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I know people who never work with more than one layer in their InDesign document, and they manage all their objects using Send to Back, and Bring to Front. Now, there's nothing wrong with that, other than it will eventually drive you insane, especially in a complicated layout. No, no; it's much better to create multiple layers in your document, and then use them to organize your objects. Every document starts with a layer called layer 1. You can see that by opening the Layers panel here in the dock. There's layer 1, and all my objects are currently on that later.
Let's start organizing this document by creating more layers. You can do that in a couple different ways. You could go to the Layers panel flyout menu, and choose New layer, or you could just click on the New layer button at the bottom of the Layers panel. When I make a new layer, I prefer it to hold on the Option key or the Alt key when I click on this button. That way it forces InDesign to open a New layer dialog box, and I can name my layer. I am going to call this Text, I will quick OK, and then make another one. I am going to call this Graphics.
I will click OK by hitting the Enter key, or Return, and I now see that I have three layers. So how do I get my objects onto those layers? Well, I will select one of my objects on my page, and you'll see that in the Layers panel, this little blue square shows up. That little blue square is a proxy for whatever is selected on the page right now, and I can drag that blue square from layer 1 up onto the Text layer. When I let go, we can see that the blue square turned into a red square, and the object changed its color as well.
The object itself didn't change, but the frame edge highlighting did. The edge highlighting always reflects the color of the layer. The Text layer right now is red, so this is red. Once again, this color changed does not change how this document will print, or export to PDF; it only changes it onscreen for reference. Okay; let's go move the other text frames. I will Click on this one, and Shift+Click on these others, and then drag that little proxy icon up to the Text layer. Now let's handle our graphics. I am simply going to select all of these graphics by Shift+Clicking on them, and drag that up to the Graphics layer.
When I move those images up onto the Graphics layer, you can see that they moved on to top of the text. Of course, that's because the Graphics layer is sitting on top of the Text layer. So I'd like to move all of those graphics down to below the Text layer, and I can do that simply by clicking and dragging the Graphics layer down, down, down until I see the black bar between Text, and layer 1. I'll let go, and all the graphics move down as well. I see one more problem here, and that is this orange frame should be between the image and the graphic.
So I am going to select that frame, and move it up to the Text layer. But now it's sitting on top of the text frame. That's not what I want either. I want to move it down, so it's between that text frame, and the graphic. So I will go back to my Object menu, and choose the Arrange submenu, and I am going to choose the Send to Back. In this case, Send to Back doesn't mean send behind all the objects; it just means send to the back of this particular layer, so it goes all the way to the bottom of the Text layer, which is behind that text frame, and the Text layer is on top of the graphics, so it looks perfect now.
So this is looking pretty good, but the Layers panel gives us even more control. For example, I can click on these eyeball icons to hide and show objects on that layer. If I click on eye next to the Graphics layer, all the graphics disappear. I will turn that back on, and turn off the Text layer. On a complicated layout, when you are trying to manipulate certain objects, being able to would turn off all the non-important objects is really helpful. Another thing you might do if in a complicated layout is lock layers. For example, I can click in the second column next to the Text layer, and that locks all of the objects on that layer.
I will talk about locking later in this chapter, but you can see that anything that's on a locked layer cannot be selected. I simply can't click on them. But if I click over here, I select the graphic on the layer below the locked layer. There are two more tricks about the Layers panel that I want to point out. One is, if I want to select all the objects on a particular layer, I can hold down the Option or Alt key, and click on that layer. So, for example, to select everything that's on the Text layer, I would first have to unlock it, and then Option+ Click or Alt+Click on the Text layer.
That selects all the objects on that layer. The second trick I want to point out to you is that you can double-click on a layer to open the Layer Options dialog box. This offers all kinds of options. For example, I can change the Name, the Color, or even various behaviors. For example, I am going to turn off the Print Layer checkbox. Now with this layer will display on screen, but if I print, or export a PDF, it won't be there. That text will just disappear. I will click OK, and you can see an indication of that, because the word text -- the name of the layer -- is in Italic. Italic layers mean they're nonprinting.
As you can see, building and using layers isn't required, but it really helps you organize your documents. But whether you use lots of layers, or only one, the Layers panel has one more trick up its sleeve: it lets you see and manipulate your stack of objects inside the layer by clicking this little twirly triangle. In the next movie, I'll explain how best to use that newfound power.
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