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Dragging and dropping anchored objects

From: InDesign CS5.5 New Features

Video: Dragging and dropping anchored objects

In a normal layout, when you edit or move your text, the images stay put and do not move with the copy. To solve this problem, Anchored Objects let you anchor or connect your image into the text flow. Anchored Objects themselves are really not new in CS5.5, but now they are much easier to create and work with. So, here inside this layout, I'm going to make an Anchored Object the old-fashioned way. I've got this object selected and in order to put inside the text flow, I've got to cut it to the Clipboard and then paste it where I want it to be. So I'm going to paste it in front of this paragraph. Now when I do this, it becomes an inline graphic and it really doesn't look very good.

Dragging and dropping anchored objects

In a normal layout, when you edit or move your text, the images stay put and do not move with the copy. To solve this problem, Anchored Objects let you anchor or connect your image into the text flow. Anchored Objects themselves are really not new in CS5.5, but now they are much easier to create and work with. So, here inside this layout, I'm going to make an Anchored Object the old-fashioned way. I've got this object selected and in order to put inside the text flow, I've got to cut it to the Clipboard and then paste it where I want it to be. So I'm going to paste it in front of this paragraph. Now when I do this, it becomes an inline graphic and it really doesn't look very good.

Sure I can move it up and down but it really isn't at the spot that I want it to be. Although if the copy did flow, you can see it would move with it. Well if I want it to be sticking out here where it was, I have to select the image and go to Object > Anchored Object > Options. Then I can change it from being Inline or Above Line into a Custom position, which would let me pop it out and put it specifically where I want. Because I have my Text Threads turned on, I can see this little dash line pointing to exactly where it's connected. Now if my copy flows, you can see it flows and moves along with it.

Now, if I decide I don't really want it connected to this spot, I want it connected to another spot inside my copy; it's a little more cumbersome. I have select the story, go to my Edit menu and go down and choose Edit in Story Editor or Command+Y or Ctrl+Y on the PC. Inside here, I can see this little icon which represents an anchored object and I can just drag and drop and decide, I think I am going to put it over here, it's a good spot for it. I'll close that and now we can see, it's connected to that spot inside the copy. And once again, if I change the flow of the copy, the image moves with it.

Now that was really the only way to do it prior to CS 5.5 but it just became a lot easier. The new way is something called drag and drop. If I have this object selected, you can see this little blue icon right here. All I have to do is just drag that and it changes to this little I-beam, and I can just drop it exactly where I want it to be in the text flow. Now, it's connected specifically to that spot and it will flow with my copy. This is a much faster and easier way to deal with anchored objects. I don't have to cut and paste and go into Anchored Object options, it's really a fast way to work.

Now if I change my mind and decide, I don't really want it connected to this spot, I can just grab that same icon and drop it right over here. There we go and now I'm connected to a new spot, it's that easy. In fact, I'm going to put it right back where it was before. If I decide that I really want an Inline instead of Custom, all I have to do is hold the Shift Key when I drag it and then when I let go, it's an Inline object. If I drag it again without holding Shift, it will be Custom again and I can put it back to where I want it to be. If I want to go back to that Anchored Object Options dialog, if you look at this icon right here, I can just Option or Alt double-click on it and then up will pop open the Anchored Object Options.

Now, it can customize anything that I need to change. Now, you are going to see this new icon right here that let's you know it's an anchored object. If you had an object that wasn't an anchored object yet, like this frame that I just drew, it will have a blue icon here which lets you do your dragging and dropping. Now, if you decide that you don't really want to see these icons anymore, you can just go to View > Extras > Hide Anchored Object Control. But if you turned that off, you're not going to be able to do your drag and drop anymore and you kind of lost a big feature of CS 5.5. So I really recommend you do turn it on.

I'm going to put that right back on there. Excellent. Now, one of the main reasons that this got added inside CS 5.5 is because of the enhanced support for EPUB and HTML. When you're exporting to those other formats, it's really crucial to have your text positioned to a specific spot inside the flow. So, let me show you how quickly it is to make anchored objects for one of those exports. I'm going to get rid of this extra frame. I'm going to go back to this first page. So looking at this layout, right now all of these images are freestanding, which means they will just show up at the end of the layout.

So, what I'm going to do is just drag and drop these specifically to the spots I want them to be. I'm going to drag this right over here to after A Brief History of San Francisco. We'll add this guy to after The San Francisco Peninsula. We'll add this one to after the Neighborhoods and we'll put climate right after Climate. Now that I've got this done, we'll do a File > Export, put this on our Desktop and we'll call it anchored-objects.html. When we save it, we will make sure that inside our HTML Export Options, we have it the same as the Articles panel, which is a predetermined layout that I've already made.

For more information about the Articles panel, please refer to my earlier video on this topic. Under Image, we'll preserve the appearance from the layout. We'll make it 72 DPI, and we'll make sure that they're applied to the anchored objects too. Under Advanced, we will choose No CSS and we will click OK. Now, looking at the layout, we can see that I have the image right after A Brief History of San Francisco, followed by the Peninsula, or right after the Peninsula, The San Francisco Neighborhoods, followed by the climate data.

Even if you don't work with EPUB or HTML documents, Anchored Objects are useful for many different types of files. Everything from one-page ads to 2000 page catalogs can appreciate the new and improved drag and drop anchored objects.

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InDesign CS5.5 New Features

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