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As you're working, you'll often find that you need the same content in more than one place. You know you can copy and paste it, but sometimes that's clunky and slow, especially if you need to grab a bunch of frames from one document, and lay them out differently in another document. That's where the content collector shines. I have my brochure document open right now, and I want to grab some of this content, and lay it out slightly differently in a new document over here; this letter-size flyer. To do that, I am going to go back to my brochure, and choose the Content Collector tool. That's the fifth tool over here in the Tool panel, and when you click on it, or press the letter B to select it, up comes the content conveyor at the bottom of the screen.
This big gray box is where all the objects are going to be stored temporarily, so that I can place them in the other document. Now, there is technically two tools involved here: the Content Collector, which is down here, and the Content Placer, over here. You can also select those in the Tool panel, just by clicking and holding for a moment. Again, two tools: the Content Collector, which lets me pull up objects into the conveyor, and the Content Placer, which will let me place those conveyor objects down into my new document. I want the collector tool right now, of course, so I'm going to select that, and then, when I place that on top of any object inside my document, it highlights, saying this is available for putting into the conveyor.
I'll click on it, and you'll see that it shows up in the conveyor. There is various ways of getting objects into the conveyor. One is by clicking; another is by clicking and dragging. For example, I'll click and drag on the pasteboard over here, right over pretty much everything on the right side of that page. And as soon as I let go of my mouse button, you'll see all those objects are added into my conveyor as a set. It's a set of, in this case, six different objects -- I could tell there are six, because there is a little blue 6 at the top here -- and those six objects are in a set. I'll talk about sets in just a moment.
I think I'll also grab this photographer, and then let's jump to the next spread, with an Option+Page Down, or Alt+Page Down. Now in this case, I see there are three images on the page that I'd like to move into my conveyor. I am going to do it slightly differently. I am going to select the Selection tool, and you'll notice that as soon as I choose any other tool, the conveyor disappears. Those objects are still there; don't worry. I am going to select all three of the images that I want to collect, and then go back to my Content Collector tool by pressing B. Up comes the conveyor, and now I'm going to place all of those selected objects into my conveyor by clicking the little Load Content button in the lower right corner.
When I click on that, up comes the Load Conveyor dialog box, and you can see that I could choose all of the objects on my page, or even all of the objects on all of my pages, and load them all into the conveyor, or in this case, I am just going to choose the Selection. Click OK, and I get another set, with three images in it. That's good enough for now. Let's switch over to our other document, and start placing. It's a blank document. I'll press the B key to switch to the Content Placer tool, because that B key toggles between the two tools, and now I need to choose what I want to place.
When I have the Content Placer tool, I can use the arrow keys on my keyboard to move between each item in the conveyor. So I'll hit the right arrow key, and you can see that now I have this set of six different objects. I'll hit right arrow again, and I've got this photographer. Now I'll press the left arrow key to go back to that set, and the down arrow key to go into this set. This actually lets me look inside, and see those six objects that are inside this set. I'd like to get that black box over there for a background, so I'll hit the left arrow key a couple of times to move over to it.
Now all I need to do is click and drag. The object is always scaled proportionally when I click and drag. In this case, I actually need it disproportionally; I want it to fill the page. So I am going to hit the V key to jump my Selection tool. Then I'll drag this out to fill the page. Hit B again to jump back to the conveyor, and let's place another image. I like this one that I have loaded up. Why don't I just click, and drag that out. Now I've got a logo, and I am not sure when I need the logo yet.
Let's go ahead and skip past that one. This one I didn't actually mean to grab. That was a mistake, so let's take it out of the conveyor, or just throw it away by hitting the Escape key. That just dismisses it; don't need that one. We are going to need this image, probably up here somewhere, and this graphic design text frame, we're going to click and drag up here, and you can see that scales it proportionally. I should point out that as I am clicking, or dragging, it's removing them from the conveyor. That's because I have this first mode selected in the conveyor.
There is three modes here: one places, and removes it from the conveyor; the next one places it, and leaves it on the conveyor; and the third places it, leaves it in the conveyor, but then goes on to the next object in the conveyor. Most of the time, you're going to want to stay in that first mode. I am not ready to place that logo yet, so I'll hit the up arrow key to go back to my rest of my objects, and I think I'll drag that photographer. I want to put the photographer down to the bottom of the page, but I can't see the bottom of my page right now, so I could move the conveyor; it's easy to drag around. Or you could hide it temporarily by pressing Option+B or Alt+B. Then I'll click and drag; let go.
That's pretty good. And then Option+B or Alt+B again, up comes the conveyor, and I am ready to add a few more things. Let's grab those three pictures. In this case, I want to drag all of them out at the same time, so I am not going to go into this set; I'm simply going to click and drag. You'll see that when I click and drag, it actually positions them in the same arrangement as they were in the original document. In this case, I want to lay them out slightly differently, so I am going to Undo, and then hit the arrow key to select them again in the conveyor. And now when I click and drag, I am going to use a little trick: the arrow keys on the keyboard again.
By pressing the up arrow key, I'm moving to what's called the Gridify mode, and I start getting a grid of objects. I'll hit the arrow again, and you can now see by the blue outlines that I have three objects stacked up on top of each other. When I let go, you'll see the images are imported. Let's go ahead and lay those out on the page, I'll switch to the Selection tool, drag these onto the page little bit, and then I'll use my smart guides to align them.
While I am here, I think I'll move this image to the bottom, and lay this out a little bit differently, and I think I'll scale this photographer up. All right; I only have a couple of more things to add. I'll go back to my Content Placer by pressing B, and I'll select this logo with the right-arrow key, and I think I'll add this down in the lower left corner. So I am going to hide that content conveyor, and then click; looks pretty good, and it loads up the last item on here, which is the text frame.
Now, that text frame I want to do something special with, so I need to show my conveyor again, and I want to turn on two checkboxes at the bottom: Create Link, and Map Styles. Create Link means InDesign should make a link between this object, and the other document, so that if the text or object changes in the other document, it will also be able to be changed in this document. It's an extremely powerful feature that let's you keep multiple documents in sync. The Map Styles feature is important, because the styles in one document don't necessarily match the styles in another document.
For example, in this case, if I simply drag out this frame, it's going to be black text on a black background. That won't do. But I have a different paragraph style in this document called White Bodytext, and I want that black body paragraph style to map automatically to the White Bodytext here. So to do that I'd click on the Map Styles button, up comes the Custom Style Mapping dialog box. First I need to choose what the source document is; where this text is coming from. That's the brochure document.
Next, I click New Style Mapping, and then I choose the paragraph style which is incoming; I happen to know that's called body. But when it comes into this document, I want it to map to a different one. I click there, and I say map it to White Bodytext. That's all I need to do. I'll click OK, and now when I click and drag, the text comes in, and it's mapped. Let's take a look. Let's jump to the previous spread. Over here, it was black text in that font, and over here it's white text; very different.
All right, I think we're done. I'll jump to the Selection tool, and go into Preview mode by pressing the W key, and you can see that these conveyor tools are an incredible boon to production artists, and designers who need to take the same content, and rework it, day in and day out. It certainly takes some practice, and getting used to, but it can really help you lay out pages fast.
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