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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.
- Okay, so let's say you're making two-sided name tags or anything else that has a front and a back and you want that front and back to be aligned when you print it on both sides of the same piece of paper. Now, if it's just one thing per page, then it's not that big of a deal, you just have to position the frames carefully on each page. But if you're printing variable-data, for example, if you're using the Data Merge feature to bring in names and pictures from a spreadsheet or maybe a database, then it's a bit trickier because you need the data to be positioned differently on the front and back.
For example, this name tag up here in the upper-left corner, the one labeled John Doe, should line up with the upper-right corner on the back side of the page, over here. Now, that's because we're printing this using what's called Work-and-turn or some people call it Long edge binding, we print one side then flip the page and then print the other side. If you are doing Short edge binding, also called Work-and-tumble, then this name badge in the upper-left would have to be matched with the name badge in the lower-left in order to match up back-to-back, right? I know it's a little hard to picture but believe me that's what has to happen.
Anyway, unfortunately, there's no way to tell Data Merge to flow the text one way on one page and then mirrored on another page. So after we import everything, it looks kind of like this. The text and graphics on the second page are in the wrong place. We have to use a trick to flip these around. I'm gonna use the cmd + spacebar or ctrl + spacebar on Windows trick to zoom in a little bit so I can see this better. You can see that John Doe is in the upper-left and Sally Mae is in the upper-right.
Down here on the next page, we have John Doe on the left and Sally Mae on the right. Let's go ahead and scroll down here and then zoom in on this page so we can see what we're doing better. Here on the second page, the back page, I want to flip these. To do that, I'll simply drag over all these frames to select them with the selection tool. Next, I wanna make sure that their reference point, this little icon on the left edge of the control panel, is set to the center point, not the upper-left corner. Then I could simply flip these around by pressing the Flip Horizontal button right here in the middle of the control panel.
Of course, that just reverses all of these frames and makes everything backward. So it's not really helpful. Let me undo that, cmd + z or ctrl + z on Windows. Now, instead, here's what you do. After you select all the frames with the selection tool, then switch to the direct selection tool, that's the white arrow tool. You can do that just by pressing the "a" key on your keyboard, there you go. Now, I have the direct selection tool selected. And now with that tool, I'm going to click this Flip Horizontal button one more time.
Did you see that? Isn't that cool? In this case, because we're using the direct selection tool, it flipped the objects but not the contents of the objects. So now it all matches up just right.
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