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Most of InDesign's features live in its panels and there are a lot of panels in this program. For example, here is the Pages panel and the Layers panel, and the Links panel, and since you're going to be looking at these panels a lot, you should know how to manage them efficiently. By the way, the word panels is kind of new and many people still call these palettes, so if you hear someone say palette, maybe I'll say palette, maybe sometimes it sneaks out, just smile and know that panels and palettes are the same thing.
Okay, when you first open InDesign, you see a list of panels along the right side of the screen and these panels all live in something called the dock. If I go to the Window menu I see a list of all my other panels, for example, I might want to use my Text Wrap panel, so I'll choose that and we'll see that this panel is now floating. I can move panels anywhere I want when they're floating. I can move it over to the left side of the page or the right side of the screen and so on, just by dragging the tab or the gray area at the top of the panel. I can even move it over to the right side and put it into the dock, and you do that by dragging it until you see a little blue line, the blue line means it's going to go here.
So I let go of it and now we can see the Text Wrap panel is docked. I'll click on it to open it and click on it to close again. If you find yourself using a panel often, you should definitely put it over in the dock, so it's easy to get to. Here are a couple of other things about panels that you should know about. First of all there's a double-headed arrow at the top of the dock and when you click on that it opens all the panels, so you can see them. Some people like that kind of thing. For example, I'll click on the Color tab and it opens the Color panel right there in front of me, that way there is no fuss of having to open and then close it again.
On the other hand I find that to be just kind of waste of space on the screen, so I'm going to click that double-arrow again and put it back into this mode where I just see the names. In fact, I don't even need to see the names, because after you've been using InDesign for more than two weeks, you're going to know what all these icons are. That's the Text Wrap panel icon, that's obviously the Color Swatches icon, and so on. So I don't need to see the names and I can hide them by dragging the left edge of the dock to the right. I'll simply place my cursor over that gray line and drag it to the right, until the names go away.
Now I just see the panel icons, which I just find a much more efficient use of screen real estate. Now, granted, sometimes I want those panels to be floating instead of in the dock, and I can do that by opening them and then dragging the tab out of the dock and onto the screen again, now it's floating. There is the Links panel and the Layers panel and the Pages panel, and so on. I could drag all of these out if I want. I can even make these little floating minimized versions if I want and then click on the double-arrow to expand it.
Positioning your panels is all about finding what you need as quickly and easily as possible but you'll find that you need different panels open at different times, when you're working with the text you need certain panels open, and when you're using interactive elements, you need different panels open. Fortunately InDesign has a feature called Workspaces, and you'll find the workspaces up here on the right side of the application bar, right now it's set to Essentials. If I click on that I can choose a different workspace and InDesign ships with a number of workspaces built in. For example, Advanced.
Advanced is not really advanced, it just shows a different set of panels on the screen. Now when I go back to the Essentials workspace, you'll see it's exactly the way it was when I left it, but this is kind of a mess, so I'd like to clean it up. So I'm going to go back to the Workspace menu and choose Reset, reset means put it back to the way it was when it was first created, when this workspace was fresh. There we go, back to its original form. Okay, so once you have your panels set up just the way you want them, you're going to want to turn your focus to your document and how to control, how InDesign displays artwork and page items.
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