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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.
Lets talk about three object styles that should be in every designer's toolbox. Three object styles that will take you through even the simplest to the most complex project that you'll probably be calling on again and again. The first object style I think is the object style that you want to apply to all of the images in your publication. Very often you want the images to share the same attribute, the same stroke, the same drop shadow, and so on. Instead of doing it one by one and possibly missing a few and then not finding them until it's press-checked, why not make it an object style.
So look through your document, find an example of a graphic that has the right kind of stroke. Right here, we're looking at a page in this catalog. This image has no stroke. This one has two points, kind of hard to tell because it's a dark background. Let's see if I chose this one and said, one point. That's pretty good. When you find one, select it, and then in the Object Styles panel hold down the Option or Alt key, and click on Create New Style, which will bring up the dialog box that will let you name it as well as tweak it.
So we're going to call this basic image. To me, one fault of object style dialogue box is that it automatically assumes that every attribute in that selected object should be part of this object style. And instead all we care about is the stroke. We don't care about the fill, or the corner options or the text frame. Based on options or text wrap. If we apply this object style called basic image to an object that has a text wrap, all we want to do is make it have a one point stroke. We don't want to remove the text wrap.
So you want to be able to ignore all the other attributes. All you want to do is apply this attribute. Which will, I guess to make it really clear, we'll call it basic one point stroke image. So turn off every other attribute that you don't want to be part of this object style. Just keep stroke on. We want stroke to be one point. Click OK, and now we can apply it to this guy, and apply it to that guy. In fact, one of the fastest way to apply an object style is to go to the Find Change, go to object, and here, in the entire document, we want to affect graphic frames.
Now these are actually counted as graphic frames in find change. What we want to do is just apply our object style to all of the graphic frames. So let's say find and it found that frame. And we'll say change find next change. Let's just say change all and it did it nice and fast and let's say that later we don't want the one point stroke, we can easily remove all the one point strokes from all of these images simply by coming back to object style, and changing the stroke to zero.
You don't have to do any fine changes. They will automatically fix themselves. Or more likely, you want to add other attributes, like say, a drop shadow. So we're going to turn on drop shadow, and then select it to see all of our settings here. We want it to be on, and 75% is way too high, so we'll say 30%. And let's preview that. That looks great. Let's turn on global light, that's always a good idea. Here we go. We probably should change the name of this to just basic image again but you get the idea.
Create an object style for the images in your publication and that way it makes it a lot easier to make sure they all have the same format. Second object style that every designer should know about is an object style for call-out lines. How many times have you had to do this kind of work? See this red line, let me zoom in a little bit more. I'll select it and zoom in, a smiling student. So this line right here is a one point red stroke, and if we open up the Stroke panel, you can see with a starting and an ending.
And now, let's create another crawl out line. going to point to the pencil. I'll hold down the Shift key to keep it straight. And there's a black line with no ending, no beginning, and so on. So instead of having to go on to various panels to make them all look the same, create an object style for it. As before, format one manually how you want it, select it, then open up the Object Styles panel. Option + alt click here. We'll call it call-out line. All we care about is the stroke, and we also care about the stroke and corner options, which is where the arrow sits, so we'll keep that turned on.
But everything else we don't want. Click OK. And now we can apply call-out line and this one should be column line, it's pointing the wrong way. All you have to do is go to the Object menu, go down to Paths, and say reverse that path. There you go. And the next time that you drag out a path, let's do it like this, and we'll go around his pencil and we'll point to his glasses like that. And then we'll say, that is a call line. Go to the Object menu.
Go to Paths and Reverse Path. There you go. So you have a style for all your call-outs. One last object style would be a photo credit. Let's say that these images need a credit line next to it. And, I'm going to remove the drop shadow. So I'll just edit this style here, basic one point stroke image, and turn off the drop shadow, click OK and drop shadow's gone. And let's say that this photo, I'm going to drag out a frame. Let's switch to normal mode, so I'm tapping on the W key to switch to normal mode so we can see all of our guidelines and frame edges.
This photo was a photo by Joe Schmoe. Now what I need to do is I need to rotate it 90 degrees. I need to apply the paragraph style, called photo credits. Let's go ahead an do that here. And then I'll rotate it this way. I want it to hug the right edge, but I don't want it to touch, so I'm going to go to Object > Text Frame Options and apply a top inset, of maybe, three points.
That looks good. And I don't like all this empty space here, so I'm going to drag it in a bit. So there you go, like that. Let's turn this into a object style. Go to objects selected, go to objects style, Option or Alt+click. We'll call this photo credit. This time we actually do want to make sure that it has no fill. We actually do want to make sure it has no stroke, and so on. So a lot of these we can keep turned down. We don't want photo credits to look different from each other. You can see that under text frame general options it's including our inset spacing.
One thing that'll also turn on, this is only available in CS 6, is I'll turn on auto size so that if Joseph says hey I need you to include my company name or copyright or my middle name in this photo credit, we don't have to resize it, it'll automatically resize itself. So I'm going to say auto-sizing with keep the text on the left, and then make it wide on the right. Everything else can remain as is. Unfortunately, there is no setting here that will rotate it 90 degrees. So that's our photo credit. Let's apply that style, Photo credit, and automatically resize the frame to fit exactly.
So now if I zoom in and I say Joe is now Josephine Schmoe, then it automatically formats itself as a photo credit. Next time that you are working with somebody who's really good with InDesign, ask them to open up one of their documents. Take a look at their Objects panel. I will bet that you will see a good number of object cells there because that is the sign of a true professional InDesign user. They know how to take advantage of the program's features, like object styles, and use it to make their workflow much more efficient.
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