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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.
Okay, here's a wacky concept that you have to get into your head before you really become an InDesign expert. You know that text and graphics both go inside frames, right? But did you know that you can put any object instead of a frame? In fact, you can put a whole frame inside of another frame. This concept is called nesting and it turns out to be crucially important. For example, I'm going to make a new frame down on the left side of this page here. Just draw out a frame here and I want to put this picture in the upper right corner, down into that frame.
Okay, to grab that picture, I know I need the Selection tool, so I'll press V for the Selection tool. Now, I can either double-click on the image itself or I can click on the content grabber. Either way, the image is selected, not the frame. Now, this is important to keep in mind. There's two different things, the image and the frame. Those are two separate objects. So to cut the picture out, I first select the image itself, that object, and then I go to the Edit menu and choose Cut. Now, to put it inside this image, most people would simply go to the Edit menu and choose Paste. Does that work? No, it doesn't.
That tells InDesign to paste the object on the page. So it actually makes a new frame and puts the picture into it. That's not what we wanted. So I'm going to press Command+Z or Ctrl+Z on Windows. What I really want is for InDesign to put the picture into this frame. So that's why there is a separate feature called Paste Into. When I choose Paste Into, it places that picture and just that picture inside that frame. Now I could actually cut this frame with its image and paste it into another frame, and then that frame and paste it into another frame and so on.
You can see that it can get pretty complex. That's why InDesign gives you features for selecting into a frame, called selecting the content, or selecting the frame itself called selecting the container. Those buttons are up here in the Control panel. You'll see a little Martian symbol with a down arrow. That means select whatever is inside this frame. And the Martian symbol with the up arrow means select the container. Select whatever is containing this object. Most of the time though, I simply double- click. Double-click and you select down.
You select the content. Double-click again and you select back out to the container. Same thing with the Escape key and Shift+Escape. Shift+Escape goes down into the content and Escape moves up to the container. I'll be talking about making object groups later in this chapter. But suffice it to say that if you make a whole group of objects, it acts like a single object. So you can actually paste that whole group into another frame too. Nesting objects into other objects can obviously get out of hand. But it's extremely helpful for a wide range of layout effects.
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