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In InDesign CS4 Power Shortcuts, Adobe product manager and designer Michael Ninness reveals hundreds of tips to boost productivity, including the top 20 power shortcuts every InDesign user must know. From placing multiple images to the hidden power of Quick Apply, each one of these videos covers an important topic, and includes just the right amount of information to make anyone a true InDesign power user. InDesign users are always looking for faster, more efficient ways to do everything, and this course offers just what they're looking for. Exercise files accompany the course.
This next step comes courtesy of Gabriel Powell. He is the author of Instant InDesign and has a corresponding website with the same name, instantindesign.com. And he figured out a great trick for someone who asked, "I want an image when I place it into a frame to be scaled to a specific percentage every time." A lot of people deal with screenshots when doing documentation and they want their screenshots to be scaled at 50%. They don't want to have to keep doing that manually. They want to be able to drop an image into a frame and just have that scaling amount happen automatically.
Well, Gabriel actually figured out a way to do it and I am going to show that to you now. The trick is to change one of the default settings that ships in InDesign. It's a Preference setting. So if I want to open up my Preferences dialog and do Command+K or Ctrl+K and in the General tab right here it says When Scaling: Apply to the Content or Adjust the Scaling Percentage. I am going to change it to Adjust Scaling Percentage. The Apply to Content is the default. The Adjust Scaling Percentage is the trick that you need to use to accomplish this goal.
When you turn on Adjust Scaling Percentage, what's going to happen is that InDesign is going to record the amount of scaling you've applied to the content in that frame and keep that as a live attribute. Then anytime you place a different image into that frame, it will scale it to that specific amount. But the good news is that you can turn off this preference or switch it temporarily and assign this to a frame and then switch it back, so your default isn't acting differently than you'd want. This attribute becomes part of the frame, then you can just reuse that frame. I'll show you how to do that as well.
Okay, so let's begin by placing an image into this particular frame here. File > Place, Command+D, and we'll go to our Links files here and there is the Garden.jpg file. We are going to place in here and go ahead and bring it in. With the item selected, we're going to go ahead and go to the Scale field and just type in 50%. Now this scales the whole image and the frame. That's okay. We don't really care about it now. We're just trying to do a setup here, because here is the interesting part. When I double-click with the Selection tool, then click one more time to select the content, When I delete that content, watch what happens when I click on the frame again.
Look at the Control panel. It's telling me that it's set to 50%. Even if I go back and resize the frame, it's going to remember that any image that I place inside this frame needs to be scaled 50% from its original. That's pretty cool. So what I can do now is make this frame any size I want and it's got the intelligent behavior built into it. So if I want to reuse this later on, I can actually save this as a file, a special type of file that I can import in or drag and drop in to any other InDesign document and that is called an InDesign Snippet.
With this frame selected, I am going to go File > Export and from our Format list, we are going to choose InDesign Snippet. I am going to give this a name. I am going to call it 50%_Scale_Frame.idms. That's the file extension for an InDesign Snippet. And I am just going to go ahead and save this to my Desktop and go ahead and click Save. Great! I can go ahead and delete this frame now, and I can even turn off this preference. I can do Command+K, Ctrl+K and take it back to When Scaling, Apply to Content, the default setting and click OK.
Now I want to use this frame that's got this built-in intelligence of 50%. So I am going to do File > Place, Command+D again or a File > Place, Control+D again, go to my Desktop, there it is, that snippet file that we created. I am going to go ahead and click Open. It loads it into my gun and I can just click it anywhere on the page. So I can actually create several of these at different scale percentages, just repeating this process. I could have all this 25%, 75%, 50%, whatever and just name them accordingly. And now I have these really smart frames available to me whenever I want to use them. All right, so let's go see what happens.
We're going to go and deselect, we'll get our Place command, Command+D again and I am going to my Exercise Files, and my Links and grab that Garden image again. Go ahead and click Open and I am going to place it into this frame and if we did everything correctly, it comes in and that image is scaled 50% automatically. How cool is that? Pretty neat. Thank you, Gabriel Powell. Take a visit over to his website. He has got great tips and tricks there on his blog.
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