- [Nigel] Hi, I'm Nigel French. Welcome to Type Tips Weekly, and in this episode, I want to show you how to auto generate captions. So, I want to be able to select the image and then press a button and have it automatically generate captions using the images' metadata. If I come to my starting document, we have the images without captions. First of all, on the paste boards, I just want to show you the basics of how this works. There is a certain amount of setup involved, and if you only have a few images, then it's not going to be worth your while, but if you have a very image heavy document, your investment in the setup will really payoff.
So, first of all, we need to make sure that we have usable metadata, and to do that, I'm going to select the image, come to my links panel, where I see the image listed, and then I'll right click and choose reveal in Bridge. Here, in Bridge, I'm on the metadata panel. Specifically, I'm looking at the IPTC Core metadata, and here, in the description field, I have entered the caption, and I've done the same for the other two images.
Now, you might think, "Well, how is that saving me time? "Why don't I just enter that information "into the InDesign document?" Well, it can be time saving to separate out the tasks of image captioning and layout, but most importantly, that metadata is going to travel with the image wherever it is used, so if you plan on using the same image in different publications, that metadata caption will be there for you to call upon whenever you need to.
The next piece of setup is to come to the object menu and to captions, and then to caption setup. Now, here, you can have, optionally, text before and, or after the caption. I don't need either of those, but crucially, I need to specify what type of metadata I'm using, and I'm using description. I choose the position of the caption, and I have entered in a negative offset amount to actually move the caption on top of the image.
I have a paragraph style already set up for my captions, and I can choose to apply that to the generated captions, and I can also choose to assign their text frames to a layout, and I already have a layout setup, and I've called it captions. For that reason, I'm not choosing group caption with image because I specifically want the captions to be on their own layer. Now, conspicuous by its absence in this dialog box is the ability to apply an object style to the text frames that are generated.
That would be a really nice enhancement to this feature, but I'll show you how we can do that as a separate step. So, with the captions setup taken care of, we then need to select the image, or images, come to the object menu and choose captions, and we can generate a live or a static caption. A live caption will update if the metadata is changed, which sounds like a good reason to use it, but the problem is that because it is essentially a text variable, the lines do not break.
If the line runs long, then it won't break. For that reason, I favor static captions. You'll notice that there are keyboard shortcuts applied to them, and I have added keyboard shortcuts to them using the keyboard shortcuts dialog box, and I suggest you do the same to really make this feature as time saving as it can be. So, I'll go ahead and generate my static caption, and you'll see that it ends up on my image.
It has the right paragraph style applied to it, and incorporated into that paragraph style, I have some shading, so that the black text reverses out of a white box, but the placement is off, so that's something that I need to control through my caption object style, and if I apply the object style, then my caption is placed in the right position relative to the image, and you'll see that it is on the captions layer.
So now, I want to apply captions. Now that we've seen the basics of how it works, I'll come and delete this example on the pasteboard, and show you how we can apply the captions to all of the images in our document. There is a problem, and the problem is that this document uses text wraps around the images, and these text wraps are very important. They're an integral part of the layout.
That is going to make it impossible to place the caption frame on top of the image. So, for that reason, and here is the workaround, I need to come to my object styles. I have an object style applied to each of these pictures, which determines the fitting, but also adds the text wrap. I need to come and edit that style and turn off, just temporarily, turn off the text wrap.
So, we now have the text running over the images. Next, I'll come to the links panel, and this is the really impressive part about this feature, and imagine how time saving this could be if you have 10s, scores, or even 100s of images. On the links panel, I will select the three images and then right click, come down to captions, and choose generate static captions.
So, that will generate captions for as many images as I had selected. At this point, I can come to my object styles, and I can restore the text wrap. I'll edit the field pick object style, come to text wrap, and turn it back on. Now, I need to adjust the placement of the caption text frame, so that if it's exactly the way I want it to on the picture, and I do this through the application of the caption object style.
While this isn't completely automated, it's pretty quick. I can come to my layers panel and click on the square to the right of the name of the captions layer. That selects everything that's on that layer, and then I can come to my object styles and apply the caption object style. Move to the next page, and repeat. Select the contents of that layer, come to my object styles, and apply the caption object style.
So, that is how we can auto generate captions and apply an object style to the resulting caption text frame. Now, admittedly, there is a lot of setup involved, but once that setup is taken care of, you can really begin to save a lot of time when using this feature.