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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.
When I'm working in InDesign, one of my secret weapons is the info panel. The info panel used to be a big player with InDesign, used to be parts of all sorts of workspaces. No longer. Poor thing was left behind. But it still is quite useful in many situations. Let me show you. You open up the info panel from the window menu. The info panel can tell you some information. Who cares about the position of your cursor, by the way that's what X and Y is showing. What I'm interested in is information about this document.
It is showing us metadata about the document. If you have nothing selected, down here it'll tell you when it was last modified and what the final size is. But what I like to use is this field right here, Location. If you hover over it, you'll see a tooltip that gives you the path to where this exact InDesign document is stored. I'd say, though, probably the most useful thing about the Info panel is that it gives you a word count. And in one of the other tips in this video series, I talk all about ways to get word counts in InDesign, and I start out with this feature, in that you can just click inside of any text frame with a type tool and you'll get a character count, word count, line count, and paragraph count.
So if I zoom in here, do you see how it says word count is 392? So if I add one word. Like, I'll add the word and. And then it thinks about it and then it say 393. So even a word like a is another word. 394. And that's great if I need to give an assignment to a writer or copywriter, if I say, well, we have a little bit of room for the caption. I'll click over here. I need about 100 words for this caption. Then I know that what they give me will probably fit the space allotted.
It's also really useful when they give me that doesn't fit the space allotted. If you have an overset, and you click inside of the text frame, the info panel will tell you not only the word count of what's showing, but what is not showing. Anything after the plus symbol is overset text. So this is seven words over and you can verify that by going to the Edit menu > Edit in Story Editor, and you'll see that there are actually seven words over set. Now if you select an image, let's move this info panel back up, then the info panel tells you what kind of image it is, this is a jpeg.
It gives you the actual and the effective resolution. Really useful, instead of having to go over to the links panel. And then open up the link info and scroll down here, and see if it says that there or not. You can just take a quick glance over to the info panel. It tells you if it's RGB, CMYK, and any ICC profile that is associated with the image. And notice that with this frame selected, we're getting more info up here. The x and y is the position of your cursor, always. But we see the width and the height of this image.
Well, you know, you could see the width and height in the control panel as well, but I like this little feature. If I select the gap tool, and I drag across I can see the width of the gap as well, but the info panel tells me in nice clear text what my gap amount is. So right there is 0.1554 inches in between the pictures on top and the text frames on the bottom. I kind of like that. Now here's an interesting one that you might see and you might wonder what the heck how did that happen. I'm going to select this frame and then drag one of the corner points with the direct selection tool.
And watch what happens. I get Delta X and Delta Y, and that's telling me how much this point has changed from where it used to be. So it is now 0.25 inches change from left to right, and 0.4 inches changed vertically. And I moved it at 58 degrees from where it started. If you ever see width and height with a delta in front of it, that means that you are currently changing something. If you transform something, let me move this out here, I clicked off and clicked on it again to sort of clear the info panels throughout.
Sometimes it's remembering old information, and you have to wake it up. And you rotate by hovering over one of the corners, and rotate. You see the angle of rotation. And then you also see a D. Do you see the D under the X and Y? D means distance, and that can be very useful to know not just the angle of rotation, but exactly how far are you moving something. Now, you see the angle as well, when you use either the gradient swatch tool or the gradient feather tool.
I don't have any particular gradient filled and this is going to look kind of ugly, but just follow along. I'm dragging with the fill here, and I can see from the info panel what is the angle of the gradient fill in this object. It's negative 42.6. I'm not seeing that in the angle field in the control panel. So here's an instance of where only the info panel can tell you this kind of information. And that can be very useful if you are trying to match grading angles across a bunch of different objects.
So I want this also to be 42 6, that's close enough there you go, on this guy. So you can match your gradient fills that way. Lets Undo and get rid of those, that ugliness. There we go. Now if you use the Free Transform Tool on something, and you rotate it, you'll get the rotation, but you'll also get things like scaling and skewing. So there's scale information appearing. And skewing, if I hold down the Cmd or Ctrl key as I drag a corner, you see I get a skew amount as well.
And if I fill a frame with a shape, let me undo that, and let's just get a normal frame. If I fill a frame with a swatch, like this. Then the Info panel will tell me what the selected frame or object is, what color it's filled with. So this is Fill, and this is Stroke. And it's useful in that, it will tell you if it's a Pantone color, what is the Pantone color if it's CMYK or RGB. What's the mix. If it doesn't recognize the color or there is no color, it will often just say unknown color or unnamed color. And then finally you'll have noticed that there is a little panel menu associated with the info panel.
Whatever could we have there? Just hide options which are these guys down here and I always like show options. And Show Content Offset is always turned on. What is Content Offset? Now this is also an option in the control panel and all it is is if you have one object pasted inside of another, the fields will report the amount that it's offset from its parent object. This is really typical like with an image. If I select the image within the frame, then do you see what x and y are showing me? It's showing me how much this content is offset from its parent frame.
It's actually outside the boundaries of its parent frame. So it's about negative half inch, both left and above. If I drag it down to the right, you'll see the offset change to a positive amount and sometimes in some cases that can be very useful to see if this content is offset and if so, by how much. So, the info panel is a wonderful source of all sorts of very interesting bits of information. And, that's why it's one of my secret weapons.
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