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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.
Do you want to be seen as the coolest InDesign geek in your office? Let me show you a few very cool tricks that you can do with the most prosaic of features in the program, Ruler Guides. You know that when you drag down a guide, take a look at the Control panel at the measurements. The Y field, it's saying .3937 inches at this points, or if I bring down a little bit .4097 inches. When was the last time that you needed that exact measure for your guideline? Who needs that? Normally, you need the ruler guides to appear at a regular increments in whatever measuring system that you're using, and the answer there is simply to hold down the Shift key. It says .375.
I go up, it says .25. I go up it says .1597 inches and that is only because I have smart guides turned down. So watch as I drag down past this Golden Gate text frame, .375. Now it says .5, .625, .75, .8284. Why is it there? Because that's the exact center of the Golden Gate text frame. You'll find if you use this trick of Shift+Dragging a ruler guide, that occasionally you get the correct increment, but sometimes it will go weirdo.
If you're using an older version of the InDesign, this trick still works, but you don't have to worry about the Smart Guide measurements getting in your way, and if that bugs you, you can always go to Preferences. I'm just pressing Command+K or Ctrl+K to jump to Preferences, go down to Guides & Pasteboard, and turn these off. I think it's a big sacrifice to turn these off just to get the cool ruler guide increment trick working, but now if I Shift+Drag, you'll never see those weird amounts appearing in the Y field up there in the Control panel. So that's how it works for horizontal ruler guides, and of course, it works the same for vertical ruler guides.
Nice and clean and you just release the mouse button before you release the Shift key. Now if you zoom in, and let me hide the Baseline Grid, then the increments--I'll hold down the Shift key, the increments are finer. Let's change this measuring system to Picas, and try that way. So now it's 9.7, 9.8, 9.9, 10.1, some single point increments, or as if I came out this way and started Shift+Dragging, then it's in 1pica, 2pica, 3pica.
So if you need to find your increments just zoom in. Let's say that you are really closely zoomed in, and you're dragging down a ruler guide. Now you probably know that if you release of ruler guide over a page, it's going to turn into just a page guide. So if I keep it right here and then I zoom out, it only went across this one page. It didn't extend into the next page. But what if you're zoomed in and you really want a guideline to be across the entire spread.
All you need to do is hold down the Command key and the guideline will turn into a spread guide. Let's zoom out and there you see that it moves all the way across this spread. A lot of times people ask me, is there any way to add a single ruler guide without having to actually drag it? Well there's no keyboard shortcut but you can double-click in the ruler and it will put a ruler guide where you double-click. If I double-click up here, say at 54, it adds a ruler guide at 54. I can do it in the left-hand side too, it adds one right there.
Now it might add it at strange little increments, so if you wanted to make sure that the ruler guides that you're adding are at even increments, then just use a same trick of Shift+Double-click and will always put it at the nearest tick on the ruler. Something that I often run into myself is that I'll drag out some guidelines, and for whatever reason, I need to know the distance between the two guidelines. What I use to do was to drag out of frame and try to get it to align exactly right and then I look up here at the height or the width of the frame, but then, I learned this cool trick.
If you go to the Window menu and open up the Info panel, and then you select two or more guides, the Info panel will tell you the distance between them. So you just click on one guide, because remember guides are just like objects on an InDesign page, and then Shift+Click on another one. We see here under Height, these two guides are exactly 20p5.456. So for whatever reason, if I needed to make a frame that size or picture that size, I know exactly the amount of space that I need. If you select more than one guide, like I'm Shift dragging across all three guides, it'll tell you the distance from the topmost to the bottommost, or if you're doing it on vertical ruler guide, from the left or the right.
Look at the entire spread. In more current versions of InDesign, it's really easy to delete all the guides. I'm at the current spread that you're looking at. Just go to the View menu, go down to Grids & Guides, and there's a command, Delete All Guides on Spread. I'm going to undo. Now that was just added I think a couple of versions ago. If you've an earlier version, or even if you forget that it's up there in the View menu, the old command still works. Let me click to deselect and now the guides are just there like normal guides.
If you press Command+Option+G or Ctrl+ Alt+G, that selects all the guides on the spread. Now that they're selected you can just tap the Delete or Backspace key and that gets rid of them as well. Another one that people want to know is, how to quickly add more guides at a certain increments, so like if you have a guide here and you want to add a whole bunch more there, say a half-inch apart from this one, what's the best way to do that? There are all such different ways but my favorite way is to select the first one and then go to the Edit menu and choose Step and Repeat.
So the last time I did this, I was actually creating 5 that are separated by 3 picas, or half an inch, but if I want to do something else, I can say let's separate these by 4 picas and I want you to make 7 of these. Click OK. So there you have it, 5 cool guide tricks, plus 1 bonus one to impress your coworkers.
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