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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.
Recent versions of Adobe InDesign have had this really cool feature called Gridify, that's kind of amorphous. It's not really a tool. It's not a menu command. It's just something you can do. Let me show you how useful it can be. Here's the Polygon tool, and I'm going to double-click to make sure I have my settings for a star, yes. Let's say that I want to make 50 stars. So, I start dragging out one. As you're dragging out any shape in InDesign, in InDesign CS6 and 5.5, you can tap the up arrow or the right arrow to duplicate the item that you're dragging out.
So if you're dragging out a frame or a line or whatever or stars I'm doing here, as I tap the up arrow, I duplicate more vertically. As I tap the right arrow, more horizontally. So if I want to make 50, I'll do five rows and ten columns. So I'm dragging and I'm tapping, that's five, one more. There we go, 50 stars. Nice and easy. Now what governs the amount of space in between these objects, people ask me that all the time. It's actually, exactly one pica in between.
And reason it's one pica is because, InDesign pulls this measure, if you go to Margins and Columns, and look under Gutter, it's pulling that measure. So if you wanted more space in between your stars, let's change this to three picas. And now we'll try again and start dragging out a star, and then tap up and right, up and right, up and right. It's always going to maintain three picas of space in between. If you're a big fan of Gridify, you could change the default amount of space in between objects as you're gridifying them, by changing that column gutter width with no documents open.
Now this gridify is also an effect when you're dragging out multiple images. Here I've queued up MiniBridge, and I have a bunch of images. Let's say that I grabbed a bunch of them and then drag them out here. And it's drawing the little previews. Let me close this up. As I drag out one image, normally it's going to place the first image and then it'll have the second one in my cursor ready for me to place. But, just like with the stars, as I'm dragging I can start tapping the up arrow and the right arrow. Now I'm not duplicating this image, and unfortunately, we can't see a preview of what its going to do.
But what its doing is creating image frames, multiple image frames to hold all of my pictures that are in that cursor. Remember, I dragged across maybe six pictures. So, when your doing a multiple file place or drag, Gridify will also work. The point is keep your finger down on the Mouse button, tap the up arrow to increase the number of rows, and the right arrow to increase the number of columns. You don't have to match exactly what you had in your cursor. I know I had six. I've many more frames here. But when I release the mouse, it'll just use the ones that it wants.
But do you notice that it's using the three picas in between? It's pulling again from that measure here in margins and columns, the gutter measure. You can adjust that. Let me get rid of that and we'll grab some more and then drag them out here. That's nice. As you're dragging, and you tap the up and down arrow keys a few times. Now, you can press the Cmd key on the Mac or the Ctrl key on the PC, and the down arrow reduces the amount of space in between the rows. Cmd+up arrow increases it.
Cmd or Ctrl left arrow decreases the amount of space in between columns, and Cmd or Ctrl right arrow increases it. So, you can adjust this on the fly if you'd like. Let's make it really close, like that. Cool gridified tricks. One more trick I want to show you. First let's start with a star again, here's my Polygon tool, let me double check. Yep. It's still a star. Drag out a star, and then I'm going to fill that with this swatch. Let's make it a blue swatch.
There you go. Now I'm going to Option or Alt drag on this shape. Just like you can do with any object. If you Option or Alt drag, you make a duplicate and you can start tapping the up and down arrow buttons. Watch what happens, I will be releasing my hand from the Option or Alt key. It already knows I want to peel off a copy, but I am going to tap right arrow key as I am dragging, look what it's doing. It's going to make a duplicate of what I'm dragging.
It's going to step and repeat it, in other words. There we go. Now they're separated. So the column gutter amounts really makes no difference here when you're doing the super secret step and repeat move. Because the amount of space in between each object is going to change, as you drag close or far. So close, these things are going to overlap. But if I drag far, then you'll see each one as a separate shape. And I'm going to tap the right arrow few more times. There's more of the left arrow to user number. There. That's the super step and repeat using Gridify.
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