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InDesign is an essential tool for design firms, ad agencies, magazines, newspapers, book publishers, and freelance designers around the world. This course presents the core features and techniques that make this powerful page layout application fun and easy to use. Author David Blatner shows how to navigate and customize the workspace, manage documents and pages, work with text frames and graphics, export and print finished documents, explore creating interactive documents, and much more. He also covers popular topics such as EPUBs and long documents and includes advice on working with overset text, unnamed colors, and other troublesome issues that may arise for first-time designers.
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. The basic method for importing an image is to use the Place command which you can find under the File menu. I'll choose Place or you could press Command+D or Ctrl+D on Windows. This shows me a list of all the images or all of the files that I could place right now. I'm looking at the Links folder which is inside the Exercise Folder. I am going to import the Roux Academy logo, which I am going to find at the bottom of that list. Here it is.
It's an ai file, that's in Adobe Illustrator file, which InDesign can import. When I click Open InDesign imports the image and loads the place cursor. Now it's very important to pay attention to the place cursor before you click. This place cursor tells me information about what's about to happen. Right now I see the little twirly spirally icon which shows me that it's an Acrobat file or an Illustrator file, they look the same. The edge of the place cursor are two dotted straight lines and that indicates that if I click right now it will create a new frame.
If I move the place cursor over here where I actually want it, those lines get curved kind of into a parentheses and that indicates that it's going to place this image into a frame. That's not what I want to do, so I don't want to click right now instead I want to click and drag. And when I click and drag it creates a frame and places the image into it. Now I can simply drag it into place. Perfect! Now let's bring in that image one more time to put it elsewhere on my page. I'll go back to File menu, choose Place, grab my image and just before I click Open I want to check something, I want to check to see if the Replace Selected Item checkbox is turned on.
Replace Selected Item tells InDesign whether or not you want this image to go into any selected frame that you currently have. If I move this Place dialog box out of the way you can see I do actually have a frame selected. So if that checkbox were on, my image would go into this frame not where I'm going to want to put it. Of course in this case the checkbox is turned off, so it doesn't matter. I'll click Open and up comes that place cursor again and I am going to put it down here on this page. The place cursor is indicating that it's going to create a new frame; there is no empty frame behind that right now.
So I am simply going to click and it will make a frame of the right size and put the image into it. I'll drag that down into position. Now I am going to place another image, but this time I'm going to use a different method. I am going to drag it right out of a folder on my Desktop. I'll switch back to the finder, this also works with Windows, Mac or Windows it doesn't matter, grab the image that I want to drag in and simply drag it on top of the InDesign window. When I let go it doesn't look like that anything has happened. But as soon as I switch back to InDesign, you'll see that it automatically loaded my place cursor.
Now I can simply click and drag. As I'm dragging you'll notice that I can't make this any size I want, it stays height width proportional to the image itself. Now I'll drag and finally let go and in comes the image. Now let's bring some more images into my second spread. I'll press Option+Page Down or Alt+Page Down and you'll see that I have a number of empty graphic frames ready to fill. In this case I am going to bring all three images in at the same time. To do that, I go back to the Place dialog box by pressing Command+D or Ctrl+D and I am going to select all the images that I want right now, all three of them.
To select those three at one time I'll first click on the first one that I want, and then I'll hold down the Command key or Ctrl key on Windows and select the other one. There's two, now let's scroll down little bit and get the third I am looking for. Command+Click or Ctrl+Click one more time and I've selected three images at the same time inside the list in the Place dialog box. Now I'll click Open and all three of them are added to my place cursor. I can tell that there are three here, because there is a little blue 3 inside parenthesis next to the cursor.
In fact, I can actually move through those one at a time by pressing the arrow keys, the left or right arrow keys on my keyboard. If I press the right arrow you'll see it switches to the next image, press it again and it goes the third image. I can move through here until I find just the image I want right now. Then when I'm ready, I'll move my cursor on top of the frame that I want to place it in and click. The cursor changes, because now I only have two images on the place cursor and I'll click again and then click again. I'd like to bring some images down into this blank space and this third pane of this brochure.
I am going to grab four images this time and I am going to put them all in a grid, here is how it works. I'll press Command+D or Ctrl+D, I'll grab four images, I actually have no idea what these images are, I am just picking by random with the Ctrl or Command key held down and I'll click Open and it grabs all four of those onto the place cursor. Now, I'm going to start dragging with this place cursor. I drag out the height I want; I am not paying any attention to the width, just how tall this grid is going to be.
While the mouse button is still down, I am going to press the up arrow key. I press once and it breaks it into a grid of two frames. Press two more times and I get four frames in a stack. I only press the up arrow to add frames vertically. This is a single column. If I press the right arrow it would break it into a grid of two columns. But I am going to press the left arrow to go back to a single column, because that's what I am trying to do. When I let go, it makes four frames and loads in the images.
I'll talk about how to scale those images properly later on in this chapter. I want to show you one more technique for importing images. I'm going to click out on the pasteboard so that nothing is selected, go back to the Place dialog box and choose an Illustrator file at the bottom of my list. This Illustrator file is called roux_artboards.ai. I happen to know that this Illustrator file has multiple artboards built into it, but this technique would also work with a PDF file that has multiple pages. When you have a file that has multiple pages or multiple artboards, you need to tell InDesign which page or artboard you actually want to import.
To do that you can turn on the Show Import Options checkbox. Show Import Options tells InDesign that when you click Open it should bring up the Place PDF dialog box or the Import Options dialog box as I call it. Here we can see that there are three total pages or artboards in this document and we can move through them one at a time to see which one we actually want to bring in. I am going to go ahead and bring that first one in, but notice that I could actually bring all of them in if I want or maybe just a range of them.
If you bring in more than one page, each one is loaded up onto the place cursor as a separate image. You can also tell InDesign how to Crop this image. Right now it's set to Art, which means just bring in the size of the artwork. Don't bring in any of the white space around it. But if I change this to Media something different happens and you get an indication of that here. It brings in the entire page all the way out to the edge, or in this case all the way out to the edge of the artboard. In some cases you may find you need that, but for me right now I just need the Art itself.
I'll click OK, image is loaded up on the place cursor and I can click and drag. Note that I'm not talking about how to copy and paste images from one application to another. While you technically can copy and paste some vector artwork between InDesign and Illustrator, I strongly urge you not to copy images from Photoshop or any other program other than Illustrator. There is a number of technical reasons for this, but suffice it to say that it's rarely a good idea. However, you choose to import your images, InDesign tries to be as flexible as possible, and this is especially true when it comes to what file formats you can use.
InDesign supports all the regulars, TIFF, JPEG, PDF and so on, but it also supports native PSD files and most native AI files, that's Photoshop and Illustrator files. Later in this chapter I'll talk about some of the advantages of using these native files.
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