InDesign CS5 Essential Training
Illustration by John Hersey

Applying basic strokes and fills


InDesign CS5 Essential Training

with David Blatner

Video: Applying basic strokes and fills

Need to set the color of an object? Well, do you want to color its background fill or its stroke, what some people call the border? InDesign, just like illustrator, lets you apply a fill or a stroke color to any object on your page, even text. The trick is managing the fill and stroke icons. To change the color of this frame, I'm first going to select it, and then I'm going to come up to the Control panel and look at the fill and stroke widgets up here in the Control panel. The one on top is fill. You can see is it's showing the current fill color for this frame.
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  1. 5m 50s
    1. Welcome
      1m 33s
    2. What is InDesign CS5?
      2m 26s
    3. Using the exercise files
      1m 51s
  2. 54m 49s
    1. Understanding the Application window
      6m 0s
    2. Navigating pages
      6m 39s
    3. Zooming and magnifying
      6m 57s
    4. Managing more than one document window
      3m 36s
    5. Setting rulers and measurements
      2m 9s
    6. Positioning panels correctly
      6m 28s
    7. Saving time by making workspaces
      3m 24s
    8. Setting the view quality of artwork
      4m 9s
    9. Adjusting View and Preview settings
      4m 56s
    10. Rotating pages and spreads
      3m 2s
    11. Displaying a new view with the New Window feature
      3m 29s
    12. Setting application and document preferences
      4m 0s
  3. 21m 31s
    1. Using the Tool panel
      8m 1s
    2. Learning and editing keyboard shortcuts
      6m 24s
    3. Working with spring-loaded tool shortcuts
      1m 17s
    4. Using contextual menus
      2m 51s
    5. Choosing menu items with Quick Apply
      2m 58s
  4. 45m 25s
    1. Creating new documents
      7m 28s
    2. Saving and reverting documents
      3m 41s
    3. Using multiple Undo and Revert
      4m 28s
    4. Setting margin and column guides
      5m 16s
    5. Using ruler guides
      8m 10s
    6. Bleeding colors or images off the side of the page
      4m 29s
    7. Saving objects in libraries
      4m 49s
    8. Exporting and importing page snippets
      4m 29s
    9. Saving for CS4 with IDML
      2m 35s
  5. 31m 18s
    1. Inserting, deleting, and moving pages
      7m 23s
    2. Changing page size
      6m 14s
    3. Adding page numbering
      3m 43s
    4. Changing page numbering with sections
      5m 58s
    5. Creating and applying master pages
      5m 20s
    6. Overriding master page items
      2m 40s
  6. 1h 21m
    1. Understanding text frames
      4m 6s
    2. Typing and editing text
      4m 36s
    3. Filling with placeholder text
      2m 38s
    4. Inserting special characters
      4m 43s
    5. Importing text
      7m 49s
    6. Threading text frames
      4m 1s
    7. Setting text frame columns and insets
      6m 32s
    8. Setting vertical justification and first baseline position
      6m 9s
    9. Putting text on a path
      6m 51s
    10. Using the Story Editor
      8m 43s
    11. Checking spelling
      7m 42s
    12. Using Find/Change
      9m 25s
    13. Tracking text changes
      8m 1s
  7. 49m 50s
    1. Importing graphics
      8m 11s
    2. Importing from Mini Bridge
      5m 27s
    3. Using the Links panel
      6m 34s
    4. Embedding links
      2m 37s
    5. Editing graphics in their original app
      3m 14s
    6. Fitting graphics to a frame
      6m 12s
    7. Taking advantage of image transparency and clipping paths
      4m 53s
    8. Adding live captions
      5m 56s
    9. Colorizing images
      2m 1s
    10. Turning image layers on and off
      4m 45s
  8. 46m 15s
    1. Selecting objects
      5m 32s
    2. Applying basic strokes and fills
      8m 18s
    3. Using advanced strokes
      3m 28s
    4. Adjusting transparency
      4m 38s
    5. Adding drop shadows
      6m 41s
    6. Applying feathering
      4m 25s
    7. Copying formatting with the Eyedropper tool
      4m 35s
    8. Finding and changing object formatting
      4m 50s
    9. Making polygons and starbursts
      3m 48s
  9. 22m 56s
    1. Making interactive documents
      2m 6s
    2. Adding hyperlinks
      5m 52s
    3. Building bookmarks
      3m 38s
    4. Creating buttons
      8m 57s
    5. Animating an object
      2m 23s
  10. 23m 15s
    1. Creating color swatches
      5m 52s
    2. The danger and power of unnamed colors
      4m 33s
    3. Building tint swatches
      2m 18s
    4. Creating gradient swatches
      3m 56s
    5. Applying gradients
      6m 36s
  11. 50m 0s
    1. Positioning objects with the Page Gap tool
      2m 53s
    2. Stacking objects
      2m 13s
    3. Creating and controlling layers
      3m 53s
    4. Managing objects in the Layers panel
      3m 37s
    5. Nesting objects
      2m 46s
    6. Editing frame and path shapes
      4m 6s
    7. Adding rounded corners and other corner options
      3m 57s
    8. Grouping objects
      3m 14s
    9. Locking objects
      2m 39s
    10. Aligning and distributing
      5m 43s
    11. Understanding text wrap
      8m 13s
    12. Using anchored objects
      6m 46s
  12. 18m 49s
    1. Duplicating objects
      5m 39s
    2. Rotating objects
      3m 3s
    3. Scaling objects
      3m 57s
    4. Mirroring objects
      3m 46s
    5. Using the Transform Again feature
      2m 24s
  13. 25m 52s
    1. Applying basic character styling
      7m 8s
    2. Applying advanced character formatting
      4m 54s
    3. Changing case
      2m 51s
    4. Understanding OpenType features
      3m 19s
    5. Using Find/Change for text formatting
      3m 18s
    6. Using Find Font
      4m 22s
  14. 45m 27s
    1. Applying formatting to a paragraph
      4m 14s
    2. Spanning a paragraph across multiple columns
      3m 5s
    3. Splitting a paragraph into multiple columns
      2m 1s
    4. Using drop caps
      3m 16s
    5. Adjusting text hyphenation
      3m 21s
    6. Fine-tuning justified text
      4m 19s
    7. Setting tabs
      5m 54s
    8. Aligning to a baseline grid
      4m 24s
    9. Controlling orphans and widows with Keep Options
      2m 39s
    10. Adding rules (lines) above or below a paragraph
      3m 14s
    11. Adding automatic bullets
      4m 39s
    12. Working with numbered lists
      4m 21s
  15. 31m 3s
    1. Creating and applying paragraph styles
      6m 34s
    2. Using character styles
      5m 43s
    3. Applying styles automatically with Nested Styles
      7m 19s
    4. Using object styles
      3m 27s
    5. Using Quick Apply with styles
      2m 49s
    6. Cleaning up a local formatting mess
      5m 11s
  16. 37m 0s
    1. Creating a table
      5m 54s
    2. Adjusting rows and columns
      6m 35s
    3. Formatting a table
      8m 5s
    4. Adding headers and footers
      1m 58s
    5. Applying table styles
      5m 32s
    6. Adding Microsoft Word and Excel tables
      8m 56s
  17. 10m 14s
    1. Checking your document with the Preflight panel
      2m 54s
    2. Creating a custom preflight profile
      4m 45s
    3. Checking color with the Separations Preview
      2m 35s
  18. 31m 6s
    1. Packaging for output
      4m 12s
    2. Using the Print dialog box
      10m 22s
    3. Exporting a PDF
      8m 47s
    4. Exporting an interactive PDF
      3m 59s
    5. Exporting text
      1m 36s
    6. Exporting SWF files
      2m 10s
  19. 1m 32s
    1. Finding more information and help
      1m 12s
    2. Goodbye

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Watch the Online Video Course InDesign CS5 Essential Training
10h 33m Beginner Apr 30, 2010

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

Author David Blatner provides in-depth training on InDesign CS5, the print and interactive page layout application from Adobe, in InDesign CS5 Essential Training. The course shows how to create new documents with strong and flexible master pages, precisely position text and graphics, prepare documents for print, and export designs as interactive PDF or Flash SWF files. Exercise files are included with the course.

Topics include:
  • Navigating and customizing the workspace
  • Managing documents and pages
  • Rotating pages and spreads
  • Adjusting and mixing page sizes
  • Overriding master page items
  • Putting text on a path
  • Threading text frames
  • Applying strokes, fills, and other formatting effects
  • Nesting, grouping, and locking objects
  • Formatting: character-level and paragraph-level
  • Packaging, printing, and exporting
David Blatner

Applying basic strokes and fills

Need to set the color of an object? Well, do you want to color its background fill or its stroke, what some people call the border? InDesign, just like illustrator, lets you apply a fill or a stroke color to any object on your page, even text. The trick is managing the fill and stroke icons. To change the color of this frame, I'm first going to select it, and then I'm going to come up to the Control panel and look at the fill and stroke widgets up here in the Control panel. The one on top is fill. You can see is it's showing the current fill color for this frame.

If I click on this little pop-up menu, you can see a list of all the color swatches in this document. And I'm going to be covering how to create new color swatches in a later chapter. But for right now, we're just going to stick with the color swatches that are listed here. To change this to a different color, I simply click on it. Now it's green, now it's dark blue, now it's back to the light blue again. I can also adjust the tint of the color. For example, if I do want that dark blue, but it's a little bit too dark, I can come up here and change my Tint field.

I can either use the Tint slider, by clicking on that little pop-up menu there or type in the exact value I want. Like perhaps, I'll just say it's a 40% of that color. Click out here somewhere and it takes effect, or click out on the page somewhere and that little pop-up menu disappears entirely. To change the stroke or the border, I once again select the object, and this time I'm going to use the stroke pop-up menu, which is just below it in the Control panel. Right now, there is a red line through the icon, which means that there is no stroke at all, a None stroke.

But we can change that by picking any other color. For example, maybe I'll pick this dark green. And it's hard to see that, but there is now a dark green border around here. The widgets in the Control panel are among the easiest ways to set the fill or stroke color of any object. But there are many other ways to set the fill and stroke color as well. For example, the Swatches panel. I'll come out here and click on Swatches in my dock, and you can see that I get exactly the same list of color swatches. When I want to apply a color using the Swatches panel, I must pay attention to this little tiny icon up here.

It's actually two different icons, a fill icon and a stroke icon, and whichever one is on top will win. In other words, whichever one is on top is what I'm going to be changing the color of. Right now, the stroke icon is on top. If you squint, you can see that. So if I change the color, it will change the color of the stroke icon. I'll change it to Black. There we go. Now, I've got a black stroke around it. To change this to the fill icon being on top, I click on it, and that brings it to the top. So I can change the color to whatever I want.

Now, it's bothering me that I can't see that stroke there. Suppose if I click off of here, you can see that it has a black think stroke around it. But I'd like that to be a really thicker, bolder stroke. So to do that, I'm going to, once again, select the object, because I need to select whatever object I want to change. And then I'm going to go back up to the Control panel and look at this object next to the fill and stroke widget. This widget here lets me control the width of the stroke and also the style of the stroke. So the Width currently is 1 point and I can choose a different value out of this pop-up menu here.

If I want let's say 3 points, now, you can see it's getting a little thicker, or I could even type in my own value here. Maybe I want it to be exactly 3 mm instead. Hit Enter or Return. It does the math for me, the conversion to 8.5 points. There it goes. Now, I have a very strong thick 3 mm border around that frame. If I wanted it not to be solid, but to some other kind of style, I would choose something else from the pop-up menu down here. So you can see that I can get thick- thick or thick on the outside thin on the inside, or dotted lines.

This is called Japanese dots. No idea why they call Japanese dots. I've never found anybody at Adobe who understands why they are called Japanese dots either. But there we go. There are all kinds of styles in here that you can play with. Let's go ahead and try this Thick-Thin, and you get the idea that it is a thick line on the outside, thin line on the inside, but the total width of the stroke is going to be just 8.5 points or the 3 mm that we typed in earlier. Okay, let's talk about a few other ways that you can apply colors to frames. I'm going to go back to my Swatches panel here and I just want to point out that I can drag and drop colors as well.

This is kind of an interesting effect. Scroll down here until I get this dark green. I can drag this color out and drop it anyplace. If I drop it on top of the selected object, it changes that fill. If I drag it on top of something that's not selected, it changes that fill. So drag and drop is very handy, because you do not have to select the object first. It simply colors either the fill or the stroke. To change the stroke of something, I drag it out, and then drop it on top of the edge of the object. It's a little bit hard to tell there, but there is an edge versus the fill. I'll change that.

Maybe you can see that it changed to blue instead of black. I can even drag and drop colors on top of table items. Like this table in the background. If I drag it on top of this table cell, it changes that one colored cell to a different color. So that's kind of handy too. You will notice that this is tinted, while this was not. That's because inside this table, it was specified as a tint. I'll cover tables in a later chapter. Now, if you are paying attention, you may have noticed that just above the Swatches panel, there is another panel called Color. Let me pick that one instead.

The Color panel lets you choose localized color, what's called unnamed colors in your document. It's helpful when you want to just tweak a color a little bit. Although, you have to be a little bit careful when you are using the Color panel. I'll be explaining why that is and why unnamed colors can sometimes be dangerous later on in the chapter on Color. But for now, I just want to point out that there is a Color panel, and when you have an object that is colored selected on the page here, it gives you a tint stripe. So I can very quickly come in here and change the tint of this just by clicking in this Tint bar down here, or I'll hit the X key to flip the fill and stroke icons.

I could've just clicked on it I suppose, and now you can see that I can change the tint of this as well. If I want to completely change the color to something different, I would have to change this Tint bar to a Color bar. And I can do that in the Color pop-up menu over here. I can choose Lab, CMYK or RGB. I'll pick CMYK, and you can see that I can pick any CMYK color I want now. I could make it Yellow. I could make it Red and so on. I could even dial in the values using the sliders or typing numbers in here.

Now, if you have really messed up the colors for an object, you can always get back to the default color scheme, which is a 1 point black stroke with no fill by going down to the very bottom of the tool panel and clicking on this little tiny icon, and it takes you back to the default color of 1 point black stroke, no fill and now you're back in business. You can start colorizing it or leave like that. I've mentioned earlier that you can apply fills and strokes to text as well. It's just the same process as applying it to objects.

But you need to select the text. So I'll use my Type tool, select this text here. I'll zoom into 200%, Command+2 or Ctrl+ 2 on Windows, and while it's selected, I can change its color, or in this case, I'll use the Swatches panel, I'll change this to something else, perhaps that Paper color. Paper is what InDesign calls white. So it's really a white color but it calls it Paper here. When I choose that and then deselect the text, you'll see that the text is now colored white or paper. Now, I'm going to select that one more time and you can see that I can stroke the text as well without having to convert it to outlines or anything crazy like that.

I simply select the stroke icon and then pick a color. And it creates a 1-point stroke in that color. If that was too thick, I'll select it and then I go to the stroke panel, yet another panel that you need to pay attention to and I can change that to something smaller perhaps a 0. 5 point stroke. There we go. Now I've got a 0.5 point blue stroke around white text inside of a green frame. How about that? But that's not all. There is so much more you can do with fills and strokes including really fine-tuning your strokes in all kinds of ways and adjusting the transparency of these objects too.

Find answers to the most frequently asked questions about InDesign CS5 Essential Training .

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Q: In the “Exporting to PDF” video, the author states "The flattener, and how to control it, is an advanced topic that I cover in a later title."
Is this “later title” available on yet?
A: Unfortunately that title is still in development. However, the features are exactly the same in CS4, so please see Chapter 11 in InDesign CS4 Beyond the Basics.
Q: Can an image be placed into a cell in InDesign?
A: Yes,  but only as an anchored (inline) object. Cut the frame with the Selection tool, switch to the Type tool, click in the cell, and Paste.
Q: Is it possible to load or import pages from one document to another in InDesign CS5?
A: Pages cannot be “loaded”, but they can be "pushed" from one document to another by choosing Layout > Pages > Move Pages.
Q: When I place an image, it is distorted or pixilated to the point of not being able to use it. I can place or open those same images in Photoshop or Illustrator and they are fine.
A: You are likely seeing the low-resolution preview. To see high resolution or vector artwork, choose View > Display Performance > High Quality.
Q: When I place an image, it is distorted or pixilated to the point of not being able to use it. I can place or open those same images in Photoshop or Illustrator and they are fine.
A: You are likely seeing the low-resolution preview. To see high resolution or vector artwork, choose View > Display Performance > High Quality.
Q: I'm looking for a tutorial that will allow me to use InDesign to create files that can be emailed. I guess they have to be converted to HTML first? Is that possible?
A: If you are trying to make an HTML email, then InDesign really isn't the tool for you. It's HTML abilities are extremely limited. Look toward Dreamweaver for that. Alternatively, you could create a layout in InDesign, then export the page as a JPEG image and put that in the email.
Q: Since I upgraded to the new version of InDesign, when I click the "edit original" button in the Links panel, the pictures open in Preview instead of Photoshop
A: "Here are two articles about this problem: 
Q: I cannot see files on the desktop when in InDesign.
A: If you are using the Mac OS, you may need to turn off Window > Application Frame in order to see files behind InDesign (such as those on the Finder Desktop). If you are on Windows, you are seeing a difference between Mac and Windows. In Windows, the application is always living inside the application frame. If you un-maximize the windows frame, you can drag it smaller so you see the desktop and drag to or from it.
Q: I am currently working on an InDesign document originally created in Spanish. I am translating it to English and I need to change the language preference to be able to use the spell check in English. I have changed it in Preferences, but when I go to do the spell check on the document it is still in Spanish. How can I change the spell check to English?
A: Changing the language in preferences does not change the document or text language. You need to change the langauge in the paragraph style or the character style or in the Character panel or the Control panel (select the text first).
Q: In the movie, "Inserting, deleting, and moving pages" the author claims you can Shift-click text and the red overset symbol (a plus sign) will disappear. This isn't working for me.
A: Shift-clicking to make text automatically flow to the next text box or boxes only works when you place text from a loaded cursor. Shift-clicking existing text will not affect it.
Instead, if the overset text symbol appears in an existing text frame, choose the Selection tool and click the symbol to load the text in your cursor. Then Shift-click inside the next text frame to start it auto-flowing from there.
Q: I want to add a 2-page spread following a 1-page spread, but when I insert two new pages, InDesign creates a 3-page spread. How do I solve this?
A: If you're seeing 3-page spreads, turn on Allow Document Pages to Shuffle (and Allow Selected Spread to Shuffle) from the Pages panel menu.
Q: The keys used for navigating to the previous or next spread in a layout (Command+Page Up/Command+Page Down) don't appear on my laptop keyboard and the arrow keys don't work. What keys should I use?
A: Most laptop keyboards don't have these keys anymore. Look for a "modifier" key (such as the Alt or Fn keys) to press to access these keys. For example, on a Macbook Pro, you'd press Command and then Fn+Up Arrow to invoke Next Spread.
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