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In this series, David Blatner and Anne-Marie Concepción, co-hosts of the web's top resource for InDesign tips and tricks, InDesignSecrets.com, share some hidden and sometimes surprising workflow tips that will make working in InDesign more efficient and more fun. The course covers built-in timesaving features such as Quick Apply and auto-expanding text, but also little-known tricks, such as using the eyedropper to copy and paste character and paragraph text attributes and making accurate selections by selecting through or even into objects.
New techniques will be added to the collection every other week, so check back early and often. Find more tips and tricks at indesignsecrets.com.
- [Voiceover] Let's talk about how to make working with captions easier in your documents. We're looking at a single page here, part of a magazine spread. With the typical issues that occur when you're trying to create nice looking captions and make the entire page design look consistent from page to page. The way this document is constructed is we have a number of layers. The captions are on their own layer, above Master Page items and pictures, and the text is at the very top. So, when I'm trying to select a picture, if I click right on it, I select the text.
I'm always going to have to click over here to the left. And you'll see that the pictures have a text wrap applied to them. If I open up the text wrap panel, this one has one pica all the way around, but the designer added six picas at the bottom in order to push the text away, because you can see that the text actually takes up the entire height of the live area. Now here is a caption, let's zoom in a bit, that we want to put underneath this image. So, zoom out and close text wrap.
We're just going to drag this right on over. And oh! It disappears. Experienced InDesign users know what's happening with this, but I hear from clients all the time that this drives them crazy. Why is my text disappearing? It's because it's being pushed away by the text wrap. It makes no difference which layer an object is on. Its text wrap affects all other layers above and below it. But it's very simple to fix this. With the text frame selected, go to the object menu. Go down to text frame options, or just press Command or Control B, and turn on this option here, Ignore Text Wrap.
Now the type comes right back into view. We still have to apply the correct paragraph style, which is Caption. There we go, that looks pretty good. One thing that bothers me is all this white space on this caption frame. So, I'm just going to double click the bottom handle to snap it out. Let's do the same thing for this caption, which already has some text wrap applied to it to push the text out of the way below it. Going to drag and drop this right on top. And you see how the text got pushed out, because this image has just one pica text wrap.
So again, we need to select this guy, press Command or Control, Shift, B, turn on Ignore Text Wrap. There it is. And because all the type is using the same paragraph style, we can just leave the entire text frame selected and choose the caption paragraph style. We just did two of these. If we had to do 50 of these in the entire document, we should make an object style for these caption text frames. An object style can contain all of the settings that we just did plus more settings. Here's one, for example, that I might do.
I want the text to be the same distance from the bottom of the picture in every instance where I use a caption. So, for this text frame, I'm going to bring down a bit, then go to Text Frame Options and set a fixed baseline, meaning a distance from the top that the text should start. I could have also chosen a top inset, but I'm just used to this method, so I'm going to say I want at least one pica of space offset from the top. And as long as I do that for every caption frame, they'll always have the same amount of distance.
Let's turn this formatted one into an object style. With it selected, I'm going to open up my Object Styles panel, and hold down the Option or Alt key, and click on New Style, which opens up a dialog box that lets me name it. And I'm going to call it caption-default. Over here under Basic Attributes, it's picking up all of the settings I had for my selected caption frame. But it doesn't always pick up the paragraph style options, so I click that to turn on the checkmark, and I'm going to make sure that it uses the caption style automatically.
Under Text Frame General Options, I'm want to make sure it picked up the fact to Ignore Text Wrap, and under Baseline Options, that it's fixed with the one pica offset from the top. I don't need it to pick up if the caption has text wrap or not, so I'm going to turn that off, and I'll apply that on a case-by-case basis. I also like using this, Text Frame Autosize Options, for my captions. I always want the caption to grow in height as I add more text from the top. We'll see how that works in a bit.
So, now let's go ahead and apply Caption Default to our caption frames. And it's working perfectly. You see that it's kept the text wrap, if there was already text wrap applied. It did not add one, that's why I turned it off. And if I happen to add more text to this caption... I'm just adding some gibberish text. You see how the text frame automatically grows, so I don't have to have an over set. That's because I had Autosize turned on. One last thing, if you have gone to the trouble of setting up this fantastic object style, you should share it.
Create a library for your company or for yourself. Put it on your desktop and call it, maybe, Magazine, and add things that you use in the magazine all the time, like your caption object style. I'm going to name it Caption. Now, when I go to a new document that also needs captions, I can drag that and drop it in here, and that style gets added to this new document. So, now I can put this caption over here. Let's apply some text wrap.
And then in the Object Style, turn on Caption Default. And it applied the correct settings for the caption frame and the paragraph style for the caption itself. I just have to go back and fiddle around with the text wrap to push this off. So those are a whole bunch of ways to make working with captions a lot easier in InDesign. Take a lot of time in setting up one perfect one, and then make an Object Style out of it.
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