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Author David Blatner provides in-depth training on InDesign CS5, Adobe's print and interactive page layout application, 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.
When you're laying out a document, you'll often find yourself needing to copy formatting from one place in a document to another. Paragraph styles and object styles are one way to copy formatting. I'll be talking about those in a later chapter, but sometimes, it's just faster to use the Eyedropper tool. Let me show you how it works. I'm going to zoom in on this part of this page and I want to copy the formatting from this heading to this heading over here. To do this with the Eyedropper tool, I'll first select it in the tool panel and then come over and click on the formatting I want to copy.
Now, notice that before I click, I have a little white Eyedropper tool, and after I click, it changes to a black Eyedropper tool. That's to indicate that it's sucked up a little bit of a formatting, whatever I had clicked on. Now I'm going to come over here to what I want to apply the formatting to and I can either click or drag. In this case, I'm going to click, because I want to take all the paragraph formatting and apply it to this paragraph over here. Now how does the Eyedropper know what to copy, which formatting to copy and which to leave behind? I can control that by double- clicking on the Eyedropper tool.
Then up comes the Eyedropper Options. Here you can see that I can choose from a lot of different kinds of options, object formatting and text formatting. For example, if I don't want to take the paragraph formatting but I do want to take the character formatting, I'll just turn that checkbox off. Click OK, and I'll try again. I'm going to select what I want to copy and then paste it on top of something. In this case, I'm just applying character formatting, not paragraph formatting. So I'm going to click-and-drag over an area.
When I let go off the mouse button, you'll see that it's applied the character formatting to just the part of the text that I dragged over. This works on objects as well as text. So I'm going to zoom back Fit Spread in Window with Command+Option+0 or Ctrl+Alt+0 and I'm going to copy the formatting from this whole object over here to this object on the right side. I want those to have the same formatting. So I'll double click on the Eyedropper tool, make sure that I have everything selected, because I want to grab all of that. Although in this case I'm really only copying object formatting to start with.
I'll click OK and pull in the formatting by just clicking on the background of this frame. Now that I've changed to the black Eyedropper tool, I'll come over here and click on the background here. Now, I do need to be a little bit careful when I do this. The cursor changes very subtly, depending where it is. If I move the cursor near the text, I get a little cursor that has an I-beam in it. That means I'm going to be applying my formatting to the text. But if I come over here to the right, here I'm just going to be applying it to the frame, not just the text inside the frame.
I'll click and you can see that it grabbed that whole formatting, the gradient, the color and so on, and applied it over here. So that's very handy. Now, I'm going to do the same thing to the text. I'm going to reload my cursor, not with the formatting from the background frame, but with the formatting from that text in there. So to do that, to reload the Eyedropper, I'm going to hold on the Option or Alt key, and as long as I'm holding that down, it changes to the White Eyedropper. I'll click on that heading, come over here and click on the FactFile on this side and you can see that it copied the formatting.
Come over here and Option+Click or Alt+Click on the formatting of this paragraph. Then I'm just going to click-and- drag over all of this text, and you can see that it applied it. I didn't quite get all the text, because some of it had been overset. So I'll just keep doing this until I get all the text in that story. Now, notice that in these examples, nothing has been selected on my page. If I do have something selected, the Eyedropper works slightly differently. For example, I'll use the Black Arrow Selection tool to select this object on the right side of the page here, because I want to make that to have the same formatting as this one on the left page.
So first I select the object, then I use the Eyedropper tool. Now, I'm going to be a little clever here by holding down the I key. As long as I hold that down, I'm getting the Eyedropper as a little springy shortcut, and I'm going to click on the frame that I want to copy. As soon as I do that, it copies the formatting to everything that was selected on my page. Then I let go off the I key and it switches back to my original tool. The Eyedropper tool is great for the quick formatting pickup from here to there, but honestly, if you need to apply a lot of formatting throughout a document, styles are a much better way to go.
And as I said, I'll explore those in a later chapter.
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