The threshold question is: what exactly is a ‘table widow’? The issue is still disputed, both in U.S. and Europe. As stated on Wikipedia: “what one source calls a widow the other calls an orphan.” For my part, I take the opposite view of the definition given by The Chicago Manual of Style, because it sounds to me more natural to call ‘widow’ an opening line that is isolated at the bottom of a page/column. But if you have adopted the opposite definition, that's OK, simply replace ‘widow’ by ‘orphan’ in the following.
Regarding tables, InDesign developers have made a surprising choice in hosting the Keep Options at the
Cell level. By analogy with the Keep Lines Together parameters provided by any
Paragraph, it would have been more rational to feature a Keep Rows Together panel at the
Table level. This way the user could define an overall policy for table widows/orphans, without bothering to set up the keep options of individual rows.
Of course, it is easy to pull together the rows of any table: you just need to select the whole table and to check Keep with Next Row in the Cell Options tab.
But the task becomes much more tedious when you just want to prevent a specific number of table rows from being widowed in a whole story/document.
FixTableWidows, the Script
The script FixTableWidows (InDesign CS4/CS5) allows you to quickly adjust, change, and apply a “widow policy” to every table that belongs to the selected story, or the active document. There's nothing interesting to say about the implementation, except that it offers two strategies for treating widowed rows:
• The default strategy, Use Row Keep Options, acts on the Cell Options by playing with the Keep with Next Row flag.
• The second strategy, Use Paragraph Keep Options, does not change the settings of cells. Instead, it changes the Start Paragraph option of the paragraph that contains a table to adjust.
Both methods will generally produce the same result. However, there are some situations where a table lives with other text lines within the same paragraph and where you then want to force the whole paragraph to jump to the next column.
Disclaimer. — FixTableWidows is a very very basic script. It is not designed to automatically manage overset stories, complex table structures, or other oddities! If something goes wrong, you can always cancel the operation through Edit / Undo FixTableWidows.