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Sometimes you may have to place captions along with images in your documents. These captions can be created automatically from metadata associated with the image. Let's see how that works. The first thing to do when working with captions in InDesign is to configure how that will be structured. So we will go to Object > Captions > Caption Setup. And in the dialog box I can setup text before the caption. I can choose which piece of metadata will be used for the caption. In this case I'm using the Description field, but the pop-up menu lists all kinds of metadata you can choose from. And I can also have text after.
I can setup a position and a style for the caption, where it will align, either below or above or to the left or right of an image and how far away from the image it goes. And I can set a paragraph style. In this case, I've set up a paragraph style called Caption already. I can choose which layer the caption will go on and if it will be grouped with the image. I will just click Ok. So now I have my caption setup. I am going to place some images. I will press Command+D or Ctrl+D to get the Place dialog box and I'll Shift+ Click to select these three images.
And in the dialog box, I will select Create Static Captions and click Open. Now the interesting thing here is if you look at my cursor, you can see the little blue 6 in parentheses. So even though I only picked three images, they are actually 6 things loaded into my cursor right now: the three images and their three captions. So I will click to place the first image, and now at my curs or I have the caption that goes along with this image. So I can click and drag right underneath it to set up a static caption, and this text came from the Description metadata.
Now I'll click again to place the next image and click and drag to place its caption, and again, place the third image and click and drag to place its caption. Now InDesign also offers live captions in addition to these static captions. Live captions can be useful, but they do have some limitations. So I will go up to my first image and delete my static caption. I will select the image and to create a live caption, I will just right-click on it, and from the menu, choose Captions > Generate Live Caption.
And the live caption is going to use all those options I setup in my Caption Options. So for the placement I place below the image and on the same layer and so forth. Now the difference between the live caption and a static caption is a static caption is made up of regular InDesign text, but a live caption is a sort of text variable. You can see that sort of faint line around it, indicating this is all just one piece, one element. And if I click and drag the frame, you are going to see quickly that it has the same problems that all text variables do.
It gets compressed horizontally if it doesn't fit. It won't wrap to additional lines and so forth. I also can't get inside the caption and apply any other text formatting. It's all-or-nothing kind of formatting. I will zoom out, switch to my Selection tool, and then we will see one of the benefits of a live caption. So I will resize the frame a little bit, and when I move it away, you can see it now says no intersecting length. So it's not touching that cheese image. It doesn't know which image it belongs to.
But if I move it over to say this image with the cheese in the plate, now it takes on the caption here. I will zoom in so you can see, and it picked up the metadata from this image. So it is a live caption. It's always looking out to see which image it's attached to and will pick up the metadata from that. So that's the benefit of a live caption. A static caption, on the other hand, is just static text once it's generated. So the upside of a live caption is it is live and dynamic, but a static caption gives you more options for formatting.
Fortunately, there's nothing preventing you from using both kinds in the same document, so you can choose which one works best in any situation.
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