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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.
Want to fine-tune your strokes? No problem. While the Control panel lets you adjust the width and style of a stroke, for the ultimate stroke control, you need the strokes panel. I'm going to zoom in on this portion of the page, just so I can see the strokes up close and personal. I'm going to open the stroke panel over here in the dock. I'll select this little backward L- shaped object, because I'm going to change the stroke of that. Right now, we have a one-point white stroke, the paper colored stroke applied to that, and I'm going to make this thicker about five points.
Now the stroke panel lets me do all kinds of things to strokes. For example, I could change the Type to Thick - Thick. So I have two equally thick lines in there with a gap running down the middle. That gap color is currently none. It's transparent. I can see through it. I can change that if I want to, to any other color in my Swatches panel by changing the Gap Color pop-up menu. Here it is. Right now, it's None. Let's change it something like green, this light green color. I can even change the Gap Tint of that color to something -- let's make it even lighter to a 50% green.
So that's looking kind of interesting. Let's go ahead and add an arrowhead on the end of it. You can add an arrowhead by choosing from the Start and End pop-up menus. In this case, I want to put an arrowhead at the end, so I'll choose it out of the End pop-up menu. You have a number of different arrowheads to choose from. I'm just going to choose this Curved version. There it is. Now, it's looking a little bit too big there. I'd better make the weight smaller. The arrowhead size is based entirely on the weight of the stroke. I'll bring this down to three points.
As you can see, the arrowhead got smaller too. I can add something different to the beginning of the stroke if I want to. There is a number of different options here, bars and more arrows and so on, let's just choose the Square just because kind of a wacky look. To look at some of the other features in the stroke panel, I'm going to zoom in even closer, so I can really see edge here, that corner. Right now, it's a very sharp edge. You might cut yourself on that corner if you get too close. I can change that by changing the Join value.
Right now, it's the sharp-edge join, but if I click on the second one, you'll see that it changes to be a little bit softer, to soft edge, a rounded corner join, or a beveled corner join. Those are the three options you have inside of InDesign. Joins always have to do with sharp-edge corners. I'll use the rounded corner a little bit here. The other options in here, such as Align stroke are easier seen on a closed object. So I'll zoom out here just so we can see this object here. I'm going to double-click on to select the one petal of that leaf and zoom back in.
Now this shape is actually a mathematical curve. It's a Bezier curve and I can see it by switching to the Direct Selection tool, the White Arrow tool. You can see that there's a mathematical curve there and then a stroke placed on top of that curve. Let's make this a little bit thicker, so you can really see the difference. There's three points. Now right now, the stroke is centered on the curve, but I can change that by changing the Align stroke buttons here. Right now, it's set to center, but I can set it to the inside of that curve or the outside of the curve.
So you can see that you have a lot of control over all the different aspects of the strokes on your objects in InDesign. And you probably won't need the strokes panel for every job, but when you need it, it's really good to know that these features are all there.
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