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Author David Blatner provides in-depth training on InDesign CS5, Adobe's print and interactive page layout application, 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.
When you import a picture unto InDesign using place or by dragging in a file from disk or Mini Bridge InDesign doesn't actually embed the image into your document. Instead you get a thumbnail preview of the image and a link to the file on disk. Now this happens to any image file, whether you import a PDF or JPEG or a TIF or whatever. So each of the images in this file is actually linked to a file on my hard disk, and I can see that by opening the Links panel. Over here in the dock I'll click on Links, and here's a list of all the images that are linked in my file.
If I click on one of these images, it's highlighted in the Links panel. I also get information at the bottom of the Links panel in the Link Info area. You can hide and show that by double clicking on the link image, double click on it once and it closes that Link Info, double click again, and it opens. Now this Link Info is very helpful because it gives you information about the name, the format, what page it's on, its color space, and on and on and on. It's especially helpful, because it gives you information like it's scaling, this image has currently scaled 6.3%.
So that kind of feedback is very useful when you're working with images in InDesign. I also want to point out these blue numbers in the right column up here in the top of the Links panel. These are page numbers, and in a long document they can really be helpful, because they tell you exactly what page these images are on. In fact, if you click on one of these, it takes you right to the image on that page. The Links panel is also very customizable, you can really customize it to the way that you work, the kind of information you most need in here.
I'll choose panel Options from the Links panel menu, and you can see here that you can turn on and off all kinds of information in two different columns. The Show in Link Info column lets you control what shows up at the bottom here in the Link Info area. The Show Column checkboxes let you control what shows up in the top part of the Links panel up here. So for example, if you really want to find that Scale information up here in a column you can get that information as well, just turn on that checkbox, click OK, and it's added here.
Now I can't see it, because it's too wide. So I am going to make this Links panel wider just by dragging the left edge out. But you can see now that every image in my document has a scale percentage next to it. If it's too narrow, I can also make this wider by dragging this little vertical area to the right of it. Notice that this image here says 5% by 7.5%. That is very helpful because it immediately give me feedback that the image was scaled disproportionately, it's not scaled evenly, horizontally and vertically.
So that kind of information once again is very, very handy when you're working in InDesign. Now as I said all of these images are linked to files on disk, but what happens if InDesign can't find those files or what happens if those files get modified. Well, let's take a look. I am going to open up a new InDesign document here inside my Exercise files folder, and I'm going to see that as soon as I do that InDesign warns me, watch out. There is one image in this file which is missing, and one which is modified. What should I do? Well, at this point I can update the modified links if I want to, but I rarely do, and the reason I rarely do is because I like to see them update on the page.
I like to make sure that the update is what I want to have happen. So I'm going to say Don't Update Links, it opens the document and now for this document I say the Links panel gives me some extra information. I see the names of files of course, but I also see this little icon, and this little icon, that means that the map image is modified. So the yellow triangle means it's modified, the stop sign with a question mark in it means that one is missing. So alert, alert, we must do something before we print or export a PDF, or at least we really should do something.
So let's go check those out, I'm going to click on the one here to jump right to the California map, and we can look at that. I am going to switch this to high quality display as well, so I can see this little clear. It looks good. Now if I want to update that, it's very easy. I select it in the Links panel and then I click the Update Link button in the middle of this Links panel, or I could go to Links panel menu and choose Update Link. Note that I also have the option to Update All Links. This is very useful if you open a document and you have like 30 links that are all modified for one reason or another.
You could update all of them quickly here. But in this case I am just going to update this one link, and we can see that well something changed about that. Whatever changed, I think this little thing moved down just a little bit. So that's good. We can see that we now are okay. There is no icon there, which means that everything is good about this file. So that's helpful. What about this file here, this taste of cal logo thing? Let's go take a look at what that is. There it is. It says Vector Artwork and it's missing. So what should we do? Well, we need to relink it to a file on disk, and the way we do that is to click on this Relink button, it looks like the little broken chain.
Or we can go to the Relink from the fly-out menu here. It opens this dialog box and it asked me to locate the file that was missing. Now I happened to know that it's here inside the Links folder, so I am simply going to select it, and then click Open. That's all it took. It found it, it relinked it. It comes in, it looks beautiful, and we're good to go. So what would've happened if I tried to print or export without relinking that image if it was missing? Well, InDesign would have simply used the low-resolution kind of pixilated version that you saw on screen.
So that would not make me a very happy camper. So it's really important that you go in there, and relink your files before printing or exporting. Now one more thing I want to show you about the Links panel. I can select an image here in the Links panel, and then choose Reveal in Finder from the Links panel menu, or on Windows it would be Reveal in Windows Explorer. I can also reveal it in Bridge or Mini Bridge, but in this case I'm simply going to reveal it in Finder. And this switches to the Mac Finder opens up the folder and chooses it on my desktop there.
This is a very helpful thing when you're trying to find an image and you are not sure way around your desktop that image came from. Now there are a lot of other tools and features in this Links panel and I am going to be covering many of those later in this chapter. But from now it's obvious that the Links panel is really something you want to keep your eye on.
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