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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.
If you look at this document, you'll see that at the bottom of each page, there's a little page number and a header or footer or whatever you want to call it, that has the name of the section that we're currently reading. Let's go to the next page or the next spread by pressing Alt+Page Down or Option+Page Down on Windows. And we can see that over here on the left, there is the page number and the footer and over here on the right, there is nothing. This is a real problem. Well we can tell that it's behind this green frame. So I'll go ahead and select that frame and we're going to try and send it to the back, by going to the Object menu, choosing Arrange and choosing Send to Back.
But it's grayed out. Why? Because it's already at the back of this layer. The answer is it's a master page item and it's on the wrong layer. Let's go take a look. First I'm going to the master page by opening the Pages panel and I'll double-click on my Master page A, so we can get to that. Then I'm going to zoom in on this, so we can see it a little bit better. There we go. There's my master page text frame, and I'll open my Layers panel and I can see that this is currently on a layer called text.
Text is sitting right in the middle of a bunch of different layers, captions, pictures, rows and so on. That's the problem right there. Whenever you have stuff on a master page, you should probably put it on its own layer. Not one of the layers that you're already using for something else. So I'm going to go ahead and create a new layer by Alt+Clicking on the New Layer button or Option+Clicking on the Mac, and I'm going to call this my master page items. You can call it anything you want, I'll click OK and I'm going to drag this to the top of the list.
I'll press Ctrl+A or Command+A on the Mac, in order to select everything on this master page, and I'm going to drag that little proxy icon in the Layers panel up to my new layer. Now all of those items on this master page are on the master page items layer. Therefore I should be able to see that page number. Let's check it out. I'm going to press Command+J or Ctrl+J on Windows. I'll press page 5, which is the page we're having trouble with there, and when I hit Enter, we'll see there is my green frame and there's my page number and footer on top of it.
It's on a higher layer and therefore it's going to sit on top of everything else in the document including that green frame. Now of course, sometimes you have things on master pages that you want behind everything else. You want it to be like a background image, and that you would create a new layer and put it at the bottom of the Layers panel, and put the stuff on there. In this case, it's a page number and a footer, so we want it on the top. I know that using layers doesn't come naturally to most people, but when it comes to controlling the Z order, that is, which object is on top of which, there is nothing better than the Layers panel.
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