InDesign Secrets
Illustration by John Hersey

073 Working with sets in the content conveyor tool


InDesign Secrets

with Anne-Marie Concepción and David Blatner

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Video: 073 Working with sets in the content conveyor tool

One of the interesting new features in InDesign CS6 is this thing called the Content Tools, Content Collector, Content Placer, and Content Conveyor, and they're used to grab content from one area of your InDesign document and put them elsewhere in the same document or in another document, kind of like a permanent clipboard while the InDesign document is active. The tools are right here in the Toolbar, the Content Collector Tool. The shortcut is B, and if you press B again it switches to its partner in crime, which is the Content Placer.
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  1. 4m 25s
    1. 197 Permanently disabling hyphenation NEW
      4m 25s
  2. 51s
    1. Welcome to InDesign Secrets
  3. 18m 10s
    1. 193 Printing tracked changes
      5m 41s
    2. 194 Using Ink Manager before sending your project to the printer
      3m 2s
    3. 195 Fast layout with column spans in styles
      3m 34s
    4. 196 Working with dynamic layouts
      5m 53s
  4. 19m 0s
    1. 189 Placing InDesign files
      5m 14s
    2. 190 Make an image sandwich: Putting an image in front and in back of text for a magazine cover
      2m 36s
    3. 191 Deciding between reflowable and fixed-layout EPUB
      7m 14s
    4. 192 Test font choices quickly in CC
      3m 56s
  5. 26m 39s
    1. 184 Put a box around or behind a paragraph
      3m 53s
    2. 185 Fixing three common Word formatting glitches
      5m 27s
    3. 186 Making long shadows
      5m 41s
    4. 187 Three ways to prevent a word from hyphenating
      4m 28s
    5. 188 How to type the last page number in a book
      7m 10s
  6. 12m 17s
    1. 180 One-sided custom strokes for image borders
      2m 45s
    2. 181 The fastest way to find missing links
      2m 53s
    3. 182 Start a document on a left-hand page
      2m 41s
    4. 183 Borrowing preset art paths from Illustrator and Photoshop for fresh frame looks in InDesign
      3m 58s
  7. 15m 21s
    1. 176 Quickly empty out an InDesign document of text and images
      3m 41s
    2. 177 Add a font from Typekit in CC
      4m 35s
    3. 178 How to hide the content grabber donut
      1m 51s
    4. 179 File naming for healthy EPUBs
      5m 14s
  8. 15m 35s
    1. 172 Making a character style change only the tint of your text
      2m 27s
    2. 173 Editing table set up from the keyboard
      4m 40s
    3. 174 How to sort text in InDesign
      2m 34s
    4. 175 Making captions easy (ignore text wrap object style library item live caption)
      5m 54s
  9. 12m 59s
    1. 169 All about All Caps (change case open type option)
      4m 36s
    2. 170 Batch convert InDesign files to IDML and other formats
      2m 35s
    3. 171 Fun with placeholder text
      5m 48s
  10. 11m 52s
    1. 166 Creating blank entry spaces on forms
      3m 53s
    2. 167 Creative uses of the Slug area
      4m 45s
    3. 168 Change the UI languaging in InDesign CS6 and CC
      3m 14s
  11. 21m 11s
    1. 161 Keeping page numbers on top of master items
      3m 55s
    2. 162 Adding automatic currency symbols in a table cell or before text
      3m 50s
    3. 163 Make a pop-up footnote for your ebook
      3m 48s
    4. 164 Deleting tabs at the beginning of paragraphs and applying a paragraph style
      3m 10s
    5. 165 Five InDesign Presentation tips
      6m 28s
  12. 19m 54s
    1. 157 Sharing swatches (PS/IL/ID and ID to ID)
      3m 36s
    2. 158 Convert rounded corners to editable paths
      3m 15s
    3. 159 Convert local formatting to character styles
      5m 14s
    4. 160 Sort an index by page number
      7m 49s
  13. 16m 58s
    1. 153 When InDesign ignores your leading values
      4m 5s
    2. 154 Extracting images from a Word document
      3m 42s
    3. 155 Uncommon uses for Quick Apply
      6m 2s
    4. 156 Uncovering InDesign's magic font folders
      3m 9s
  14. 28m 47s
    1. 148 Cropping with paste into
      5m 18s
    2. 149 Using vertical justification to spread out text in a frame automatically
      5m 16s
    3. 150 Rotate text inside a frame, or the frame around the text
      2m 30s
    4. 151 Looking at snippets vs. libraries
      6m 49s
    5. 152 Import a folder full of pictures, one per page
      8m 54s
  15. 19m 0s
    1. 144 Lay out a front back and spine for a book jacket
      6m 12s
    2. 145 Ghosting area of image behind text
      2m 53s
    3. 146 Make a transparency mask in InDesign
      3m 45s
    4. 147 Using preflight to find common document errors
      6m 10s
  16. 22m 35s
    1. 139 Faking bold and italic when the font family doesn’t have one
      5m 2s
    2. 140 Keeping the same scale size when updating or relinking to images
      3m 9s
    3. 141 Inserting glyphs
      6m 42s
    4. 142 Building richer, bolder color gradients
      3m 7s
    5. 143 Finding the right font with InDesign’s font menus
      4m 35s
  17. 21m 28s
    1. 135 Fitting text to a specific size
      4m 45s
    2. 136 Quick tips for making a small PDF file size
      6m 9s
    3. 137 Sharing presets, workspaces, and custom shortcuts sets
      5m 17s
    4. 138 Making a multi-level numbered list
      5m 17s
  18. 17m 21s
    1. 131 Changing the shape of polygons and starburst as you draw or afterward
      4m 17s
    2. 132 Contextual text and images that you only want sometimes visible
      4m 55s
    3. 133 Creating nav points in a movie
      4m 31s
    4. 134 Adding effects to your rule above and rule below
      3m 38s
  19. 22m 44s
    1. 127 Making automatic jump lines
      6m 52s
    2. 128 Turning off allow pages to shuffle in order to separate facing pages
      3m 40s
    3. 129 Dealing with parentheses around text size
      4m 19s
    4. 130 Make a fill in the blank label for contracts and forms
      7m 53s
  20. 23m 24s
    1. 122 Allow text frame to resize with text
      2m 43s
    2. 123 Mapping Word styles to InDesign styles
      5m 48s
    3. 124 Make two automatically threaded text flows
      3m 36s
    4. 125 Saving for Web in InDesign
      6m 7s
    5. 126 Numbering rows in a table
      5m 10s
  21. 13m 49s
    1. 119 Making alternative body text styles for fast typesetting
      5m 3s
    2. 120 Making InDesign patterns with the free PatternMaker
      3m 45s
    3. 121 Creating pull quotes the easy way
      5m 1s
  22. 13m 56s
    1. 116 Selecting text with the InDesign keyboard dance
      2m 0s
    2. 117 Including a total page count in your page numbers
      6m 19s
    3. 118 Making a custom arrowhead
      5m 37s
  23. 21m 53s
    1. 111 Packaging images on the pasteboard
      3m 32s
    2. 112 Automatically updating figure references for books
      6m 9s
    3. 113 Adding Tool Tips to your form fields in InDesign
      3m 21s
    4. 114 Setting poetry, flush left, center on longest line
      3m 54s
    5. 115 Use bookmarks to navigate long documents in production
      4m 57s
  24. 18m 25s
    1. 107 Using the same keyboard shortcut for two different commands with the Context feature
      5m 22s
    2. 108 Making a text highlighter
      3m 33s
    3. 109 Updating an interactive PDF without losing work done in Acrobat
      5m 30s
    4. 110 Adding custom text at the beginning of each line automatically
      4m 0s
  25. 25m 3s
    1. 103 Converting text to outlines the right way
      4m 30s
    2. 104 Turning InDesign into a speed demon
      8m 31s
    3. 105 Working with MiniBridge
      5m 45s
    4. 106 Customize your QR codes
      6m 17s
  26. 16m 34s
    1. 099 Aligning Objects tips and tricks
      5m 10s
    2. 100 Applying corner options to any shape
      2m 17s
    3. 101 Converting footnotes to endnotes with a free script
      4m 49s
    4. 102 Making tab leaders pretty
      4m 18s
  27. 24m 41s
    1. 095 Managing changing pages with primary text frames
      5m 23s
    2. 096 Secrets of the Info panel
      7m 31s
    3. 097 Surprising ways to do a word count
      5m 29s
    4. 098 Placing an object where you want it with an object style
      6m 18s
  28. 30m 33s
    1. 089 Three great Object Styles for any designer
      8m 1s
    2. 090 Choosing alpha channel image transparency
      2m 25s
    3. 091 Adding and reading metadata for InDesign files
      3m 25s
    4. 092 Adding ALT tags to your images
      6m 59s
    5. 093 How to Place & Link a text frame's text but not its formatting
      7m 4s
    6. 094 Setting the baseline position of a caption
      2m 39s
  29. 17m 58s
    1. 085 Using Illustrator to create InDesign gradient swatches
      4m 49s
    2. 086 Building a simple grep style to change character size
      3m 45s
    3. 087 Exporting a grayscale PDF
      3m 16s
    4. 088 Three ways to cheat text outside of its frame
      6m 8s
  30. 28m 38s
    1. 081 Creating a custom cross-reference format
      13m 53s
    2. 082 Putting different-sized pages on a single spread
      3m 7s
    3. 083 Formatting prices with nested and grep styles
      6m 21s
    4. 084 Checking out the Gridify tricks
      5m 17s
  31. 19m 17s
    1. 077 The secrets of formatting objects with Find/Change
      6m 36s
    2. 078 Using ruler guides: 10 great tricks
      5m 3s
    3. 079 Converting a clipping path to a frame
      4m 24s
    4. 080 Adding a drop shadow to a single word inside a frame
      3m 14s
  32. 31m 18s
    1. 073 Working with sets in the content conveyor tool
      10m 40s
    2. 074 Running text along the top and the bottom of a circle
      3m 51s
    3. 075 Creating a list using the Table of Contents feature
      3m 25s
    4. 076 Quickly threading frames together and unthreading frames
      13m 22s
  33. 29m 32s
    1. 069 Ten uses of the Story Editor
      11m 39s
    2. 070 Moving an object: Ten ways!
      7m 18s
    3. 071 Understanding optical margin alignment (and the quote trick)
      4m 23s
    4. 072 Changing the shape of any frame with the pen tool
      6m 12s
  34. 17m 53s
    1. 065 Customizing the story editor preferences
      6m 10s
    2. 066 Setting the size of text exactly with this free script
      3m 28s
    3. 067 Using Gravity to simulate perspective
      3m 15s
    4. 068 Fixing the overflowing text frame problem in EPUBs
      5m 0s
  35. 23m 54s
    1. 061 Embedding images
      7m 44s
    2. 062 Adjusting leading inside a paragraph
      4m 47s
    3. 063 Placing one InDesign file inside another
      3m 58s
    4. 064 Creating bookmarks for PDFs
      7m 25s
  36. 29m 16s
    1. 057 Text wrapping
      6m 54s
    2. 058 Inserting pages: Understanding the Pages panel
      4m 20s
    3. 059 Copying paths between Illustrator and InDesign
      5m 14s
    4. 060 Automating Find/Change with the Find/ChangeByList script
      12m 48s
  37. 35m 12s
    1. 051 Five things that should be in every new file
      5m 19s
    2. 052 Forcing EPUB page breaks with invisible objects
      6m 21s
    3. 053 Understanding component information
      6m 39s
    4. 054 Creating running heads using section markers
      4m 16s
    5. 055 Making a font with InDesign using the IndyFont script
      5m 20s
    6. 056 Finding where that color is used
      7m 17s
  38. 23m 41s
    1. 047 Specifying an exact amount of space between objects
      5m 17s
    2. 048 Fixing last lines that are too short
      8m 16s
    3. 049 Creating web graphics from your InDesign artwork
      7m 20s
    4. 050 Using “No Language” to suppress unwanted hyphenation, spell-checking, and smart quotes
      2m 48s
  39. 21m 30s
    1. 043 Formatting fractions correctly
      8m 11s
    2. 044 Fixing unwanted hyperlinks in an imported Word file
      5m 57s
    3. 045 Inline graphic tricks with invisible paragraphs
      4m 21s
    4. 046 Ensuring the first line of every chapter starts in the same spot
      3m 1s
  40. 29m 36s
    1. 037 Updating a linked table without losing formatting
      5m 18s
    2. 038 Creating electronic sticky notes
      4m 49s
    3. 039 Moving master page items to the top layer for visibility
      2m 48s
    4. 040 Five guide tricks that will impress your coworkers
      6m 18s
    5. 041 Letting InDesign add the diacritics
      4m 21s
    6. 042 Using single-cell table cells for custom paragraph formatting
      6m 2s
  41. 28m 19s
    1. 033 Importing a custom dictionary
      7m 8s
    2. 034 Changing document orientation and page size
      6m 45s
    3. 035 Numbering instead of using auto page numbers
      6m 23s
    4. 036 Setting story order with the Articles panel
      8m 3s
  42. 37m 59s
    1. 027 Creating running heads using variables
      5m 1s
    2. 028 Live Caption tips and tricks
      8m 3s
    3. 029 Making professional drop caps
      10m 37s
    4. 030 Making two-state buttons in interactive documents
      5m 5s
    5. 031 Moving pages from one document to another
      3m 15s
    6. 032 Wrapping bulleted text around a curve
      5m 58s
  43. 23m 50s
    1. 023 Using layer comps in Photoshop files to show alternates in InDesign
      4m 19s
    2. 024 Adding custom HTML tags to EPUB/HTML exports
      5m 32s
    3. 025 Tracking down type issues with the composition highlighter
      8m 13s
    4. 026 Managing your InDesign panels
      5m 46s
  44. 21m 34s
    1. 019 Using multiple windows for comparisons
      3m 35s
    2. 020 Putting images on a stroke
      5m 23s
    3. 021 Making your own motion path
      5m 43s
    4. 022 Copying objects between Illustrator and InDesign
      6m 53s
  45. 23m 8s
    1. 015 Aligning numbered lists by decimal points
      3m 9s
    2. 016 Running a script
      9m 33s
    3. 017 When text disappears from a text frame
      6m 18s
    4. 018 Preview and Presentation modes (changing color etc.)
      4m 8s
  46. 25m 19s
    1. 011 InDesign's Easter eggs
      5m 0s
    2. 012 Three cool GREP styles everyone can use
      7m 35s
    3. 013 A field guide to special characters
      8m 2s
    4. 014 Trashing the application preferences to solve weird behaviors
      4m 42s
  47. 26m 6s
    1. 007 Selecting through and into objects using cmd-click and Select Above/Below
      5m 46s
    2. 008 Some great tips and tricks for the Swatches panel
      9m 40s
    3. 009 Saving down for backward compatibility with INX and IDML
      5m 54s
    4. 010 Using the INX and IDML formats to fix problems
      4m 46s
  48. 23m 26s
    1. 003 The indispensible Quick Apply feature
      5m 29s
    2. 004 Customizing the Links panel
      6m 53s
    3. 005 Magically building graphs with the Chartwell font
      7m 43s
    4. 006 Using the Eyedropper tool to pick up character or paragraph attributes
      3m 21s
  49. 9m 6s
    1. 001 The hidden "auto-expand text" feature
      5m 51s
    2. 002 Letting InDesign do the math for you
      3m 15s

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Watch the Online Video Course InDesign Secrets
17h 21m Intermediate Aug 25, 2011 Updated Jul 02, 2015

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

In this series, David Blatner and Anne-Marie Concepción, co-hosts of the web's top resource for InDesign tips and tricks,, 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

Anne-Marie Concepción David Blatner

073 Working with sets in the content conveyor tool

One of the interesting new features in InDesign CS6 is this thing called the Content Tools, Content Collector, Content Placer, and Content Conveyor, and they're used to grab content from one area of your InDesign document and put them elsewhere in the same document or in another document, kind of like a permanent clipboard while the InDesign document is active. The tools are right here in the Toolbar, the Content Collector Tool. The shortcut is B, and if you press B again it switches to its partner in crime, which is the Content Placer.

And if I press and hold down here, you can see the Content Collector is an arrow that goes into a little bucket and the Content Placer is an arrow that comes out of the bucket. And whenever you choose either of these tools, you'll get the Content Conveyor, which is this gray thing right here. And when the Content Conveyor is active, meaning that one of these tools is active, then when you click on an object with the Content Collector it selects that object and copies it to the Content Conveyor, so click, click, click, that's a group, click picture, caption, and so on.

These are normal content items, and so the cursor is telling you that you are still in collecting mode, and so far you have five items, a group is counted as one item. And if you tap the B key, which toggles to the other content tool which is the Content Placer, then you'll see a preview. Unfortunately, you don't see previews of text if it's small, but if I press the Right Arrow key to cycle through, you'll see--if the text is large enough--you'll see a preview and your cursor. That's the group, so if I click, the group gets placed. So that is the basics of the Content Conveyor, and you might already know how this works, but I want to talk about working with sets. So what is a set? Let's back out.

I'm just pressing the Escape key to get rid of some of these things. And I'll get rid of you too. I don't want to place you. There we go. So I'm going to press the B key again to start all over, and now instead of just clicking on an item to add it to my Conveyor, I'm going to drag across and Marquee Select a bunch of items. That gets added as a set. So it's different than a group. A set shows up as one item in the Content Conveyor, but it's got a number on it showing you how many items are in the set.

So now I can go to another page or another document, I'm just going to press Command+Shift+P or Ctrl+Shift+P on a PC to add another page. And if I tap the B key to switch to the Content Placer, you see the icon how it shows those three squares? That means that a set is active. And the number one means that this is the one item that is in my Conveyor. If I just click, it places everything in the set in the same relationship and at the same size as what it was when I first grabbed it, I remember I did a marquee select.

I'm going to undo, I'm still in Content Collector mode, look at the active tool in the toolbar. I need to tap the B key to switch to the Content Placer, now I see the three squares. Now let's say that in that set of multiple items, I want to just place one of them. And this time instead of clicking, I'm going to tap the down arrow, and that drills down into the set. Take a look what's happening here. You can see that you are drilled down, you're like going down into the basement, down one level, and now we see the individual members of this set.

And I can use my arrow keys to cycle through here and choose whichever item I want to place. So if I just want to place this guy I can click there. And I don't have to place all of them. If I want to move up again in the hierarchy, tap the Up Arrow key, and there we have the set again. And if I drag, those items get placed, except for this one that I already placed. So let's try that again. This time we'll do a combination of single items and a set. Let's come up over here, so you are in Content Collector mode, click on one item, that gets added.

Click on one item, that gets added. And now I'm going to click on a group of items. I'm holding down the Spacebar key to get my little grabber hand to pan the screen around. Let's say that I want to grab these three things all together, so I will marquee drag around all of them and they get added as a set. I'll just move out here to the pasteboard a bit--let me give us some more room. I'm going to switch to the Content Placer by tapping the B key, toggles between Content Collector, Content Placer and look at the cursor.

So right now I have that type on a circle loaded in my place gun. And I see a little preview of it, really hard to see this piece of artwork. But the more important thing to look at is that there's a paintbrush icon upper-left. That tells you that you have one thing that you're about to place. So I'm just going to drag it off over here. Now we have text, and it's really hard to see, but there is a little icon upper-left of tiny type, and I'll place that over here. And now look at what we have, we have a picture of a girl, but look at the icon.

It's not a paintbrush, it's the three dots that means that you have a set loaded. Now if I drag, it's going to drag all three items. I'm going to undo. If I don't want to place all three items, if I just want to place like the text frame, you always have to remember get to the Content Placer Tool, tap the B key, tap the Down Arrow key, and we have drilled down into this set. Now I can tap the right arrow until I get to my text frame, there is the text frame.

If you don't want to place anything else from that set, you can just keep pressing the Escape key until it's all cleared up. When the Content Conveyor panel is empty, pressing the Escape key one more time closes it up, and then you can switch to another tool and go on your merry way. All right, so that's how you get a set as you can marquee drag around a bunch of items. But what happens if the items are not right next to each other, items that you want to be in a set, you want a group of them? Because you know that if you want to start collecting a whole bunch of different objects from your document, it can get pretty long.

So you might want to grab like everything on a page and keep it as a set. You might want to just grab certain pictures on a spread and keep that as a set, rather than having them take up all that room in the Conveyor. Let's come back down here, and then I'm going to ungroup this, because remember the group really doesn't work as a set. The group isn't a single item. So I'm just going to select it and ungroup it so we have more things to play with. The answer to create a set out of a number of items that are not right next to each other, in other words you can't marquee select them with the Content Collector Tool is to select them normally with a Selection Tool.

So let's say I wanted this caption and picture, and I'm holding down the Shift key, this caption, this picture, this caption, this picture. Now with the selection, I'm going to switch to the Content Collector Tool by tapping the B key or clicking it in the toolbar. And now I can come all the way over here, do you see this little icon right here? It looks like those three boxes that we were seeing on the cursor. It's called the Load Conveyor button. Click it and you can say that I want this selection. This is a little bug, I think that may be different as they come out with patches, but this should be checked automatically.

When you have a selection and you turn on mode Conveyor, it's automatically going to turn it into a set. So I'll click OK, and you can see that there it is, it's a set. And if I switch to the Content Placer, we see the tell-tale three little squares there. So that's one way to create a set, and let me press the Escape key to clear it out. Another way to create a set, you don't have to select anything. I'm going to press Command+Shift+A or Ctrl+Shift+A to deselect everything. And I have opened up the Content Conveyor, and I'll click right here.

You could select All Pages including Pasteboard Objects, and of course you'd want to turn on Create a Single Set. That's what you wanted to do, or you could select certain pages. You could say all the pages which is the same as this, except it's not going to get the stuff on the pasteboard, or you could swipe over here and say pages 4 to 5 or whatever range that you want. The other choices that you have down here are any other alternative layouts. So if you have alternate layouts included in this document, you can choose that as well.

But here I'm going to say get me all the pages. I don't want the stuff on the Pasteboard, and I want to create a single set. And I add them all. There is 62 items here. What I find this could be useful for--here I'll do this article. This is like a magazine article with a whole bunch of stuff. I'll grab this, too, and I want all the pages as a single set. And here, this is just one page of a poster, and I'll say all the pages as a single set. And now I have all of the elements of these three documents. Now I can easily create another new document or maybe go over to a document that I'm working on, and I can grab the items that I need to from these other documents and place them here.

So even if I go on and switch to the Selection Tool and I am doing something else, or I type a headline or something like that, as soon as I type the B key or I click the Content Collector Tool, they're still active. And I can say, well, I want to grab some of the artwork from the posters. So I'm going to tap the right arrow a couple of times, and what happens? Nothing, because I'm on the wrong tool. I have to tap the B key again. Look at that tool, it is the Content Collector. You need to be in the Content Placer if you want to start actually placing stuff.

So now I'll tap the Right Arrow key because I want to make the colored stuff active, and now I'll tap the Down Arrow key. I'll put my cursor out here so you can see what's happening, there you go. This is now saying there is three items in this set, there's actually seven items in the set. That number three on the icon is saying there's three sets total in the Conveyor. I'm going to tap the down arrow and now there is all of the different items in the set, and let's say that I just wanted to get the logo. So I'm going to tap the right arrow to get the logo active, and I want the logo right there, here we go.

Tap the up arrow, and I still have all the three things ready to go. So I don't have to keep flipping back to the other documents, scrolling, looking for where the logo is, copying and pasting, I have all sets ready to go anytime that I want right here in the Conveyor. And then I can show and hide at will, I can just tap the V key to switch to the Selection Tool, work, tap the B key to bring it back, V key to go back. So there you have it, Content Collector, Content Placer, and Content Conveyor in InDesign.

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For additional information on downloading and using exercise files, watch our instructional video or read the instructions in the FAQ .

This course includes free exercise files, so you can practice while you watch the course. To access all the exercise files in our library, become a Premium Member.

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Exercise files

Learn by watching, listening, and doing! Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along. Exercise files are available with all Premium memberships. Learn more

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Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

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Exercise files

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