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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.
Here's a cool trick that can come in handy in lots of different situations, but most recently I found it comes in very handy when I'm working with EPUBs, and that is, how to get a graphic, like this picture of David, to appear in the text flow, like this little mini-bio of him, when I export to EPUB, without me actually having to make it float in between these two paragraphs. In the words, I don't want to mess up my print design, but when I export it to EPUB, I want it to look like how I want it to look in the EPUB.
So if we just take this example how it looks right now, it's just a picture of David on the left and the text on the right, and we export this to EPUB by going to File > Export, on the Desktop, invisible.epub, choose EPUB. We are going to accept all the existing defaults and I'm replacing the existing invisible.epub that was there before. Let me just accept these defaults, Image, Contents, click OK, see what it looks like. So you see, the picture appears at the top because we are exporting by a layout order, so the first thing in the layout, reading left to right, is a picture and then David, but actually I want his picture to be in between these two paragraphs.
I don't want it to be at the top, I want it to be right over here in between these two paragraphs. Now what I could do is make an empty carriage return and paste it in here as an inline graphic, but that would mean that I'm completely messing up my print document. This is going to overset, you know because it's got this big honking picture in the middle of it, and so on. So let's try another method which might be anchoring the graphic within the text. So if I just drag this little anchor graphic icon or if I was using an earlier version of InDesign, I would cut and paste it, and then set up as a custom anchored graphic so it stayed there.
Now when I export EPUB, replacing the existing one, almost but not quite. I mean it is in between the two paragraphs, but it's pushing the first line over. That's not quite what I want, and if I had done the same thing as the last character of the previous paragraph, then it would have changed the leading of this paragraph because this picture would have been inline and pushed this text up. So that's not what we want either. What we really want is we want his picture to be by itself in a paragraph, in between these two paragraphs, but we don't want to have to add an extra empty return here.
So how's that done? With the incredible, invisible paragraph. So let's start again, and take this, I am going to cut it and paste it so that it's no longer anchored. We are going to temporarily add a carriage return in between these two paragraphs. Then what we do is we are going to make this almost invisible. All you need to do is re-size that carriage return to the smallest possible size that InDesign can handle, which is .1 of a point.
There is actually a paragraph return there. It's kind of hard to see. If we look at it in Edit > Edit in Story Editor, you can see it clear as day. So that might help you. What I usually do is--I am going to undo this. I'm going to go ahead in and anchor it to this carriage return. Let's drag and drop it right there, then I'm going to select the carriage return and then make it small. And actually I did it the smart way-- is I created a paragraph style called image and we look at the settings for image, you can see that the Size is .1 and the Leading is 0.
So let's apply that. So he jumped up but that was only because that's where he was before we actually inserted that return. So I guess it's .1 of a paragraph in here. I suppose it could be detectable to a surgeon's eyes, but to most people reading this, you can't see that there is actually another paragraph in between here. In other words, we were able to do this without messing around with our print layout. Let's export this to EPUB and there it is.
He is sitting there in between the two paragraphs exactly how I wanted him and I was able to do that without messing up my print layout. The incredible, invisible paragraph; very handy in all sorts of situations.
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