InDesign CS5 Essential Training
Illustration by John Hersey

Using ruler guides


InDesign CS5 Essential Training

with David Blatner

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Video: Using ruler guides

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.
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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 ruler guides

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.

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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