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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.
Ruler Guides are great way to ensure that your layouts are well designed, and they are so easy to make. You just drag them out of the rulers at the top edge or the left edge of your document window. Everyone knows how to do that, but here are ten great ruler tricks that you might not know. First, if you drag a guide out and you let go of it on top of the page, it becomes a page guide. But if you let go of it while your mouse cursor is on top of the Paste Board, it becomes a Paste Board Guide. Some people call these Spread Guides because they go all the way across a two-page facing spread.
Next, when you're dragging out guides, sometimes you don't know where to drop it. But if you want to drop it so that it's exactly along one of these tick marks in the ruler, hold down the Shift key. The Shift key makes sure that these guides are always snapped to the nearest tick mark in the ruler. So if I place it here and let go over the mouse button, I know it snapped exactly to 30 picas, not 30.125, something like that. Next, if I'm dragging out a guide and I suddenly realize I want a vertical guide instead of a horizontal guide, just hold down the Option or Alt key.
That flips the guide around. That could be useful sometime. Next, here is one of my favorites. If I know that I want a guide exactly here at the 42-pica mark, I can simply double-click that position on the ruler. Well, I didn't get it exactly where I want it unfortunately. So let me undo that, Command+Z, and instead I'm going to hold down the Shift key. Remember, the Shift key means snap it to the nearest tick mark, so Shift+double-click means make a guide right there and snap it to the nearest tick mark. Tip number 5, if I don't want the position of this guide to be right there, I can select it by clicking on it.
You'll notice it highlights slightly and then I can change it in the Control Panel. It's very important to remember that guides are just like objects, you can select them, change them in the Control Panel, say I'll set that to 50 picas instead, hit Enter, and it moves. This also means that you can duplicate guides really easily simply by Option- or Alt-dragging them just like you would do an object. Option-drag or Alt-drag makes a duplicate of it. Or I could go up to the Control Panel and say let's move this to let's say 40 picas and then hold down the Option or Alt key and press Return.
It duplicates it and moves it. All right, here is one of my favorite guide tricks. How do you get rid of a bunch of guides on your page all at the same time? There are several ways to do it, but my favorite is to hold down Command+Option+G or Ctrl+Alt+G, and that selects all guides. So this little shortcut for selecting all guides on the spread, then I hit the Delete key and it deletes them. Let's go ahead and add one more guide here, and now I want a grid of guides. How would I get a grid of guides on my page? Well, I could use Edit > Step and Repeat.
Because these are objects, I can simply say I want a bunch of these. I want them exactly 1-centimeter Offsets, turn Preview on, and you can see that now I've got three more at exactly those offsets. Let's go ahead and add a bunch of them, click OK. Once I have a lot of guides, I might want to put them on a separate layer. So I'm going to drag over all of them with a Selection tool, make a new layer, and then drag the little proxy square up onto that new layer. That places them on that layer so that I can hide and show them.
I love that ability. I can also lock that layer so that those guides aren't moved accidentally. Let's just do a couple of more tricks. I'll unlock that layer and then drag out a new vertical guide. While the guide is selected it's red because that's the color of this layer, but when I deselect it by clicking out here, it turns back to blue. That's just the default color for my guides, but it doesn't have to be. Sometimes I want a special color on my guide, and I can do that by selecting the guide, right-clicking on it, and then choosing Ruler Guides.
The Ruler Guides dialog box lets me change that to any color I want. I'll set this one to orange and click OK. Now I've got an orange guide on my page and that is just visually different from my other guides, so different guides might mean different things. Now if you were quick you noticed there was one other feature inside that Ruler Guide dialog box, and that's Threshold. The View Threshold percentage is how close do I need to be in magnification view to be able to see this guide? Right now it's set to 5%, which means that as long as I'm above 5%, I can see the guide.
But if I set this to 100% and click OK, you'll see the guide disappear. That's because we're currently at 77% view. If I press Command+1 or Ctrl+1 on Windows, I still can't see it. But as soon as I go higher than that, let's say 125%, you see the guide. It's because it was at that 100% threshold, it has to go above 100% before we see it. This turns out to be very useful because you can have different guides at different thresholds and you can have a lot of guides when you're zoomed in and very few guides when you're zoomed out.
Whoa, that's a lot of ruler tricks! Well, with all of that you really ought to be able to rule over your documents. Oh, that's a bad, bad joke! Okay, see you next time.
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