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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.
When you import an image, it often doesn't appear at the correct size on your page. For example, I am going to grab this Graphic Frame tool, and drag out a frame. And then, I'll switch back to the Selection tool, go to the File menu and choose Place. I'm going to grab my red_cactus image. So I just type red, so it jumps red_cactus. Click Open and it places it inside the frame. However, I happened to know that that image is far bigger than that frame. So it's sticking out of the side. The image frame is actually cropping it down.
So I only see the upper left corner of the image. Now, what if I want to the whole image? I could resize this frame by grabbing one of the corner or side handles and growing it out. But I'm not really sure how large to make it. So instead I am going to rely on a feature underneath the Object menu, in the Fitting menu, called Fit Frame to Content. Fit Frame to Content will make sure that the frame matches the content exactly. It stretches it out so that only the image is in here. There is no white space. It doesn't go any bigger than the image or smaller than the image.
It's exactly the same size as that image. Now, there are actually several shortcuts that I could use instead of that menu. So let me show you one of them, because it's really handy. I'll actually undo it a couple times here to go back to the way it was originally. That's Command+Z or Ctrl+Z on Windows of course. If I want to fit the frame to the image, all I have to do is double click on one of the corner handles. That's all you need to do. Double click on it and poof, the frame expands to meet the image, which is pretty cool. It turns out that also works on text frames too. For example, I have this text in its own little text frame up on the pasteboard here.
I can make the frame match the size of the text by double-clicking on a corner handle. Double click on it and there we go. It snaps to just the size of the text itself. So that's kind of cool. But in this case, I actually don't want this to be a really huge image on my page. I want to resize this frame down to something smaller, and then make the image fit the frame not the frame fit the image. Can I do that? Sure. I simply select that image, that graphic frame, go to the Object menu, go to the Fitting submenu and look at all these other options.
Instead of Fit Frame to Content, I could choose Fit Content to Frame. In this case, the content that is the image itself gets squished into the frame itself. Unfortunately, it squishes it disproportionally in this case. It makes the width of the image match the width of the frame and the height of the image match the height of the frame. And so, this is actually disproportional. That is it's, in this case, probably squished down more vertically than it is horizontally. So it's kind of ugly. Let's not do that.
Let's undo that. Go back to the Fitting menu. See if there is anything else we could use. How about Fit Content Proportionally? Now, Fit Content Proportionally is interesting, because it fits the entire image, inside the frame. It makes sure the whole image fits into that frame without any sticking out. On the other hand, unfortunately, it leaves this white space on the side. So if this were too wide, it would have left a white space on the bottom. But whatever the case, it does fit into the frame. But it's still not what I want for this particular layout.
I'll undo that and go back to the Fitting submenu. This time I am just going to right- click or Ctrl+Click with a one-button mouse and choose Fitting from the context menu. Instead, it gives me the same sort of menu. Same features. And I am going to use this feature instead. This is the feature I like the most. Fill Frame Proportionally makes sure the image completely fills the frame even if some of the image is going to get cropped out. In this case, a little bit of the bottom of the image is getting cropped out. But that's okay, because it looks really good all in all.
I should point out, just for the sake of completeness that you don't have to choose those out of any menu at all, because all of those features live up here in the Control panel as well. For example, fill Frame Proportionally is this first button up here. That's the one I use most often. There is Fit Content Proportionally and so on and so on. So you can just click on one of those buttons in the Control panel to do the same thing. Now, the cool thing is that whenever I apply one of these fitting options, it applies it not just to that image, but also to the frame. I've changed the behavior of the frame.
So if I put any other image in here, you will automatically get the same scaling. For example, I'll go to the File menu, choose Place, make sure Replace Selected Item is turned on here. And then I'm going to pick another image, maybe this exotic_dancer image that I have already used on the page. Click Open and in it comes and it automatically scales it. It fits it to that frame. Now you can control that behavior a little bit by going back to the Fitting submenu and choosing Frame Fitting Options. This is where the behavior of the frame itself is being controlled.
And you can see this it says fill Frame Proportionally. I could change this to any of the other frame fitting options if I want to. But fill Frame, like I said, is the one I use most often. Now there is another feature in here called the Align From feature. And this let's you tell InDesign which part of the image should be aligned to which part of the frame. In this case, you can see that the upper left corner of the image is being aligned to the upper left corner of the frame. But you can control that by choosing any of these other points on this little proxy here.
But you can change that behavior by picking any of these other nodes. I am going to click OK here and resize this frame. What happens? Nothing. It just shows a little bit more of the image. That's kind of a hassle. I want the image to resize when I change the size of the frame. Can you do that? Sure. It's a new feature in InDesign CS5. I am going to undo that and I'm going to go back to Fitting, and I am going to go back to my Frame Fitting Options, and I am going to turn on this new checkbox called Auto-Fit. Auto-Fit is really cool, because it tells InDesign to reapply the Frame Fitting Options every time I change the size of the frame.
So as soon as I drag this out larger, it fits it. Make it smaller, it fits it. It's that easy. Now you certainly don't have to make your images fill your frames or your frames fit your images. But it is often helpful, especially when trying to Layout a document or template quickly.
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