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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.
Every object on your page is in a stack. Now for the more technically minded among you, this is also called the object's Z-order. For example every object has an X and a Y-coordinate on the page and also a Z-order, which describes which object is on top of which. For example, you can see this easily if we zoom in on the top part of this page. You can see that the word hansel & petal are both on top of this green ampersand. I'm going to press W to go into Preview Mode and that'll hide all those frame edges. That's a lot easier to see.
You can really see the order of these different objects now. InDesign offers a number of options for changing that stacking order. For example, I'll select that green ampersand there and I'll go to the Object menu and choose from the Arrange submenu. There are four options here, Bring to Front, Bring Forward, Send Backward and Send to Back. Let's start with the first, Bring to Front. You can see that it came all the way to the front of the stacking order. Now this object does have a little bit of transparency applied to it, so you can sort of see through it to that text underneath, but it is obviously sitting on top of all those other objects.
Now what if we want to put it behind the word hansel? Well, I'll go to the Object menu and choose Arrange and then choose Send Backward. Nothing happened, right? Well, it doesn't look like something happened but it really did. This is a very important thing to understand about stacking order. The stack of objects is spread wide. So when I moved it back a layer, it did move behind something but not necessarily what I wanted it to move behind. It may have moved it behind these objects over here, or maybe this text frame down here. I really don't know.
So in this case if it's important to me that the word hansel be on top of the ampersand. It's going to be more reliable to select that text frame, go up to the Object menu and choose Bring to Front. Now that's on top of the ampersand, the ampersand is on top of petal and I don't know the rest of the stacking order on this spread. So what would be really cool is if we could get a list of all the objects on the page in order so we could quickly see what's in front of what. Illustrator has actually had that feature for years as part of its Layers panel, and you know what? It's a brand- new feature in InDesign CS5 too.
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