
I have entered into text mode and I am going to use the underscore dash as it is longer. I have entered it in. Because it is an underscore it is actually lined up with the center of the other lines so I really do not have to do anything with it other than make it bold (1). In the next cells I just copied the first cell and each successive cell I went cut and paste.
My Dashes are Completed
I have now have my plate almost complete. There is still one other step to do before I can go on.
We Need to Thicken Up the Outside Border
We first must thicken up the outside border. Make sure that it is selected from the Borders pull down (1). Next make sure the colour is what you want which in this case is black (2). Next select the width of the line which in this case is .014 inches.
Next We Need to Get Rid of the Inside Lines
Select the border pull down (1) and select the inside boarder (2).
Because I want no inside border I will select the “x” which is none (1).
Here is our Finished Plate
We now have a finished plate that we can send to our laser.