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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.
Designers love adding guides to their pages to define zones and manage the space. Production folks love adding guides because it maintains consistency and helps layout pages fast. Whatever reason you want to add guides, InDesign lets you do it in a number of different ways. I've opened my Explore_California_Catalog file here from the Exercise Files Folder. I'm going to jump to the next spread by pressing Option+PageDown or Alt+PageDown in Windows. I'm going to add some guides to this page. I haven't finished laying stuff out here, and I'd like to lay it out consistently, using guides.
To add a guide to my page, I simply drag it out of a ruler. I'll move up to one of the rulers and click and drag out a guide. Notice that when I let go of the guide, it becomes a page guide. That is it extends only to the edge of this one page, not past it. If I click and drag a guide out and let go of it on the pasteboard, it becomes a pasteboard guide or a spread guide. That is, it goes past the edge of the page all the way onto the pasteboard. So this is very handy when you're trying to align things across multiple pages on a spread.
Now, whenever I start talking about guides, I always like throwing in lots of little guide tips and tricks, because there's all kinds of hidden stuff that you should know about when you're working with guides. For example, I'm going to drag out a new guide here and it's going to on the page, but I want it to be spread guide. So, how do I turn a page guide into a spread guide? I hold down the Command key or Control key on Windows. I'm on the page, but I'm getting pasteboard guide because I'm holding down the Command or Control key, alright. So, that's very handy. I'll move this down here so you can see this better.
I want to point out that there's a little measurement next to my cursor. It's giving me this weird measurement, 6 .4236 inches, which is kind of insane. I mean, do you really need it to be that precise? In general, I just want my guides to be at a rounded off number. Let's say 6 1/2 inches or 6 and an eighth inches, something like that. So, to snap your guides to the ruler tick marks, which are at, in this case 16th inch intervals, you can hold down the Shift key. Shift means snap it to a little tick mark in the ruler.
So, now I'm holding down Command and Shift, so I'm getting a pasteboard guide that is snapping to those measurements. So, there's 7 inch, we'll bring it down a little bit more, and I've got 7 and an eighth inch, and so on. Now when I let go off the mouse button, it snaps right to that position. So, I get a pasteboard guide at just the position I wanted. Here's another fun trick, you can add a guide by double-clicking in the ruler. So, for example, if want one around 8 inches, I could double-click in the ruler at 8 inches. But even better if I want it to be exactly 8 inches, I should Shift+Double-click on the 8-inch marker.
That way it snaps to that 8 inch tick mark in the ruler, and I know it's at exactly 8 inches. Now just because I added a ruler guide like this, it didn't select it automatically. This is an important that you need to keep in mind about guides. Guides are selectable just like regular objects. This guide that I just added is not selected. It's this bright cyan color. This guide up here that I dragged out earlier is selected and you can tell because it's a darker blue color. I can also tell that because up in the Control panel I can see that whatever is selected is at 7 and an eighth inches.
So, that's the one that's selected. To select this guide down here, the one I just made, I'll click on it and now it becomes selected and the other one is deselected. So, up here in the Control panel it says it's 8 inches down. There we go. So now that's selected. The fact that guides are objects in InDesign turns out to be incredibly useful. For example, if I want to select all three of these guides, I can simply Shift+Click on each of them. Shift+Clicking means select more than one thing at a time. Now, I can drag all of these at the same time. I can even move them up or down by pressing the Arrow keys on the keyboard to move them in small, tiny, little one-point increments.
So, I can fine-tune exactly where I want my guide to be. Or come up here to the Control panel and say I want the guide to be at 8 inches. So, we can see that the center of the selected guides is at exactly 8 inches. Now, the reason I'm putting guides on my page here is so that I can align objects to them. So for example, I'm going to grab this guide and drag it down to be aligned with the baseline of this text down here. I'm just working quickly here, but you get the idea. It's going to be more or less at the baseline of that text. I want this other text frame to be down at the same place as well.
So, I'm going to drag this lower center handle, I've clicked on that text frame, and dragged this lower center handle down, until it snaps right to that guide. So, guides are snappable. I can do the same thing by dragging this object, which is out on the pasteboard. I'll just click on it and drag it with my Selection tool out onto my page, until the bottom of it snaps to that guide there. Now what if I wanted it close to the guide, but not exactly on the guide? Well, I can zoom in. Let's go to 400%. Well that's a little too close. How about 200%? Command+2 or Ctrl+2 on Windows, I can zoom in here, and if I want to get close to a guide, but not exactly on it, I've got two options.
I could turn off guide snapping, which I could go to the View menu, go down to Grids and Guides, and then turn off Snap to Guides, and of course there's a keyboard shortcut to do that. But I rarely do that. The reason I rarely do that is because I know a shortcut. There is always a shortcut, isn't there? The shortcut is holding down the Control key, both on Mac and Windows it's the Control key. That tells InDesign to turn off snapping temporarily. So, I'm getting very close to it, but I'm not snapping to it, because the Control key is held down. There we go.
Now I'll let go. Now, you can see that it's close, but not snapped to it. Okay, let's zoom back out to fit spread in window with the Command+Option+0 or Ctrl+Alt+0, and I'm going to align this object with the top of this image over here. Then I'll resize that image, so that it snaps up here, and I'm going to, uh-oh. I've got a problem here. This guide is supposed to be a spread guide, but it's only a page guide. So, I can change it from one into the other by dragging it and then holding down the Command key. In this case I'll do Command and Shift, so it snaps to that tick mark.
Now, I've got a pasteboard guide. I'll drag this object down here, so it's snapped to the same guide. There we go. Now once I've created a bunch of guides on my page, I may want to use those same guides elsewhere in my document. I can do that in a number of ways including, copy and paste. Remember, guides are just like objects. So, I can drag over a bunch of these. And then I can copy them. I'll go to the Edit menu and choose Copy. Go to a different spread by double- clicking on, in this case pages 14 and 15. And then I'm going to paste them.
InDesign remembers the exact location of every one of those guides and places it in the same place on this new spread. Okay, just a couple more things that you might want to do with guides. Some people don't like the fact that all of these guides are the same color. That's okay. You can change the color to something else, if you want. The way you do that is by clicking on just the guide you want to change. So, I just clicked on that with a Selection tool. Then I'm going to right-click with a two-button mouse or Control+Click with a one-button mouse and choose Ruler Guides. Ruler Guides is a way to change the color of a selected guide.
I'll change this to something different, let's say Gold perhaps. Click OK. You'll see that nothing has changed yet, because it's still selected. So, I'm getting this dark blue color. But as soon as I click off of it to deselect that, now you'll see that it's orange or this gold color. The last thing I need to point out is how to get rid of some of your guides. Sometimes, you don't want to have all these guides on here. So, how do you get rid of them? Well, once again guides are just like Objects. So, to get rid of a guide, you simply click on it and hit Delete. It's as easy as that. You can delete it, just by pressing Delete.
If I want to get rid of all my guides, I simply select one of them, and then I'll Right-Click or Ctrl+ Click with a one-button mouse. Then I can choose from the context menu Delete all Guides on Spread. That's a fast way to get rid of all of them. Now, it will not remove the ones that were coming from a master page, like these guides up here were positioned there on the master page. So, InDesign won't touch those, but it does get rid of all the guides that I added to this document page. Guides are intuitive, they're easy to use and they really help you lay out a page quickly. So, really there's no reason not to use them.
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