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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.
In the old days, when we needed a copy of something on our page, we used to drive downtown and buy a photostat. Remember that? It's a little easier now. There are almost a dozen ways to duplicate your text frames, graphic frames and other page items in InDesign. Here are just a few. The first method is Option or Alt+Drag. I am going to grab this graphic frame with an image in it and hold down the Option or Alt key. You'll see that the cursor changes very slightly to indicate that it's going to be duplicating this. And then I'll drag it over here.
When I let go, I can see that I have a duplicate of it. I am going to hit the Delete key to delete that because what I really wanted to do was Option+Drag and then I am holding down the Shift key as well. And when you hold down the Shift key, Option or Alt+Shift+Drag, you make a duplicate, but it stays in the same horizontal or vertical plane. There we go. So now I know that it's perfectly aligned. Now, I am going to drag this red flower down. Hold down on the Option key and start dragging. And now, I am going to let go of the Option key, and because I let go of the Option key while the mouse button is still held down, InDesign still thinks it's going to duplicate it.
That's good, because what I'm going to do is show you a really cool new technique in InDesign CS5 called Gridify. I am duplicating this object, and while I am duplicating it I am going to press the up arrow key. The up arrow key means make another one of these in between the two. I will press up arrow key again and it now is adding a third right in the middle there. So I now have three different duplicates of this all distributed evenly between the first and the last. So when I let go of the mouse button, I get four total flowers.
This is sometimes called Super Step and Repeat. And you can see that it can really be super. I will show you another example of this over on the pasteboard. I'll deselect everything by clicking in this area of the margin where there is no objects and I am just going to duplicate one of these over onto the pasteboard just so I have something to work with. And now I'm going to Option+Drag that, but this time I am going to drag it diagonally, not just straight down, but diagonally. I'll let go of the Option or Alt key and I'll hit the up arrow a couple of times. You can see the duplicates being made there.
And now I am going to hit the right arrow a couple of times. You see what's going on? It's truly making a grid. So when I let go of the mouse button, I get 12 of these flowers all lined up in a grid. Now, I am going to Option+Spacebar+ Drag or Alt+Spacebar+Drag, so I have the Grabber Hand tool just so I can move over to this page. Do a little bit more duplicating. I am going to select this group of objects and I'm going to duplicate it using the Edit menu. I'll select Duplicate and you'll see that it duplicates it way over here on the right.
That might be confusing but here's what's going on. Duplicate always uses the same vertical and horizontal offsets from the last duplication you made. Even if that duplication was Option+Dragging. I am going to undo that with Command+Z or Ctrl+Z on Windows. And I'll go back and I'll show you what I usually use, which is Step and Repeat. Step and Repeat is great because it gives you ultimate control and precision over every duplication. In this case, I want to have this object duplicate down the page a whole bunch of times in kind of a vertical pattern.
So what I am going to do is change my offset to be let's say 150 points Vertical Offset and a 0 Horizontal Offset. I'll click up here, and because the Preview checkbox is turned on you see it made one duplicate exactly 150 points down. Now I can increase the Count value until I get the pattern that I want. If I want this to be both a vertical and horizontal grid, I'll turn on the Create as a Grid, and then the change the Horizontal value to let's say another 150 points.
Now, it's going four down and let's say three across. So Step and Repeat is a wonderful way to make a whole grid of objects really quickly. I'll click OK and I am going to show you one more method for duplicating objects. I am going to select this picture of this boy and girl and put it out here on this side of the page. It will be over here on the pasteboard where we have a little bit of space. And I want to show you that the Control panel itself is a great way to make duplicates. For example, I can come over here and change the Y value in the Control panel to something larger.
Let's say 200 points. Now if I hit Return or Enter right now, it's going to move that down to 200 points. But that's not what I wanted to do. I want to make a duplicate of it. So let me undo that, Command+Z or Ctrl+ Z and I will change this to 200 points. And I'm going to hold down the Option key or the Alt key on Windows when I hit Return or Enter. Remember Option or Alt always means duplicate. So Option+Return or Alt+Enter will duplicate this down so that this one is at 200 points down in the upper left corner.
I can do that same trick in all of the transformation features in the Control panel. For example, I'll come up here and change the Rotation value to let's say 180 degrees. If I hit Return, it will rotate it 180 degrees, but if I Option+Return or Alt+Enter, it will duplicate it and rotate it 180 degrees. Knowing more than one way to perform the same task in InDesign is helpful not just because you can impress your friends. But because the more ways you know how to do something, the more likely you are to use the most efficient technique in any given situation, especially when under deadline.
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