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Scaling objects in InDesign seems simple enough at first, but it can be deceptively complicated to scale an object or a group of objects to a specific size. For example, if I select this graphic and come up to the Control panel and change this to, let's say, 150 millimeters. I will press Enter, and you will see that it does not scale it; it resizes it. It's important to keep the difference in mind. Resizing will actually change the frame and that will crop the image. Scaling it would have changed the size of the frame and the image inside of it. It would have actually made it smaller.
Let's undo that with the Cmd+Z or Ctrl+ Z on Windows, and let me show you how you can scale it to a specific size. Instead of using the Width and Height fields, which actually change the Resize amount, I am going to change the Scale fields in the Control panel, the ones that currently say 100%. So how do I figure out what percentage to type in here in order to make the Width 150 millimeters? How am I going to figure that out? Well, the good news is you don't have to do any math at all. All you have to do is come up here and replace a percentage; in this case 100%, replace that with 150 millimeters.
I am typing an absolute measurement instead of a percentage, and InDesign is smart enough to figure out that percentage for me. I will hit Enter, and we can see that it actually scaled the whole thing down. The Control panel still says 100%, but we know that we can see the true percentage of that image by double clicking on it to get the Direct Selection tool, and then clicking once on the image with that Direct Selection tool, and we can see that this image is 128% as big as it used to be. The important thing though is, if I go back to the Selection tool and select that, we can see that the Width is now 150 millimeters.
Let me undo that by pressing Cmd+Z or Ctrl+Z on Windows, and I am going to select everything on the page with Cmd+ A or Ctrl+A on Windows, and I am going to scale all of that down as though it were a group of objects. You don't have to group them, but it just acts as though it were a group because I selected all of them. Once again, I am going to come up to the Scale value and type 150 millimeters, hit Enter, and it scales everything on that page down. Typing absolute values into the scaling fields of the Control panel is not obvious, and most InDesign users never even realize that you can do that, but it is a powerful tool when you need to scale a number of objects or even an individual image down to a specific size.
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