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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 have two or more objects that need to stay together on your page, consider grouping them. For example, if I move this one icon over, I probably want all of them to move over, right? Well, to do that I need to group them. Let me undo this, Command+Z or Ctrl+Z on Windows, and I am going to select each of these other objects here by Shift+Clicking on them with the Selection tool. There we go. Now I have all of them selected, and I can group them by going to the Object menu and choosing Group. Groups actually act like a single individual object in InDesign, so I can drag one of them and they'll all move.
Here is another thing that I probably want to turn into a group. This whole title with this desaturated color behind it. But in this case, I want to point something out. That background color is on the background layer, while the type is all on the text layer. Unfortunately, when you group objects they all end up on the same layer. You cannot group objects up different layers, so that's just a way it goes. You end up having to give up one form of organization, layers, for another, grouping. That's fine.
I'll go ahead and do that. I am going to select all of these objects here. I just dragged out a marquee around this area. That also selected the background image. So, I'll Shift+Click on that to deselect it. Remember Shift+Clicking both selects and deselects. So, now I just have these objects selected and they are on two different layers, and when I group them with Command+G or Ctrl+G, you'll see that they all ended up on the text layer. That's where the selected item proxy is highlighting here in the Layers panel. But the good news is next time I move one of these objects, all of them will move together.
Now, there is a couple grouping tricks that I want to point out. One is that if you want to select an individual object inside of a group, you simply double-click on it. If I want to select that California object, I'll double-click on it and it selects that text frame. I'll come down here and then click on The Golden State Specialist text frame and that highlights that. There is another way to move around your group and that is with these buttons, these sort of cryptic Martian looking buttons up here in the Control panel. This lets you move to the next object in the group.
If I click on that, it will move among all the objects in the group or the previous object in the group. So that's helpful for moving through the objects, especially when you can't select them manually. Of course, an even better way is by coming over to the Layers panel and opening the text layer here and opening the group and you can see that each object in the group is actually a separate item. This turns out to be extremely useful, because you can actually drag things in and out of groups without ungrouping them, just by dragging their objects in the Layers panel.
For example, if I decide that I don't want that rectangle, that desaturated colored rectangle in the background, if I don't want that in the group anymore, I simply drag it out. I'll drag it over here until I see this dark line and let go of it and it's no longer part of the group. Now, if I drag the group down on the page, you'll see that just it moves and that rectangle is left right in place. There is no rule that you have to group objects together. But it sure makes it easier to layout your projects faster when you have logical groupings that you can drag around or select.
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