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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.
One reason that I'm so efficient in InDesign is that I know how to do the same thing several different ways. That sounds boring, but it turns out to be really helpful because I can pick the most efficient way to do something in any situation I find myself in. Take moving an object, everyone knows you can select an object and just drag it around your page. But did you know there are at least nine more ways of moving an object precisely on your page? Let me show you. First, if you want really precise movement, you can use the arrow keys on your keyboard.
Every time you hit the Arrow key, it's going to move 1 point. I'm pressing the Up Arrow on my keyboard and it moves it up 1 point at a time, left, right, down, and so on. If you need to move it in larger increments, try holding down the Shift key, Shift+Arrow key moves 10 times that increment or 10 points. If you need really tiny fine increments, then use Command+Option or Ctrl+Alt on Windows. Now, it's moving in 10-point increments. It's so small, you can barely see it on the screen, but you can see the measurements move in the Control Panel.
Now, why do the arrow keys move in 1-point increments? Because that's the way the Preferences are set up. You can change that. Press Command+K or Ctrl+K on Windows, choose the Units & Increments pane, and change the Cursor Key setting. If you want it to be quarter-point, change it to quarter-point, if you want 10 millimeters, change it there. It's up to you. I'm going to leave it set to 1 point though. I like that. Okay, method number three to move an object is to double-click the Selection Tool. When you double-click, you get the Move dialog box, and you can type in exactly where you want things moved.
I want to move this over, let's say, 4 millimeters, and I want to move it down 10 centimeters. Hit OK, and boom, it does it, very precise. Another precise way to move objects is to use the Control Panel. Just change the X and Y fields at the top here. You can change this to any value you want. I'll change it to 400 points, or you can even do math if you want. Down here in the Y field, I'll just type +3 inches, hit Enter, and it moves it down and over. What if I wanted to center that circle in the page? Easy, cut it to the clipboard with Command+X or Ctrl+X on Windows.
From the View Menu, choose Fit Page in Window, or press Command+0 or Ctrl+0, and then paste, Command+V or Ctrl+V. Because pasting always pastes in the center of the window and because the Fit Page in Window always centers the page in the window, that centers the object on the page. Method number six: use the alignment features. There are normally alignment buttons up here in the Control Panel, but because of the size of my screen right now, I don't see them. So, I'm going to have to go to the Window menu, choose Object & Layout, and then choose Align.
And inside the Align Panel, I can align this object to anything on my page. I need to use the Align To pop-up menu here to tell it what to align to. If I had more than one object selected, I could choose Align to Selection, or I could choose Align to Margins, Page, or Spread. Let's say I want to align this to the left edge of my page. Just choose that and click Align Objects, and it moves it exactly to that location. In InDesign CS6, you can also align to any key object. For example, I'll Shift-click on this group of objects over here, so now both of those things are selected, and I want to align the top of the circle to the top of this group.
To do that, I change this to Align to Key Object, and then I click on the thing that I want to be the key object, in this case, this group. You'll see that it's highlighted in blue. Now, when I click on the Align to Top button, the circle aligns to the top of the key object. Okay, let's look at the seventh way you can move an object on your page. I'm going to use the Gap Tool. I love the Gap Tool because it allows me to resize or move an object based on the space around the object rather than the object itself. As I move the cursor between the circle and the edge of the page, you'll see that space highlights, and I see this arrow.
That indicates that I'm changing the amount of space between the circle and the edge of the page. If I simply click and drag here, I'm going to resize the circle. Oops, I don't want to do that, and in fact, I move my page. Let's re-center that again. There we go! Instead, why don't I undo that, Command+Z or Ctrl+Z on Windows. Instead, I'm going to hold down the Option or Alt key when I drag. That's a secret trick for move the object instead of resize the object, Option or Alt-drag, it moves that object by changing the amount of space between the object and the side of the page.
Moving an object, number eight, you can use the Transform Panel, Window > Object & Layout > Transform. If I select the object with the Selection Tool, you'll see the X and Y positioning of that object here in the Transform Panel. But honestly, this X and Y is the same as the X and Y in the Control Panel. So, I'm not sure why you would use the Transform Panel. I suppose if it happened to be right in front of your face, you might use it. So there you go, now you know. Moving object number 9 is to transform it using Rotation or Skew.
In this case, I'm going to rotate this object so that it shows up on the other side of the page. First, I go to the reference point on the left edge of the Control Panel here, and I make sure the reference point is on the right side middle point. That's the point that's going to be locked when I rotate my object. Now, I can go over here and click on the rotate 90 degrees counter-clockwise. You could choose either one if you want, or in this case you could say Flip Horizontal if you want. Flip Horizontal, and it's going to flip it around the reference point. There you go.
The problem is that the AdjustLayout script that ships with InDesign is actually broken in InDesign CS6. So I have a modified version that I use. And the modified version, you can find it InDesignSecrets.com. You can just go to the site and look for this blog post that I wrote and then download it from there, install the script, there are instructions on how to do that, and then run it. After you install the script and come back to your document, you'll see your script, this one is called AdjustLayout_modified, just double-click on it, and it will run. In this case, it doesn't just move the one object that's selected.
It moves all the objects on the page, and so I'm going to say just move page 1 to page 1, which is an odd page, so I'm going to say move it over 3 centimeters and move it vertically about a quarter inch. You click OK, and it moves everything over. So, it's kind of cheating. I'm not moving just one object, but you get the point. You can move an object with a script. Okay, sure, some of these are rare cases. But remember, the more you know about InDesign, the more fun it is, and the more efficient you become.
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