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If you've ever taken a design or art course, you've learned to think both in positive and negative space. That is, the space between objects is just as important as the objects themselves. We've already learned how to move objects around on the page using the Selection tool, but InDesign has a Gap tool that let's you move objects around based on the space between and around them. The Gap tool is number four in the Tool panel over here, and in order to use it, you need to move it between objects. When you do move it onto your page, you'll see that an area of your page becomes gray.
That indicates what is going to be moving when I click and drag. If I place the cursor on top of an object itself, it turns into a cursor saying nothing is going to happen, so I need to find a space. I'm going to click in the space between the edge of the page, and these objects. Note that the Gap tool sees that the two text frames on the left are aligned exactly, and so it's going to move of both them together. When I click and drag, you'll see that the Gap tool actually changed the size of each of those frames.
I'll drag to the right, and it makes the frames larger. I'll drag to the left, and it makes them smaller again. So dragging with the Gap tool changes the size of the gap, by changing the size of the objects. Let me undo that with a Command+Z or Control+Z, and I'll show you how to change the gap in a different way. This time I'm going to hold down a modifier key. I'm going to hold down the Option key, or Alt on Windows. Holding down Option or Alt doesn't change the cursor at all, but it does change the behavior. Now when I click and drag, something different happens.
It does not change the size of those objects; it simply moves them. What's great about this is it moves more than one object at the same time. I didn't have to select all of them to move them, or I didn't have to select one, and then move each one in succession. I simply Option+Drag, or Alt+Drag, and it moves all of the objects that are already aligned. Different modifier keys do different things. So holding down the Option or Alt key tells InDesign to move; holding down Command+Option or Control+Alt tells it move, and change the size of the gap.
I'll move my cursor over here between the word Roux in this text frame. Notice that this gray bar goes all the way across the two-page spread. The Gap tool can see across spreads. Now I'm going to hold down Command+Option, or Control+Alt, and click and drag in this gap. You'll see that it's actually moving all three frames up or down, and by doing so, changes the size of the gap. Sometimes you don't want it to change all the objects just because they're aligned. For example, I'm going to undo that with a Command+Z, or Control+Z, and I'm going to place my cursor in between these two text frames. I see that that gray bar goes all the way across and I want to tell InDesign to limit the Gap tool to just the text frames on either side of the cursor.
I don't want it to be changing that graphic at all. So I'm going to hold down the Shift key. The Shift key tells InDesign to constrain it only to the objects that are on either side of the cursor itself. So now Shift+Option+Command, or Shift+ Control+Alt, click, and drag, will move just those two, and it ignores the graphic. By the way, I implied this earlier, but it's worth saying explicitly that the edge of your page always acts as one of your objects.
So if I want to change the space between the edge of the page, and this object, I simply place the cursor between the edge of the page and the object, and then I can hold down the Option key, and drag, and that lets me move the object based on the gap. Now, I admit all these modifier keys can be very confusing, but InDesign is all about offering options to make your life easier. The Gap tool is a terrific alternative to the Selection tool when it comes to moving a bunch of objects around on your page.
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