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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.
We have a file here that looks pretty good except for one thing. It's Portrait; taller than it is wide, and we need a version which is Landscape; wider than it is tall. Fortunately, InDesign gives us a few tools that let us convert a file. The main way to convert from Landscape to Portrait, or vice versa, is to go to the File menu, choose Document Setup and then choose a different Orientation. I will set this to Landscape and click OK. As you can see, almost nothing changed except that the page behind the scenes rotated. I will zoom back here so that you can see that page rotated and everything else stayed the same.
So that technique doesn't really give us any benefit at all. It just rotates the page, everything else we would have to do manually. So I am going to Undo that with the Command+Z or Ctrl+Z on Windows and I'm going to use a slightly different technique. I am going to use the Page tool. The Page tool here in the Tool panel was a new InDesign CS5, and it's a great tool for adjusting your page itself. One of the best part about this, is we can change things one page at a time. You simply select the Page tool, click on the page you want to edit, and then you have the Orientation feature up here.
Before I click on Landscape however, I'm going to change the reference point on the left side of the Control Panel. This lets you control where the page objects will end up on the final page. Right now it's set to Center, so the page objects will be centered in the page. If I set it to the upper-left corner, that means set the upper-left corner of the page objects to the new upper-left corner of the page. In this case, I am going to leave it set to Center and rotate the page. You can see that everything is centered on the page and well that's one step better than using the Document Setup dialog box I guess.
But I want to go even further, I want InDesign to start moving the objects on my page for me. To do that I'll Undo, Command+Z or Ctrl+Z on Windows, and turn on the Layout Adjustment feature. When you have the Page tool selected, you can do that right from the Control Panel. If you're using an earlier version of InDesign or you don't have the Page tool selected, you can also do that by going to the Layout menu, choosing Layout Adjustment, and turning on the Enable Layout Adjustment check box. Either way, you're telling InDesign to not just change the page but change the page and the objects on the page. Let's try it out.
Set this to Landscape and you can see that things got moved all over. InDesign is trying to be helpful by moving objects as the guides move. The Layout Adjustment feature is all about guides, it's watching the guides, so any object that is connected to a guide, that is literally touching the guide; will move when that guide moves. Here the large image at the background was changed to the new size of the bleed guides. Any other object that's floating, that is, not touching the side of a page or page guide or ruler guide, is simply moved proportionally along with the rest of the page.
So we can see that the logo up here was sort of centered and this was moved up a little bit, and so on. I want to control where those objects are going to go a little bit more precisely. So I am going to go ahead and Undo that, choose my Selection tool, and select a few of these objects. For example, I want all of these objects to move as a single logo. So I am going to select them by Shift+Clicking with the Selection tool, grab that one as well, and pressing Command+G or Ctrl+G on Windows to group them as a single object.
Anything that's grouped will always move as a single group. I also want with this circular frame to always be up near that upper-left corner of the page. So I want to use what web designers like calling Liquid Layout. I want to snap this to one of the edges. To do that, I am going to create a new frame with the Frame tool, and I am going to zoom in to 400% here, so I can see what I am doing a little bit better by pressing Command+4 or Ctrl+4 on Windows, and I'm going to add my dummy frame right next to this margin guide.
As long as it's touching the guide it will move with that guide, remember. Now I'll choose that Selection tool again and select both that frame and this circular frame and group them, Command+G or Ctrl+G on Windows. Because they are grouped, they will all move together. So when the guide moves, this little dummy frame will move, and when that moves, the circle will move. They will all stay on the left edge up near the top. Let's try it out, switch to my Page tool, select the page, make sure our Layout Adjustment is turned on, and then go ahead and click on the Landscape orientation, and you can see that now this stayed in the upper-left corner and the logo all stayed together, it didn't spread out at all.
Now some things we're simply going to have to change by hand. There is no way to tell this graphic to get bigger than it currently is. So I'll go ahead and select this graphic frame. I'm going to stretch this out a little bit, all the way out to our guide here, and then I'm going to make this larger by clicking on the Fill Frame Proportionally feature. That fills the whole frame with that image. I will move this over a little bit so we can see the flowers a little bit more, and that's looking pretty good. Now lets look at page 2. I will double-click on page 2 to jump to it and now I want to make this one Landscape as well.
Once again, I will use my Page tool, click on the page, and then set it to Landscape, and we will see that it just does not look good at all. This is not going to be at an optimal situation. So let's undo that and try out another trick having to do with Layout Adjustment, and that is using guides on the page. If I drag out a guide and snap it to the top of this text frame, and drag out another guide and snap it to the bottom of the image, then InDesign will try and keep those guides proportional on the page. And because the frames are touching the guides, it will try to keep those proportionally apart as well, because I don't want that text story to overlap that image like it was.
I am also going to use that Liquid Layout trick again here by making a little dummy frame and grouping that to this image, so that as that dummy frame moves, the image will move as well. That way, it will move a little bit further over to this side. Okay let's try it out, Page tool, page, click, and that's looking much better. There we go. Let me click off that with the Selection tool so we can see there is now space between the text frame and the graphic. Also, this image moved along with that dummy frame, I just think it's a little bit more proportional on the page, I like that.
Ultimately, Layout Adjustment is rarely perfect. You almost always have to go in and make tweaks to get the final result you want. However, it saves so much time that you'd be crazy not to give Layout Adjustment a try when resizing and reconfiguring your documents.
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