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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.
Metadata means data about your data, information about your images and documents. And you can assign metadata to images in Illustrator, Photoshop, and Bridge, but you may not realize that you can add metadata to your InDesign files, too. You add metadata in the same way you would do it in Illustrator or Photoshop. You go to the File menu > File Info. This metadata is saved inside your InDesign document, so that if you save the document and send it off to somebody else, they can read it there, or, more importantly, if you export a PDF or an EPUB file, this metadata can go out with that file too.
That's important because if you're going to be making a PDF file and putting it on a web site, you want it to be searchable by Google and other search engines. And they will look for this metadata. So I'm going to go in here and type my title, and I'm going to say this was by Nigel French who designed this beautiful thing. And you can say this is a beautiful flyer. I'm even going to add a copyright notice here. And notice that as you're typing it remembers what you've typed in the past and it pops up there. Som you can just select that and it will fill it in for you.
I'm also going to add some keywords. Keywords are very important. Academy, I've used all of these in the past, I'm also going to say this is for an art show. And click OK. Now all of this data goes into the InDesign file as I mentioned but only when I save it. Cmd+S or Ctrl+S will save that file. Now I'll go ahead and close that document, and I'm going to place it inside this brochure file. I'll just choose File > Place, grab the InDesign file and click Open. It loads it up in the place cursor and then I can drag it out into a new frame on my document page.
Looks great. But the coolest thing about that metadata is I can actually access it even when I've placed the InDesign file into another InDesign file. And you do that by going to the links panel, choosing that InDesign file. And then going to the flyout menu and choosing Utilities > XMP File Info. Whenever you see XMP, you know it means metadata. There it is, there's all the data that I typed in. I can't go in and edit this, unfortunately. I would have to open up the original document and edit it with file info.
What I can do is select the text inside of here and then copy it to the clipboard. But there's an easier way. I can make a live caption. I'll do that by going to Object > Captions > Caption Setup. And I'll make sure that Description is set up in the Metadata pop-up menu here. That means it's going to go into the metadata of the selected image and grab the description, and pull it out as a caption. Click OK, and then say Object > Captions > Generate Live Caption, and it goes in, grabs a description, and makes a caption out of it.
Unfortunately, if I zoom in here, you'll see that it didn't quite work. That's because this text frame doesn't know which image it's supposed to be talking to, which one it's supposed to be grabbing the XMP data out of. So, to fix that, I'm going to select that, and the image itself, and group them. When I do that, now it knows that caption is relating to this image. It gets the metadata, and it puts it into the text frame. Metadata is like putting a luggage tag on your suitcase before you check it at the airport. You don't have to add this additional information to your files, but they are benefits if you do.
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