Join Anne-Marie Concepción for an in-depth discussion in this video Working with the Conveyer tool, part of InDesign CS6 New Features.
A common task for many InDesign users is to create a new document by repurposing some assets or content from old documents. Like, for example, I have here the course catalog for the Roux Academy of Art and Design open, a few spreads in the latest catalog. I also have a page from their brochure. What I want to do is create a poster. So I have a new document that has this in the background on the master, and I want to take some of those images and text from those other documents and put them here and then start arranging them.
Now, I could just come over here and copy and paste and put them all like in the pasteboard, but because I'm using CS6, I can use this cool new Content Collector tool. That's this tool that is new in CS6. The keyboard shortcut is B. So I am just going to click this, or I could press the letter B, and you'll see that what opens up is called the Conveyor. I'm now in a new mode of InDesign, where if I move my cursor over an object, it becomes highlighted in a color of the layer that that object is sitting on.
And if I want to copy this, I don't need to actually press Command+C or Ctrl+C; I could just click it and it gets added to the conveyor. So it's kind of like just browsing a store and adding things to your shopping cart. I can just go through this document page by page and select different items to add. I am going to move this over and add this here, and maybe I'll add this here. Let's go to the brochure, so you can move from document to document and the stuff stays here.
It stays here until we actually close these documents. Even if I switch to a different tool and then did something, and then when I come back to the Content Collector tools, it's remembering what was here. I'll grab this and maybe this guy as well, and now let's go to our poster. So, how do we get the items from here onto the poster? You don't drag and drop; you actually just switch tools to the next one. So if I press B again, you'll see that it's a toggle between collecting and distributing.
So this one is called the Content Placer tool. Watch the arrow above the icon in the toolbar. That's called the Content Collector tool when it's pointing down into the little bucket, and the other one is the Content Placer tool. You see that they also switch at the bottom of the conveyor. So when you want to place the stuff that's in your conveyor, switch to the Content Placer tool, and when you put your cursor on the screen, you'll see that the place gun is loaded with a thumbnail of what you're about to place. So this is exactly the same as though you'd gone to File > Place and then Shift+Clicked a number of items to place it once, the multi-file place that's been around for a couple of versions.
So to place it then I simply just click as I'd normally would, or I can also press and drag. And you'll see that as I place things, they get removed from the conveyor and they get placed on here, just like a regular place gun. Now, if I want to switch to a different item, I can just use my left and right arrow keys and you'll see the preview thumbnail appear by my cursor. Let me move over here so it's easy to see. And also it becomes highlighted in the conveyor. Now, to get out of the Content Collection mode, just press any key or choose any other tool.
I usually end up pressing the V key, the shortcut for the Selection tool, which brings me back there. If I press the B key again, the Content tool, it remembers where I was and what was loaded in my cursor. You may be tempted to press the Escape key to get out of this mode, but Escape just actually deletes the item that's about to be placed from the conveyor. So instead, press any other key as a way to get out of there, or just select a different tool. So I just showed you how you can click on things one at a time. You can also click on multiple items at once.
So I'm going to come back here to the catalog, and let's come back here to the spread. And now I want to press the B key to wake up the Content Conveyor again. And this time I'm going to just drag with my cursor, but notice that my cursor is the wrong one. Right now, I'm still in Content Placer mode. It's remembering that. So I'm just going to press the B key again to switch back to the Content Collector tool and now I'm going to drag over these items. When you drag over multiple items, it's called creating a set.
And it has created a set right here, and you can see it puts a little number here saying that there are four items in this set. Now, let's go back to the poster and see how that works. Right now, I still have the man with the camera loaded, and I'm going to press the B key to switch from the Content Collector to Content Placer. And I want to go to that set that I just did, so I'm going to press the right arrow key. And now it shows me that I have five items loaded here, and if I just click once and drag, you'll see it's going to place what I had dragged over without having to group it first, which I think is pretty cool.
So if you drag over a selection of items with the Content Collector tool, it's going to remember their arrangement when you use the Content Placer tool, put it back on another page in that same document or a completely different document. I'd like to try this again, so if I press Command+Z or Ctrl+Z--and I'll switch back, just by using the right arrow key to get that group, that set loaded-- this time instead of just dragging to maintain the same relationship between the multiple objects, I'm going to invoke Gridify, just like you can invoke Gridify when you have multiple place items loaded in your place gun.
And with Gridify, as you start dragging, you press the up or down or right or left arrow keys and you can see that here I can actually arrange these items in a grid. So I am adding multiple rows, multiple columns just by pressing the up arrow key and the right arrow key. This is from CS5, so that's nothing new, but it's kind of cool that the Content Conveyor toolset also works just like multiple place. So, for example, if you know how to do things like Live Distribute, you can do that here as well.
I am going to undo again to get that set back, and let me show you something else that you can do with the set. So right now I don't have the set loaded. I'm going to press the left arrow key to load that in my tool. And now let's say that I just want to place a single item from that set. I can press the down arrow key, and now I am actually looking at the multiple items in my set. Now, watch again. Watch the conveyor. I'll press the up arrow key and there is the set and the four individual items. The set is currently highlighted. I press the down arrow key, and it's sort of like I'm going down into this subfolder in this set.
And now, let's say that I just want the guy sitting at his desk, so I am going to press the right arrow key and place that guy. And now I'm going to press the up arrow key to get back out of the set and there are my individual items. You don't have to have the conveyor open, by the way, when you're using these tools. You can click the X to close it and you can also go to the View menu, go to Extras, and choose Hide Conveyor, or press Option+B or Alt+B and that will hide it. So if you happen to remember what you have loaded, you can still use it.
I am using the right and left arrow keys to move back and forth between what I have loaded. Or I can press the B key to switch back to Content Collection mode and grab something else, like maybe this, and this down here, and this over here. So now there are eight items in my conveyor. And if I want to show the conveyor, I just press Alt+B or Option+B again to make it live. Now, let me show you just a few more things in this conveyor belt, I guess you'd call it.
When you place items--let me switch to this tool--you can choose whether or not to link those objects, and you can choose if it's text. You can choose whether you want to map styles so that if you had collected a text frame that had a style called headline and when you placed it in the new document, you want headline to map to article title style, you could set that up here. I am going to have a different video that talks about mapping styles and about linking objects. Then these three items are different ways of using the conveyor. This one is the normal way that we've been using it, which is after you place it, it gets removed from the Conveyor and the next item is loaded.
So that's the way that we're all familiar with. But you can also use it in this mode, simply by clicking on this mode, which means that the item stays in your place gun. And you can place the same item multiple times, like say a logo or a picture or a dingbat, multiple places in your document without actually deleting it. And then the last one is Place. Keep in the conveyor, but don't keep it loaded, just go on to the next item. I'm not quite sure when you'd use these different modes, but I'm sure that you're going to find a reason to. A couple of other things that you can use these arrow tools to move from previous to next, if you're not a fan of the arrow tools on your keyboard. This is a series of threaded frames.
If I just want one frame, I would click here, but if I wanted all threaded frames, I turn this on first and then I click again and then it collects actually all the stories. Then the last item is to load the conveyor. So you can use a dialog box rather than clicking, if you'd like. So if you choose that button, you'll see the Load Conveyor dialog box that lets you load the selection, if you had had a selection when you opened up the Conveyor tools. It lets you automatically load everything from certain pages or all the pages, or you could say All Pages Including the Pasteboard Objects.
Now, they would all load as individual items unless you wanted them as a single set. So this would be an interesting way to, for example, to collect everything on a certain page as a set. So the Content Collector tools and the Content Conveyor is a big new feature in CS6, and like all the other new features, it is designed to save you from the tedium of multiple clicks and arranging and copying and pasting onto pasteboards and so on. It's the way to streamline your work and reusing content from other documents into a new document.
- Working with the Conveyor tool to link objects and map styles
- Applying Liquid Layout rules
- Using flexible columns
- Creating auto-sized text frames
- Accessing recently used fonts
- Fitting frames to more types of text content
- Exporting to EPUB 2 and 3 using new controls
- Inserting HTML and Edge content into a layout
- Creating a PDF form with interactive text, radio, and checkbox fields
- Mapping text styles in linked objects