InDesign CS5 Essential Training
Illustration by John Hersey

Using the Tool panel


InDesign CS5 Essential Training

with David Blatner

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Video: Using the Tool panel

It doesn't matter whether you're building a skyscraper or building an InDesign document, either way you need tools to do the work and you can find all of InDesign's tools in the Tool panel, here along the left edge of the screen. Let's go ahead and take a quick tour of our Tool panel and its tools, so that you'll be prepared to use them in the upcoming chapters. The first thing I want to point out is that the Tool panel is docked along the left edge of the screen, but you can pull it out and put it anywhere you want. To do that simply grab its title bar out and place it someplace else on the page.
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  1. 5m 50s
    1. Welcome
      1m 33s
    2. What is InDesign CS5?
      2m 26s
    3. Using the exercise files
      1m 51s
  2. 54m 49s
    1. Understanding the Application window
      6m 0s
    2. Navigating pages
      6m 39s
    3. Zooming and magnifying
      6m 57s
    4. Managing more than one document window
      3m 36s
    5. Setting rulers and measurements
      2m 9s
    6. Positioning panels correctly
      6m 28s
    7. Saving time by making workspaces
      3m 24s
    8. Setting the view quality of artwork
      4m 9s
    9. Adjusting View and Preview settings
      4m 56s
    10. Rotating pages and spreads
      3m 2s
    11. Displaying a new view with the New Window feature
      3m 29s
    12. Setting application and document preferences
      4m 0s
  3. 21m 31s
    1. Using the Tool panel
      8m 1s
    2. Learning and editing keyboard shortcuts
      6m 24s
    3. Working with spring-loaded tool shortcuts
      1m 17s
    4. Using contextual menus
      2m 51s
    5. Choosing menu items with Quick Apply
      2m 58s
  4. 45m 25s
    1. Creating new documents
      7m 28s
    2. Saving and reverting documents
      3m 41s
    3. Using multiple Undo and Revert
      4m 28s
    4. Setting margin and column guides
      5m 16s
    5. Using ruler guides
      8m 10s
    6. Bleeding colors or images off the side of the page
      4m 29s
    7. Saving objects in libraries
      4m 49s
    8. Exporting and importing page snippets
      4m 29s
    9. Saving for CS4 with IDML
      2m 35s
  5. 31m 18s
    1. Inserting, deleting, and moving pages
      7m 23s
    2. Changing page size
      6m 14s
    3. Adding page numbering
      3m 43s
    4. Changing page numbering with sections
      5m 58s
    5. Creating and applying master pages
      5m 20s
    6. Overriding master page items
      2m 40s
  6. 1h 21m
    1. Understanding text frames
      4m 6s
    2. Typing and editing text
      4m 36s
    3. Filling with placeholder text
      2m 38s
    4. Inserting special characters
      4m 43s
    5. Importing text
      7m 49s
    6. Threading text frames
      4m 1s
    7. Setting text frame columns and insets
      6m 32s
    8. Setting vertical justification and first baseline position
      6m 9s
    9. Putting text on a path
      6m 51s
    10. Using the Story Editor
      8m 43s
    11. Checking spelling
      7m 42s
    12. Using Find/Change
      9m 25s
    13. Tracking text changes
      8m 1s
  7. 49m 50s
    1. Importing graphics
      8m 11s
    2. Importing from Mini Bridge
      5m 27s
    3. Using the Links panel
      6m 34s
    4. Embedding links
      2m 37s
    5. Editing graphics in their original app
      3m 14s
    6. Fitting graphics to a frame
      6m 12s
    7. Taking advantage of image transparency and clipping paths
      4m 53s
    8. Adding live captions
      5m 56s
    9. Colorizing images
      2m 1s
    10. Turning image layers on and off
      4m 45s
  8. 46m 15s
    1. Selecting objects
      5m 32s
    2. Applying basic strokes and fills
      8m 18s
    3. Using advanced strokes
      3m 28s
    4. Adjusting transparency
      4m 38s
    5. Adding drop shadows
      6m 41s
    6. Applying feathering
      4m 25s
    7. Copying formatting with the Eyedropper tool
      4m 35s
    8. Finding and changing object formatting
      4m 50s
    9. Making polygons and starbursts
      3m 48s
  9. 22m 56s
    1. Making interactive documents
      2m 6s
    2. Adding hyperlinks
      5m 52s
    3. Building bookmarks
      3m 38s
    4. Creating buttons
      8m 57s
    5. Animating an object
      2m 23s
  10. 23m 15s
    1. Creating color swatches
      5m 52s
    2. The danger and power of unnamed colors
      4m 33s
    3. Building tint swatches
      2m 18s
    4. Creating gradient swatches
      3m 56s
    5. Applying gradients
      6m 36s
  11. 50m 0s
    1. Positioning objects with the Page Gap tool
      2m 53s
    2. Stacking objects
      2m 13s
    3. Creating and controlling layers
      3m 53s
    4. Managing objects in the Layers panel
      3m 37s
    5. Nesting objects
      2m 46s
    6. Editing frame and path shapes
      4m 6s
    7. Adding rounded corners and other corner options
      3m 57s
    8. Grouping objects
      3m 14s
    9. Locking objects
      2m 39s
    10. Aligning and distributing
      5m 43s
    11. Understanding text wrap
      8m 13s
    12. Using anchored objects
      6m 46s
  12. 18m 49s
    1. Duplicating objects
      5m 39s
    2. Rotating objects
      3m 3s
    3. Scaling objects
      3m 57s
    4. Mirroring objects
      3m 46s
    5. Using the Transform Again feature
      2m 24s
  13. 25m 52s
    1. Applying basic character styling
      7m 8s
    2. Applying advanced character formatting
      4m 54s
    3. Changing case
      2m 51s
    4. Understanding OpenType features
      3m 19s
    5. Using Find/Change for text formatting
      3m 18s
    6. Using Find Font
      4m 22s
  14. 45m 27s
    1. Applying formatting to a paragraph
      4m 14s
    2. Spanning a paragraph across multiple columns
      3m 5s
    3. Splitting a paragraph into multiple columns
      2m 1s
    4. Using drop caps
      3m 16s
    5. Adjusting text hyphenation
      3m 21s
    6. Fine-tuning justified text
      4m 19s
    7. Setting tabs
      5m 54s
    8. Aligning to a baseline grid
      4m 24s
    9. Controlling orphans and widows with Keep Options
      2m 39s
    10. Adding rules (lines) above or below a paragraph
      3m 14s
    11. Adding automatic bullets
      4m 39s
    12. Working with numbered lists
      4m 21s
  15. 31m 3s
    1. Creating and applying paragraph styles
      6m 34s
    2. Using character styles
      5m 43s
    3. Applying styles automatically with Nested Styles
      7m 19s
    4. Using object styles
      3m 27s
    5. Using Quick Apply with styles
      2m 49s
    6. Cleaning up a local formatting mess
      5m 11s
  16. 37m 0s
    1. Creating a table
      5m 54s
    2. Adjusting rows and columns
      6m 35s
    3. Formatting a table
      8m 5s
    4. Adding headers and footers
      1m 58s
    5. Applying table styles
      5m 32s
    6. Adding Microsoft Word and Excel tables
      8m 56s
  17. 10m 14s
    1. Checking your document with the Preflight panel
      2m 54s
    2. Creating a custom preflight profile
      4m 45s
    3. Checking color with the Separations Preview
      2m 35s
  18. 31m 6s
    1. Packaging for output
      4m 12s
    2. Using the Print dialog box
      10m 22s
    3. Exporting a PDF
      8m 47s
    4. Exporting an interactive PDF
      3m 59s
    5. Exporting text
      1m 36s
    6. Exporting SWF files
      2m 10s
  19. 1m 32s
    1. Finding more information and help
      1m 12s
    2. Goodbye

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Watch the Online Video Course InDesign CS5 Essential Training
10h 33m Beginner Apr 30, 2010

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

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.

Topics include:
  • Navigating and customizing the workspace
  • Managing documents and pages
  • Rotating pages and spreads
  • Adjusting and mixing page sizes
  • Overriding master page items
  • Putting text on a path
  • Threading text frames
  • Applying strokes, fills, and other formatting effects
  • Nesting, grouping, and locking objects
  • Formatting: character-level and paragraph-level
  • Packaging, printing, and exporting
David Blatner

Using the Tool panel

It doesn't matter whether you're building a skyscraper or building an InDesign document, either way you need tools to do the work and you can find all of InDesign's tools in the Tool panel, here along the left edge of the screen. Let's go ahead and take a quick tour of our Tool panel and its tools, so that you'll be prepared to use them in the upcoming chapters. The first thing I want to point out is that the Tool panel is docked along the left edge of the screen, but you can pull it out and put it anywhere you want. To do that simply grab its title bar out and place it someplace else on the page.

You'll see that it is a truly floating panel here, and the cool thing about this is we can change its orientation as well. Right now it's set up to a single column, but if I click this little double arrow it changes to a single row instead. Some people like that, because it matches the Control panel above better. You can kind of nudge that up to be right underneath the Control panel. If I click on the double arrows again, it becomes another configuration, two columns. Some people like this. It takes up more screen real estate, but you know, some people think it's a more pleasing layout. In these movies though, I'm going to leave it set to a single column by clicking on that double arrow one more time.

But I'm not going dock it into the left edge of the screen. I'm going to show you what I do on my personal system, because I just find it really efficient. I'm going to move it over until it gets to the right near the edge of the screen, and you'll see that it looks like its going to dock, but I'm going to force it not to dock there by holding on the Command or the Control key. This way its snaps to the edge, but does not dock. Now why would I want to do that? Well I like doing it that way, because I want to dock panels above it. And there's no way to dock a panel above or below the Tool panel when the Tool panel is docked there.

It's just a limitation in InDesign. So I force this to snap to the left edge, but I don't dock it there. And then I open up some other panel that I usually use. For example, I really like Mini Bridge. Mini Bridge is something I'm going to be talking about in some detail in a later chapter, but for now let's just go ahead and say I love Mini Bridge. I like using it a lot. I want to have it around, and I want to dock it to the left edge of my page. So I brought it up and I resized it, and now I'm going to simply bring it over here to the edge until it docks. And then I'll click on the double arrow to minimize it, and I'll minimize the dock even more by dragging it to the left until all I have is the icon.

So again, this is the way I do it on my machine, you don't have to do it this way. I just think it's very efficient to have the Tool panel down below, and then have other docked panels above it, so I can click on them and get to them when I want. So I have some docked over on the left, some docked on the right. Okay, let's go ahead and talk about the Tool panel and its tools, which is of course, what we're supposed to be talking about in this movie. Now the Tool panel is broken down into a number of different categories, although it's not immediately obvious what those categories are The first four tools are selection and object manipulation tools.

So for example, the first tool is the black arrow. It's technically called the Selection tool, and that lets you select and manipulate whole objects. You can move objects around, select them to delete them, or whatever. That's what the Selection tool is for. The next tool down is the Direct Select tool. That lets you select individual points on a path or individual objects that are nested inside of others. It lets you do a direct selection, just what you want to point to. So that's the white arrow. The next tool down is the Page tool, and this lets you select an entire page.

Even better, it lets you resize that page or move it on the pasteboard. I'll be covering that in more detail later on in this title. Now the fourth tool is the Page Gap tool. That's kind of like the Selection tool, but in reverse. Instead of focusing on the objects on your page, it lets you focus on the gaps between the objects. And I've got a whole movie on that. That's a cool tool. That's a new feature in InDesign CS5. The next collection of tools are the Object Creation tools. So for example, the Type tool, that's T is the Type tool.

That lets you create type frames, or it lets you create type inside of a frame. So that's the first Type Creation tool. I do want to point out that there's this little tiny black triangle in the lower right corner. That is important. That means that there are more tools hiding underneath this tool. And the way you get to those is by clicking and holding for just a moment or two, and you get this popup menu, which shows you the other tools. In this case the hidden tool is the Type on a Path tool, and that lets you place type on a path. But it's hidden.

A lot of people don't realize that it's under there. So now you know. Now there's tools for creating lines or Bezier Paths. If we click and hold on this, you'll see that there's the Pen tool. This is just like Illustrator's Pen tool. There are also similar tools that allow you add points, delete points, convert Bezier points. I'll be covering all of those in later movies. I just wanted to let you know that they are there. There is the Pencil tool and then underneath that the Smooth and Erase tools. These are all for doing free- form drawing within InDesign. If you have a really steady hand you can do that.

Next there are Frame tools. These are tools that let you make frames that you can put pictures into, graphics or other objects inside of. And there are actually two sets of tools here. There is a rectangle frame, the ellipse frame, and the polygon frame, and then just immediately underneath it there are the Rectangle tool, the Ellipse tool, and the Polygon tool. So a lot of new InDesign users wonder what is the difference? Why should I use one or the other? And the difference is really this. There's no difference at all, they're just frames. But these ones that have x's in them, by default have no stroke or fill.

So they're just frames without any drawing to them themselves. While the ones underneath, these tools down here, by default have no fill, but they do have a stroke. So that's the one difference that you need to keep in mind. Other than that there's really no difference. Okay next group, after the object creation is the Object Manipulation tools. For example the Scissor tool lets you slice a path anywhere you want, like if you have a long path and you want to slice it in half, you could use that. The next one down is the Free Transform tool, this lets you rotate an object, or scale it, or shear it, or move it.

It's a great tool for doing all kinds of transformations, and in fact, if I click on that and hold for a moment, I can see that there are individual tools underneath here for rotating, scaling, and shearing, but I rarely use those. I typically just stick with the Free Transform tool. Then there's tools for adjusting the gradient within an object. If you have a gradient fill or a grading stroke, you can change that gradient with the Gradient tool or with the Gradient Feather tool. The Gradient Feather is a way to blend transparency, not to another color, but to actually blend to transparency.

So that's what that tool is all about. Now the next group is sort of miscellaneous, there's the Note tool. The Note tool lets you add annotations inside any kind of text frame. The Eyedropper tool lets you copy formatting from one object or one piece of text to another. That's kind of helpful. Underneath there, there is a Measurement tool, which lets you measure objects. These are all sort of miscellaneous. They're really helpful, but you're just not going to use those quite as often. And then finally we have the Hand tool and the Zoom tool, and we covered those in earlier movies.

The ability to pan around your page or to zoom in and out of your page. At the bottom of the Tool panel there are some controls for changing the fill or stroke of any object that you have selected on your page. And in fact, down here there's this little fly-out menu that lets you apply a color a gradient or none, just fully transparent to any object that you have selected. And finally at the very bottom we have the Screen Display Mode, which gives you some controls about how things look on screen. We've already talked about this a little bit; the Preview Mode, the Presentation Mode, and so on.

So that's the Tool panel, and all the tools that are in it. But to me the coolest part of the Tools panel is that you can use all these tools, even if you close it by going to the Window menu and choosing tools. How? Well, every tool and feature in the Tools panel has an equivalent keyboard shortcut, and in the next movie we'll not only explore those shortcuts, but even look at how to make your own.

Find answers to the most frequently asked questions about InDesign CS5 Essential Training .

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Q: In the “Exporting to PDF” video, the author states "The flattener, and how to control it, is an advanced topic that I cover in a later title."
Is this “later title” available on yet?
A: Unfortunately that title is still in development. However, the features are exactly the same in CS4, so please see Chapter 11 in InDesign CS4 Beyond the Basics.
Q: Can an image be placed into a cell in InDesign?
A: Yes,  but only as an anchored (inline) object. Cut the frame with the Selection tool, switch to the Type tool, click in the cell, and Paste.
Q: Is it possible to load or import pages from one document to another in InDesign CS5?
A: Pages cannot be “loaded”, but they can be "pushed" from one document to another by choosing Layout > Pages > Move Pages.
Q: When I place an image, it is distorted or pixilated to the point of not being able to use it. I can place or open those same images in Photoshop or Illustrator and they are fine.
A: You are likely seeing the low-resolution preview. To see high resolution or vector artwork, choose View > Display Performance > High Quality.
Q: When I place an image, it is distorted or pixilated to the point of not being able to use it. I can place or open those same images in Photoshop or Illustrator and they are fine.
A: You are likely seeing the low-resolution preview. To see high resolution or vector artwork, choose View > Display Performance > High Quality.
Q: I'm looking for a tutorial that will allow me to use InDesign to create files that can be emailed. I guess they have to be converted to HTML first? Is that possible?
A: If you are trying to make an HTML email, then InDesign really isn't the tool for you. It's HTML abilities are extremely limited. Look toward Dreamweaver for that. Alternatively, you could create a layout in InDesign, then export the page as a JPEG image and put that in the email.
Q: Since I upgraded to the new version of InDesign, when I click the "edit original" button in the Links panel, the pictures open in Preview instead of Photoshop
A: "Here are two articles about this problem: 
Q: I cannot see files on the desktop when in InDesign.
A: If you are using the Mac OS, you may need to turn off Window > Application Frame in order to see files behind InDesign (such as those on the Finder Desktop). If you are on Windows, you are seeing a difference between Mac and Windows. In Windows, the application is always living inside the application frame. If you un-maximize the windows frame, you can drag it smaller so you see the desktop and drag to or from it.
Q: I am currently working on an InDesign document originally created in Spanish. I am translating it to English and I need to change the language preference to be able to use the spell check in English. I have changed it in Preferences, but when I go to do the spell check on the document it is still in Spanish. How can I change the spell check to English?
A: Changing the language in preferences does not change the document or text language. You need to change the langauge in the paragraph style or the character style or in the Character panel or the Control panel (select the text first).
Q: In the movie, "Inserting, deleting, and moving pages" the author claims you can Shift-click text and the red overset symbol (a plus sign) will disappear. This isn't working for me.
A: Shift-clicking to make text automatically flow to the next text box or boxes only works when you place text from a loaded cursor. Shift-clicking existing text will not affect it.
Instead, if the overset text symbol appears in an existing text frame, choose the Selection tool and click the symbol to load the text in your cursor. Then Shift-click inside the next text frame to start it auto-flowing from there.
Q: I want to add a 2-page spread following a 1-page spread, but when I insert two new pages, InDesign creates a 3-page spread. How do I solve this?
A: If you're seeing 3-page spreads, turn on Allow Document Pages to Shuffle (and Allow Selected Spread to Shuffle) from the Pages panel menu.
Q: The keys used for navigating to the previous or next spread in a layout (Command+Page Up/Command+Page Down) don't appear on my laptop keyboard and the arrow keys don't work. What keys should I use?
A: Most laptop keyboards don't have these keys anymore. Look for a "modifier" key (such as the Alt or Fn keys) to press to access these keys. For example, on a Macbook Pro, you'd press Command and then Fn+Up Arrow to invoke Next Spread.
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