We launched a new IT training category! Check out the 140+ courses now.

Learn it fast with expert-taught software and skills training at lynda.com. See what you can learn

By David Blatner | Thursday, March 01, 2012

InDesign Secrets: Creating automatic running footers with a text variable

In this week’s free InDesign Secrets movie, David Blatner shows you how to create running headers (or in this example, footers) that are automatically based on a variable you define. These footers are often used to help book readers get their bearings about which chapter, section, or subsection they might be reading. They’re also very handy and add a nice bit of navigational context for your readers, but let me tell you from my experience in book publishing, creating them can really be a quality-control project all by itself if you don’t use the right tools. For example, if the text upon which the running header or footer was created gets changed, or a new subhead is inserted during the editing cycle, the running footer information often gets separated from its parent text.

But as David demonstrates, telling InDesign that you want that footer to be based on a variable (for example, the last subhead that precedes it) means you never have to worry about updating the footer text if the subhead in question gets edited. You create these automatic running headers and footers by creating a text variable that basically tells InDesign: “Create this text based on the last subsection head you find and automatically plop it right here at the bottom of the right-hand page.” Once you learn InDesign’s language for doing this, your running headers or footers know what to do automatically. (The free tutorial video reveals a trick for getting InDesign to reflect your updated edits in the footer as well.)

Meanwhile, for members of lynda.com, David’s co-consipirator in InDesign secrecy, Anne-Marie Concepcion, has an exclusive video called Live Caption tips and tricks that discusses using InDesign’s Live Captions feature to automatically populate your caption fields with information directly from your image metadata.

You know, sometimes I’m wary of abdicating my work to the InDesign robots, but these two features are much better at overseeing tedious tasks in a consistent way than I am.

See you back here in two weeks with another InDesign Secrets tutorial from David and Anne-Marie.

Interested in more? • Every movie from the InDesign Secrets bi-weekly series • Courses by David Blatner on lynda.com • Courses by Anne-Marie Concepcion on lynda.com • All lynda.com InDesign courses

Suggested courses to watch next:• InDesign CS5 Essential TrainingCreating Long Documents with InDesign• InDesign Styles in DepthInDesign CS4: 10 Habits of Highly Effective Pros

Learn it from the experts.

With online video courses at lynda.com, you can reach your goals faster. Learn software, improve your skills, and get an inside look at how the professionals work.

See what you can learn


Share this article:

Tags: , ,

Get the latest news

  •   New course releases
  •   Pro tips and tricks
  •   News and updates
  
New releases submit clicked

You can change your email preferences at any time. We will never sell your email. More info

Featured articles

A lynda.com membership includes:

Unlimited access to thousands of courses in our library
Certificates of completion
New courses added every week (almost every day!)
Course history to track your progress
Downloadable practice files
Playlists and bookmarks to organize your learning
Become a member

Thanks for signing up.

We’ll send you a confirmation email shortly.


Sign up and receive emails about lynda.com and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

Keep up with news, tips, and latest courses with emails from lynda.com.

Sign up and receive emails about lynda.com and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

   
submit Lightbox submit clicked
Terms and conditions of use

We've updated our terms and conditions (now called terms of service).Go
Review and accept our updated terms of service.