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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.
The more complex your page, the more you should consider locking some of your objects. Locking an object prevents you from accidentally moving it or changing it in your layout. For example, I am going to hand this document off to somebody else and I don't want them to move this group of objects around. It has to stay right where it is. So I am going to lock it by going to the Object menu and choosing Lock. When I do that, you'll see that the selection rectangle goes away and instead I get-- Let's zoom in here so we can see this better. It's a little padlock in the upper left corner of where the group was.
Now I cannot move this object anymore. I can't even select it. If I click on it, I've selected something but I have actually selected the background image behind it. Now, I actually don't want people to move that background image either. Let's zoom back to Fit in Window with Command+0 or Ctrl+0. So I am going to lock that image too. I'll go to the Object menu and choose Lock. Now that's locked. Now the only things that I can change on this page are the text frame and this flower image, the text on the path and so on. Everything else is locked in place.
As I said, locking an object doesn't just stop me from moving it. It stops me from changing in any way. So for example, if I choose the Type tool, I'll find that I cannot select any of the text inside that frame to change it. Now, some people don't like that. They want to lock the position, but they don't want to lock the whole object from any change. So, Adobe added a preference to let you control that yourself. To change that preference, go to the InDesign menu on the Mac or the Edit menu in Windows and choose Preferences > General. Here in the General pane of the Preferences dialog box, there is an option called Prevent Selection of Locked Objects.
If I turn that off and click OK, it will now allow me to select an object or change the text inside of it. You see how I can now select this text inside the word hansel. If I switch to the Selection tool, the black arrow tool, I can actually select that. But it will not let me move it anywhere. It's still locked in place. To unlock an object you have a couple different choices. First, you can click on the Padlock icon. For example, I'll zoom in here so you can see it better. I'll hover my cursor over it and you'll that cursor changes into a little Unlock icon.
If I click on it, that's all it takes. It is now unlocked on my page. The second option is to go to the Layers panel, expand the layer that has that locked object, and then click on the Lock icon next to that object. Now, the background image is unlocked. Locking object isn't supposed to restrict what you can do in InDesign. It's meant to free you from messing up your files. Use it carefully and you'll find yourself getting more efficient in your layouts.
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