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In this series, David Blatner and Anne-Marie Concepción, co-hosts of the web's top resource for InDesign tips and tricks, InDesignSecrets.com, share some hidden and sometimes surprising workflow tips that will make working in InDesign more efficient and more fun. The course covers built-in timesaving features such as Quick Apply and auto-expanding text, but also little-known tricks, such as using the eyedropper to copy and paste character and paragraph text attributes and making accurate selections by selecting through or even into objects.
New techniques will be added to the collection every other week, so check back early and often. Find more tips and tricks at indesignsecrets.com.
David Blatner > So my art director told me to move this image over by 1 cm, but the ruler up here is set to points. Geez well, I know that there are 72 points per inch, and I know there's 2.54 cm per inch, so I could do the calculation if I wanted to, but that would be insane! I don't need to do that. I have a computer for me and InDesign itself can do the math. This is a really important point. It's a great way to get efficient in InDesign. Let InDesign do the math for you. In this case, I want to move this over to the right one centimeter.
So I'm going to go up to the x-field of the Control panel and I'm going to say +1CM. That's all I need to do, +1CM. Notice I'm mixing and matching points and centimeters. That's okay. You can mix your measurements up if you want to, not a big deal. AS soon as I hit Return or Enter it moves it over 1 cm. So this is great. I can do addition, subtraction, multiplication, or division in any field in InDesign that has a number. The Control panel, any other panel, any dialog box. If I see a number I can do math there.
Let me show you another example. I want this image to be a third as high as it currently is. So I'm going to go up to the H field, the height field, and I'm going to say divided by three. Divide is the slash character there. So as soon as I hit Return or Enter, it divides it by three for me, does the calculation, and I get something exactly a third as high as it was. This is fun, so let's try another one. How about I want to change the width to 70% of what it is currently? So I'll go up here to the Width field and say times .7.
Times is the asterisk character, the Shift+8. We have *.7, .7 is 70%. Same thing. Now I can hit Return or Enter and now it's exactly 70% of what it was. Now I'm going to take this math thing one step farther and do it with fractions. For example, let's say my printer said that I want to move this over a 16th of an inch. You know, a lot of printers still work in 16ths of inches and 32nds of an inch and crazy stuff like that. I could never figure out how to convert that into decimal, so I need to let InDesign do the math for me.
To do this, I'm going to have to do it in a two-step process. I'm going to go to the X field and select all of that and cut it the clipboard with the Command+X, Control+X on Windows. Now I'm going to do the fraction part, with one divided by 16 inch. Inch could be IN and or it could be with the double quote mark. So there's my 1/16 of an inch and I'm going to press Shift and Enter to actually make InDesign do that calculation, but keep the field selected up there in the Control panel.
Now I'll press the right arrow key to move to the end of it, press plus, and then do a Command+V or Control+V on Windows to type in the value that was originally there. When I press Return or Enter it moves it back plus that 1/16th of an inch. So I know that's not visually a lot different than it was but you get the idea. It's 1/16the of an inch more over than it was. Look, we all bought computers so we didn't have to do these kinds of tedious calculations anymore. Take advantage of InDesign's math skills so you'll have more time to do what humans do best: design.
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