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David Blatner brings his knowledge of and passion for InDesign to the latest release of this state-of-the-art publishing program, showing how to harness its power and functionality. InDesign CS4 Beyond the Basics covers the process of publishing with an eye on the program's latest nuances: optimizing page layouts, automating InDesign with Data Merge and XML, exploring interactive documents (including making movies), and exporting publications to a variety of formats. Exercise files accompany the course.
In the Essential Training title, we looked at how to align one object to another. Now let's go further and look at how you can align things to the page itself. For example, let's say I want to take this group of objects and center it on the page. There is a number of ways to do this, and I will be showing you several, but in this case I am going to start with the simplest first, which is to go the Edit menu and cut it to the clipboard. I will go to the View menu, fit this page in the window, I will go back to the Edit menu and Paste. Whenever you paste an object, it centers it in the middle of the document window and in this case because we fit the page in the window, the page is centered in the window. Then the object is centered in the window and so the object is more or less centered on the page. Now I say more or less because while this is a pretty quick and dirty way to do it, it's sometimes a little bit off, usually less than a point off, but it's a little bit off. So let's undo that, press Command+Z or Ctrl+Z a couple of times and go back to where it was.
How would we do this if we want to be more precise? Well, let's use the Align panel, we will go the Window menu, choose Object & Layout and then choose Align. The Align panel as we know is a great way to really have a lot of precision when aligning things on the page. Normally, the Align panel is set up to align one object to another, but if we come in here and change this pop-up menu to Align to Page, then it will align the currently selected object to the page itself. We could also align to margins or align to spread, but in this case we want to align to the page. So I will choose Align to Page and then I will say I want to center this horizontally and center it vertically, and with two clicks I am in business.
I want to show you a couple more ways that you can align things to the page. So let me throw this off again just so that you know all the different ways of doing this. Let's say I want to center this horizontally, I will select it, I will go up to the Control panel and I will make sure that reference point is set to the center of this group of objects. Now I am going to go to the X field, the X coordinate, which is the horizontal coordinate of that center point and I am going to set it to the size of the page which I happen to know is 8.5 inches and then I am going to divide that by 2, which is /2. So 8.5/2, press Enter and that centers it exactly. The center point of that group of objects is in the same place as the center point of the page.
The last way I just center something I am going to show you is with Smart Guides. InDesign CS4's Smart Guides are awesome, they are great way to center things to anything on your page or align things to any place on your page. If Smart Guides is not turned on for some reason, you have to go to the View menu, go down to Grids and Guides and then choose Smart Guides, there it is, or press Command+U or Ctrl+U on Windows. Now when Smart Guides is turned on, I can simply drag that group of objects around until I see a bright pink guide show up, now bright pink guide is the center point of the page. There I have got the object centered horizontally, now I will start dragging down. I am not holding down any other modifier keys.
I am just dragging around until I see another guide show up, there we go. I drag around until I see a horizontal and vertical pink guide show up. Now when I let go off the mouse button, I know that it's snapped right to the center point of the page. So that's a bunch of different ways that you can align objects to the page, but since I have the Align panel open here, I want to talk a little bit about distributing objects on the page, not just aligning them but also distributing them. So I am going to press Shift+ Page Down a couple of times just to jump over to this page and I am going to select these three images on the page.
I would like to distribute those evenly on the page; actually I will distribute them evenly within the margin bounce so that the left one is all the way to the left edge of the page, the right one is all the way to the right edge of the page; the top image is all the way to the top margin and the bottom image is all the way to the bottom margin. Can we do that? Sure, no problem. We have to set this pop-up menu to align the margins, of course, and now we simply click on the Distribute Objects buttons. I will click on one of these vertical buttons and it aligns all of these to the margins. So this one goes to the bottom, this one goes to the top and this one centered. Now I will click on one of the horizontal Distribute buttons and I get the effect I want. This one is aligned to the top, bottom, left, right, you get the idea.
Putting objects in their right place, in a precise, consistent and efficient way is crucial in a production workflow. Use these features and you will be making perfect pages in no time.
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