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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.
You may know already how to create a text wrap, but did you know that you can edit that wrap? Yes, it's a technique discovered only by a few intrepid designers. We are looking at a two-page spread in InDesign CS6, though this technique is really not specific to CS6. It can be done in basically any version of InDesign as far as I know. I'm going to switch back to normal editing mode so you can see all the frames and what's happening here. This is a nice looking spread I think, but we want to add a little bit more interest and so what I'd like to do is to wrap this text against the student's legs here.
Now this will only work if the picture has any kind of mask over here, and if I select this picture and go and right-click and choose Edit Original, and I had it open already, it didn't open that fast, and you can see that there definitely is masks already. Here is the Layers panel. So somebody has already gone to the trouble of selecting the white area or whatever was around the young model and hiding it in a layer mask. So if I Command+click or Ctrl+click on it, you can see the selection.
That's all you want to check is that there is some transparency here. So we come back here and we're going to overlap this text frame with the legs, and right now apparently the picture is on top of the text frame, that makes no difference in InDesign. Then we select the picture of the model that's called the wrap object and go to the Text Wrap panel which is in the Advanced Workspace. It's right here, or you can always go to the Window menu and choose Text Wrap. So I am going to open it up, and we want to wrap around the object shape.
When you choose object shape then depending on the kind of image that it is, you will have a bunch of different Contour Options. So this is Detect Edges or Alpha Channel, which in this case is the same thing, defining the Alpha Channel meaning the transparency. If there was a path, we could choose the path and so on, but either Detect Edges or Alpha Channel would work great. I'll just leave it to Alpha Channel for now. But let's say that you know you wanted to adjust this a little bit. Maybe some of these words are too tight, you want to give little bit more room. You want to cheat something out.
Let me show you how you do that. I am going to select his text frame and zoom in a bit. Now I always make a selection before I zoom in with Command++ or Ctrl++ because that centers the selection in the window. So if we select the wrap object and we go to the Text Wrap panel, there's nothing here that says Edit Wrap or anything like that. All we know is that it is pushing the text away 12 points and we could edit this, let's say 13, 14, 15, and so then you see that the lines break differently or we could reduce it.
But to actually edit this path that the text is wrapping to, you have to switch to the Direct Selection tool, the white arrow, and then click on the wrap object and you will see the line appear that you can actually adjust. I am going to zoom in even more with Command++ or Ctrl++. It's a very faint line and it's in the same color as the layer that it's on, and these are simply anchor points for any kind of Bezier path. So I could select this guy and drag the point around. That's not affecting any text over there, so let's find a point over here and you can see the little cursor gets a square next to it when it knows it's by a point, otherwise it knows this by a subpath, but here it's by point, so I can sort of nudge it this way and you see that when you start dragging, you will see the surrounding control handles and the nearest other points.
And so if I wanted to sort of shove things over a little bit or if I wanted to maybe bring that comma in a bit and then bring writers out a bit. We are only seeing this kind of effect by the way because the Text Paragraph Formatting is set to Justify on both sides. You are not going to be able to really judge it that well if your text, let me select it all, is set to left-aligned. You know you don't get that big of an effect. So we have it set to Justify.
And the other thing that you might want to do whenever you are editing your wrap edges, which is what we are doing right now, is select the wrapping object, especially if you are getting really close to it and make sure the resolution is at high-res. Now you can see the bitmapping happening on this image. So it's probably using my defaults of just a placeholder 72 PPI preview image. So I am going to right-click on the image and go down to Display Performance and choose High Quality Display, and assuming this is a high- res image, it should sharpen up quite a bit.
There, that's a lot better. So again, select the wrap object, and then switch to the Direct Selection tool and you should see the actual path. Now you can use the Direct Selection tool to adjust the existing paths, points and handles, and you can switch to the Pen tool and actually add your own points. Notice how it looks like a plus symbol when it's over the path and I can add in another point if I wanted to, or I can delete a point by hovering over an existing point, so you get the minus symbol.
And basically anything that you can do to a path with the Pen tool or any of its helpers, you can do to a Text Wrap path. Now you might think that this technique is only good for wrapping around irregular paths, but actually you can use this technique anytime that you have a Text Wrap. I am going to zoom out with Command+0 or Ctrl+0 and let's say that we want this picture, I am going to make this even smaller to force a wraparound this text. So I am going to select the picture which is going to be a wrap object, and then I'll just click most common kind of wrap which is wrap around the bounding box, and the text gets pushed out of the way around the box surrounding the picture.
It's offset right now by zero points, but let's offset this by, let's say, 12 points because the Chain icon is turned on and they all get the same setting. Now do you see the wrapping boundary right here? And this too can be edited. I'll switch to the Direct Selection tool and now you see the points appear on the wrapping object and if I wanted to, I could make it wrap like this or I could switch to the Pen tool and change that corner point to a curve point.
I am holding down the Option or Alt key which is the keyboard shortcut for change direction. I'll just pull out a couple handles and it's curving around this. So you are not limited to the shape of the wrap object in what you can do with the text wrap boundary itself, which I think is very cool.
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