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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.
When you first look at the Layers panel, you just see layers, but there is a
whole world living just under the surface here.
To see it you have to click on the little triangle expander thing to the left
of the layer name.
When I click on this one next to Graphic Elements, you can see two different
This turns out to be useful in all kinds of ways.
For example, sometimes it's hard to select a particular object within the
stacking order of your spread.
So, what you can do is click on the little square to the right of that object name,
I'm going to call this the flower. Click Enter or Return to make it take effect and I'm going to choose this compound path, click-pause-click, and then I'll call this and. I could call that ampersand I suppose if I wanted to and hit Enter. Let's look inside some of the other layers like the Text layer. I'll click that twirly thing and we can see that we have the URL here, www.hanselpetal.com. Well, that text has to do with the text in this text frame over here.
Text frames are always named with the little snippet of the text written in here. So they are pretty easy to find, hansel, petal and so on. The word circle reflects this path over here that has text on it. We might want to change that name, so I'll click-pause -click and give it a name like type on a path, there we go. Notice that when I select something in the Layers panel, it is not selected on the page. Once again to select it on the page itself, you need to click on that little box in the right column.
That selects it on the page, so that I can then manipulate it like move it around. For example, I now see that I'd like to move that "and" object down in between hansel & petal, so it's sort of in between the words there. I can do that by clicking on the word "and" and dragging it down into this other layer in between those two other objects. Now let's look inside the Background layer and we can see that there is a group and the image. Images are always named by the name of the image itself, the file that's on disk, [00:02:340.13] so that can be very handy for identifying things on layers.
In this case I want to move this group out of the Background layer but it won't let me until I unlock the layer. So I'll click on the Lock icon and now I can move that group out and this actually belongs up on the Graphic Elements layer up here. One of the coolest things that you can do in the Layers panel is view or hide individual objects. For example, I can hide or show that flower just by clicking on the little eyeball icon in the left column. I can also lock those objects individually by clicking in the second column.
I'm going to be talking more about locking individual objects later on in this chapter. Now this ability to manage your objects, changing their stacking order, selecting exactly what you need, this gives you an unprecedented amount of control over every item on your page. When you need precision, you need the Layers panel.
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