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It's a golden law of page layout: nothing ever seems to be the size you need it to be on your page. Fortunately, there are a number of ways to scale graphics, text, and other page items. I have my portfolio page open from the exercise folder, and I'm going to jump to page 4 by pressing Command+J, or Control+J on Windows, then 4, then Enter. This artwork just isn't the right size. I need to scale it up. The first way we will do that is by choosing the Free Transform tool from the tool panel. The Free Transform tool is great, because if I select it, and drag a side or corner handle, it automatically scales it.
Now, in this case, it scaled it, but it did it disproportionally. It got wider; kind of stretched it out, which I think this artist would not be very happy with. So I am going to undo that, and instead, I'm going to hold down the Shift key while I drag. The Shift key is a shortcut for always constrain proportionally; makes sure the height and width is always proportional. But I have to tell you, I don't usually use the Free Transform tool. Why? Because I just use a Selection tool; plain old black arrow Selection tool.
This lets me do exactly the same thing, except I have to remember to hold down one modifier key: the Command key on the Mac, or Control key on Windows. If you hold down Command or Control, and drag a side or corner handle, then it will, once again, scale; does the same thing, just like the Free Transform tool. I better undo that, and instead, Command+Shift or Control+Shift. That scales it proportionally. Now, we are seeing the screen redraw kind of strangely here. That's just an artifact while we're scaling, and as soon as we let go, it goes away.
I really like that Command+Shift or Control+Shift, drag; that's honestly what I use almost all the time. That said, there is one other technique which is pretty useful, and that is to scale in the control panel. Up here in the control panel, there are two scaling percentages: the width, and the height. Next to them, there is a little link icon, and when that's turned on, which it is by default, the height and width will always scale proportionally. Before I use those, I want to make sure that the reference point is set properly. The reference point over here on the left side of the control panel tells InDesign where it should anchor, where it should not move, and everything else will scale around that point.
Right now, it's set to the upper right corner, which is just right for this image. So I'm going to come over here, and scale this to, let's say, 200%. Now, an interesting thing happened here; it scaled it up, but it still says 100%. What's going on there? Well, by default, when InDesign scales a frame, it always sets it back to a 100%. The image inside is not necessarily 100%. Remember, you can double-click on an image with the Selection tool to select the image inside the frame. The true value of this scaling, we can see in the control panel, is about 81% or 82%.
Double-click on the image again, and it goes back to the frame, and the frame is 100%. I am going to undo that, because what I want is for this image and this caption to be together exactly 7 inches wide. Now, you might think you could go to control panel, to this Width field, and type 7 inches. 7in, now hit Enter, but it doesn't really work, because that changes the width of the frame. It actually resizes the frame; not scales them. You can see that now the frame for this image is too big, and this caption got wider.
That's not what I wanted to happen. I want it to scale. So let's undo that, and try a different technique. Instead of scaling in the Width field, I'm going to go to the Scale field, and I am going to change that 100% to 7 inches. You can type 7in, or 7 with a double quote; either way works. That's a little bit strange; I am replacing a percentage with an absolute value, but it works, because when I hit Return or Enter, the whole thing gets scaled, so that I know that these two objects together make up exactly 7 inches wide, which I guess, according to that Width field, is 504 pixels. I didn't know that.
Of course, while you can scale your text and vector art all you want, scaling bitmap images, like this Photoshop image, has an effect on their quality. If you scale one of these images up, its resolution goes down. Scale it down, and the resolution goes up. It's just something to keep in mind when scaling objects on your page.
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