Quick tips for Adobe InDesign

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Here are a few tips for when you’re working in Adobe InDesign:

  • I recently posted a tip on my blog, entitled “ Create a new layer BELOW the current one in InDesign.” (Press Command - > Option when clicking on the New Layer button in the Layers palette.) It will save you time and frustration when you’re adding new layers to your InDesign document and moving them below the currently active one.
  • Normally, I don’t have the “Show Import Options” checkbox turned on when importing graphics into InDesign. Most of the time, it serves no purpose for me, but if I want to place a single page out of a multi-page PDF file, I would have to turn the feature on in order to select the appropriate page. However, simply pressing the Shift key while clicking Open will bring up the Import Options dialog box, letting you adjust your settings without turning the feature on permanently.
  • When working with Facing Pages in your booklet or brochure document, you may find that you want to print a mock-up but can’t figure out how to get the last page to appear to the left of the first page to make a proper cover. No amount of moving pages around in the Pages panel in InDesign will help you, unless you know this quick tip for moving orphan first and last pages around in your document, which makes it easy.
  • When you carefully adjust the text wrap below an image in your document, you may find that no amount of adjustment to the amount of wrap-around is small enough to get that one last line to “move up.” It can be quite frustrating, but it doesn’t have to be.
         By default, InDesign uses the text leading as the minimum amount it will wrap. So if your image wrap falls into the next line of text the slightest bit, it will move that line over to make room for what really isn’t there.
         You can adjust this by visiting InDesign’s Preferences - > Composition setting and turning off Skip by Leading. This will allow you to make the most minor of adjustments, which should be just enough to get your text wrap the way you want. For example, see the image above. Both the Before and After use the same Wrap amount in the Text Wrap panel, but the After image had Skip by Leading turned off. It just happens that it was just enough to get rid of that giant gap below the image in the Before picture.
  • If you’ve ever wondered what that crosshair is in the middle of all your InDesign objects is, wonder no longer. It’s the reference point for transformations to the object such as rotate or scaling. You can move that crosshair simply by clicking your mouse anywhere in the document. Once you move that crosshair, if you go to rotate that object by pressing the “R” key, that crosshair becomes the center for which your object is rotated around. Similarly, if you’re shearing your object, it becomes the “center of gravity” for the shearing.
  • [James Dempsey runs the Creative Guy blog, which offers tips, tricks and opinion on a variety of design topics.]

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