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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.
It's time to start talking about using pictures in InDesign. Let's start at the beginning. How to get our images on to our InDesign page? Fortunately, InDesign makes it really easy. I'll go to the File menu, choose Place or press Command+D or Ctrl+D on Windows and up comes the Place dialog box. I'm looking at the Links folder in my Exercise Files folder and I'm going to scroll down until I find the image called girl and boy. Now click Open and it loads it into the Place cursor. You can even see a little thumbnail of that image and it lets me do a number of things with the Place cursor.
I could simply click and it would build a frame and place the image into it, and you can tell that this is actually a huge, huge image. So that's not what I want to do. I'm going to press Command+Z or Ctrt+Z on Windows to undo that, which reloads the Place cursor and lets me do something different with it. I could click-and-drag out an area, and notice that as I'm dragging, the frame that it's building for me is going to be proportional to the image. That is, the frame will always be just the right size, so that when I let go, the image fits it perfectly.
Let me undo that with Command+Z or Ctrl+Z, and I'll show you a couple other options. I can drag at a frame and hold down the Shift key and the Shift key deconstrains the frame, so I could make it any size I want, like I'll make it really, really narrow. Then when I let go, it automatically fills that frame with that image. That's, of course, a very silly looking thing, so I'm not going to do that, Command+Z, I'm just showing you all your different options here. What I really want to do with this is place it inside of a frame. So notice how the cursor changes very subtly, when I go on top of an image frame.
It's a little hard to see there, but the cursor changes to a rounded sort of parenthesis, dotted lines, and that means when I click it's going to go into this frame. So I'll click and in comes the image and it's, in this case, automatically sized to this frame and automatic sizing is something I'm going to be talking about later on in this chapter. But for now, suffice it to say that it's automatically sized to that. Let's go ahead and grab some other images. Now let me show you another way to import graphics into InDesign. You can use drag-and-drop.
You can drag-and-drop from the Mac OS Finder, which is what I have right here or on Windows, the Windows Explorer, just open up any folder you want and take an image and drag it right out on to your InDesign layout in the background. You can see that once again the cursor changes, if I'm out here on the pasteboard, I get one kind of cursor. That means it's going to load the Place cursor. If I come over here, on top of this empty frame, I get a different kind of cursor, which means it's going to drop right into that frame. In fact, that's what happens. So this is a very easy way to get images right out of your desktop and into InDesign.
Okay, now I'll do one more image. I'm going to grab this California_snow image out here and drop it out on the pasteboard. It loads the Place cursor, but I can't actually see that until I get back to InDesign. Now you can see that it's loaded up and I can put it anywhere I want. I'm going to put it right inside this area here. I'll do that by clicking-and-dragging and I'm going to let go when it's about the right size. This is going to be a little bit too tall. So that's okay. I'll just drag it in here and then I'll grab the lower handle and drag it up until it's the right height. There we go! But all the images that I've imported so far are raster images.
They're pixel images from Photoshop. Let's go ahead and get a vector image. I'm going to press Command+D or Ctrl+D on Windows to open the Place dialog box, and then I'm going to scroll to the bottom of my Links folder and choose this taste_of_cal_logo. Now notice that this is an .AI file. What does that mean? It means it's a native Illustrator file. InDesign tries to be as flexible as possible when it comes to importing images. That means you can import all the regular things like TIFF files, JPEG, PDF and so on, but it also supports native Illustrator files, these AI files, native Photoshop files, otherwise known as PSD files.
In fact, it even lets you import native InDesign files. That's right. You can import one InDesign file into another. It's treated like a graphic. So, it's very, very flexible and very powerful. In this case, when I choose my AI file, my Illustrator file, I'm going to turn on the Show Import Options checkbox here. That way, I get one additional dialog box to help me fine-tune what I'm going to import. Click Open and you can see that it says Place PDF, but it's really an Illustrator file. But in this dialog box, it gives me a preview of the image, which is kind of cool, and also lets me choose a page within this.
What does that mean? Well, if I had more than one artboard in my Illustrator file, it would let me choose which artboard I want. If I had more than one page in a PDF file that I was placing, or an InDesign file I was placing, it would let me choose which page in that PDF or InDesign file I was importing. So that's very handy. It also lets me choose what I want to crop to, and usually this is set to Bounding Box, but if I set this to something like Media, you can see the dash line here. It's going to import this entire area with the image just in the upper left corner.
Media means the artboard or the page that art was actually on in Illustrator. In this case, I actually do just want the art or just the bounding box of the art. The bounding box means the smallest rectangle that will fit that artwork. That's what I want in this case. So, you can see you have a lot of options when it comes to importing graphics into InDesign, if you turn on that Show Import Options dialog box. I'll go ahead and click OK. It loads that image up into the Place cursor and I'll drag it out and you can see that I now have that vector artwork inside my InDesign document. Okay.
I would be remiss in my duty if I did not show you one more special, cool, hidden trick for importing graphics. I'm going to just pan over to the side here with the Option+Spacebar or Alt+Spacebar panning trick. To get the Hand tool, scroll over here. I'm going to use this blank space over here, so I have some space to work with. I'm going to use Command+D or Ctrl+D to open up the Place dialog box. I'm going to grab a bunch of these images. That's about six images, great, and I'm going to turn off Show Import Options, because I don't need that this time. I'll click Open and it loads all six of those images into my Place cursor.
So that's very handy if I want to click very quickly, like I could go click and click-and-drag, click-and-drag, click- and-drag, so I have all of those images loaded up and I can place them very quickly. That's cool, but that's not actually what I was going to show you. So let me undo that, Command+Z, and now I'm going to place all of them with one click-and-drag. How do I do it? I start dragging out and it thinks that I'm just going to drag out for one image, but while the mouse button is held down, I'm going to click one of the up arrows or right arrows on my keyboard.
So I press the Up Arrow and you can see that all of a sudden I have two frames. Can you see that? I've got two frames there. I'll click the Right Arrow and now I have two columns. So I've got four frames total. Why don't I go ahead and click that again. Now I've got six different frames for all six images on here. I can make this any size I want. I'm still dragging around with this. When I let go of the mouse button, all of a sudden InDesign brings all of them in at once. That's called the Gridify feature because it makes a grid, although I think of this as a Contact Sheet feature because it is a great way to make a contact sheet really quickly in InDesign.
Notice that the gutter space, the amount of space in between each of these frames equals the gutter space for our document. It picked up that number to put in between each of these as well. So that makes it very fast for placing in a document, if I were, in fact, going to put this on my document page. Note that I have not said anything about how to copy and paste images from one application to another. You can actually copy and paste vector shapes from Illustrator into InDesign and vice versa. If you do that, all the objects remain editable, all those Bezier shapes.
However, I strongly urge you not to copy images from Photoshop or any other program other than Illustrator. There are a number of technical reasons for this, but suffice it to say that it's rarely a good idea. But those pixel images, you really should place them just like I showed you earlier in this movie.
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