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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.
InDesign users often need to use the same object, the same text or the same layout in a number of different places, either within the same document or in different documents. Fortunately, you don't have to re- create that stuff each time, because InDesign offers several great ways to reuse your content. Let's look at a couple of them. I'm going to use the same group of objects down here in another document. So I'm going to first select it by dragging with the Selection tool over that whole group. It selects all of them and now I can copy it to the Clipboard. Choose Copy. Now I'm going to put that in a new document, so first I'll go grab my new document.
This document back here is a non-facing pages document. It's a single-sided document. So I'm going to be putting it into another single-sided document. Click OK, and now I'm going to paste it in, but instead of using Paste, I'm going to use a feature called Paste in Place. This tells InDesign to not just paste those objects into this document, but actually paste them in exactly the same location as they were in the previous document. There you go, you see how they ended up in the same location down there. Pretty cool. But what if I need the same group of objects tomorrow and next week and next month? I don't want to have to Copy and Paste in Place every time.
Instead I'd rather put it into a little repository that I can always grab it from the same place. So to do that I'm going to create a library, I create a library by going to the File menu, choosing New and then choosing Library. InDesign will ask me to name the library and where I want to put it. I'll just call it My Library but you can call it anything you want, and I'll click Save, and what happens is InDesign creates this library off here as a panel. It's a floating panel. InDesign already ships with another library called Sample Buttons, and we'll talk about that in a later chapter, but in this case we're just using the library called My Library.
Now to put these objects into My Library you simply select them and then drag and drop. It's easy as that. When I dropped it into the library it showed up as an untitled object in that library. The next time I want to use that object, for example, I'll create a new document here. I want to use the same little object. To get it out of the library, you guessed it! I simply drag and drop. Now in this case, because it's coming out of the library, it's going to end up exactly where my cursor was. I'm dragging it out and dropping it on the page wherever the cursor was.
So it's not ending up in the same location on the page. Let's go ahead and delete that. I'll just press the Delete key to delete that. If I do want it in exactly the same location, here's the trick. Select it in the library and then go to the Library menu and choose Place Item(s). Place Item(s) puts it on the page and remembers the page geometry, the position on the page. Now we can add a lot of different objects to our library, let's go back to the original document here and say, gosh, I want to have this text frame over here, and I want to grab these two buttons down here and drag those in.
You see what I'm doing here. I'm just selecting objects or groups of objects and adding them to My Library. And then later when I need them, I can simply drag them out again. This library looks like a panel but it's actually a file on disk, just like an InDesign document, and whenever you close your library or quit out of InDesign it resaves that document on disk. And then you could give this library file, the one that's sitting on the Desktop right now, to somebody else. They could open it and they would have access to all of these objects to put in their documents. Now there are lots of other cool things that you can do with libraries; I'm not going to go into all the details but I will point out that I can double-click on a library item and it opens up its Item Information.
So I could say for example, this is going to be my Payment Method object and it's called Geometry, Object Type here is Geometry. That just means that there's a bunch of objects. Click OK and I'll say, I'll double-click on this one and this is going to be my Submit buttons. I'll give it a description. I'll say buttons I use in that form I made. Click OK and you can see that it names it inside the library. It's worth taking a little bit of time to name your objects, give them descriptions and so on, because if you add a lot of objects in your library you may not know what these little tiny thumbnails are.
You may not remember what those are. It's also good because you can search through a library and you do that by clicking on the Filter button, this little thing that's supposed to look like a pair of binoculars, and you can say find anything in which the description includes, let's say the word form. And when I do that it found the Submit buttons, because again this had a description including the word form. So that's very handy as well, and then I can grab that, drag it out onto my page, and I'm good to go. So as you can see, using libraries is a great way to save yourself a huge amount of time by reusing those frequently used items, but libraries are not always convenient.
So in the next movie I'll show you an alternative that you really need to know about called Snippets.
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