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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 know how you can create a drop shadow pretty easily, right? You select the picture, you go to the Object menu, go down to Effects and choose Drop Shadow, I usually press Command+Option+M or Ctrl+Alt+M on Windows, and then there we'll just accept the defaults and it gives a little shadow around the cut-out of this woman, let's undo. Now what if you wanted to apply a drop shadow to text? If you select the text frame and you press a keyboard shortcut Command+Option+M, Ctrl+Alt+M on Windows, I really hate 75% Opacity, I'm going to lower it to 30%, it applies it to all the words in the frame. But I just want to apply it to the word Love.
So I select this word and I press Command+Option+M or Ctrl+Alt+M and nothing happens. If I go up to the Object menu and go to Effects, it's all grayed out. Because you really can't apply an effect to text, you can only apply it to something that you can select with the Selection Tool. And the answer is quite simple actually in InDesign, you need to convert that text to outlines, turn it into strokes and fills. And you do that by selecting the word and then going to the Type menu and choose Create Outlines.
Now it has turned the word Love into actual outlines, I could select these letters and actually you know change the shape of the fills and strokes and so on, and then it grouped them and anchored that graphic into the text frame, that's why you see the anchor there now. There actually is an object that's anchored in the text frame. If I click here and I press Option+Right Arrow to sort of corner it out to just see because it sort of moved in a little bit after I converted it, just like any anchored object, it is part character and part object.
So like a character, I could select it and change its baseline shift and change current, before and after, and like an object I can select the object itself, there is the frame. Go to the Object menu, go down to Effects and choose Drop Shadow, 30, there you go. It doesn't have to be display type either, we could do it right down here if we wanted to. Let's zoom in, do it with just a little bit of text, When you join Roux convert to outlines, you have to select it with the Selection Tool first, Command+Option+M, 30.
Now we have a little shadow, kind of hard to see, it's very faint. If you're going to export this to any digital format like PDF or EPUB or HTML, it's a good idea to give this graphic an Alt tag so that if somebody with a screen reader is reading it and they want to say graphic, it will actually be the word and you do that in InDesign CS5.5 and 6 by selecting this graphic going to the Object menu, going down to Object Export Options and here under Alt Text go to Custom and just write the word Love.
Write the word that you have turned into outlines and that is good designing for a digital design. And that's how you create a drop shadow for just one or some of the words in a text frame.
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