Adding live captions

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Adding live captions

One of the most frustrating aspects of laying out a document with a lot of images is managing all the captions, like copyrights or image titles. It's especially painful when you need to swap one image for another just before a deadline. But fortunately, InDesign CS5 has an amazing new feature that can automate this. Well, at least to some degree. The feature is called Live Captions. Let me shoe you how it works. I want to select this image on the right side of this page and zoom in to 200% with Command+2 or Ctrl+2 on Windows.

I'm going to go up to the Object menu and down to the Captions submenu. Here, I will choose Generate Live Caption. There is my caption right underneath the image, Arial acrobatics - a pelican dives for fish. Somehow, it knew what that image was. Isn't that cool? Now when it did this, it actually put it in a new text frame. I'm going to make that text frame a little bit bigger. I'm going to apply some formatting from my Object Styles panel. I'll talk about Object Styles in a later chapter, but they're really easy.

I'm just going to select that text frame, open the Object Styles panel and click on the caption box style. You can see that it formats that for me. It's just a little bit easier to read. That's why I did that. Now that was cool, but here is even cooler part. I'm going to select that image again and replace it with a new image. I'll press Command+D or Ctrl+D on Windows and I'll type in the first few letters of my name. I want this conservatory.jpg and I do want to replace the selected item with my conservatory image. There we go. I'm going to click Open, in comes the image and what happened to my caption? It updated.

Ah! That's incredible! I love that! But wait, there's more. I'm going to select that text frame again and move it up. I'm moving it off this image on top of this image over here. Now, I'll pan down. You can see once again the caption updated. This is truly a live caption. But as I asked earlier, how did it do it? Where is that information coming from? Well, each of these images has been given some metadata, what's called XMP Metadata, and it was added in Adobe Bridge. You can add it in Bridge or in Photoshop.

It's called File Info and every file can have its own file info. Once that file info is added in Bridge, InDesign can read it and put it into a text frame. Now, I should point out here that once I make one of these captions, I cannot edit this text. I'll double-click on this to switch to the Type tool and I will show you that I can't even select the text. If there is a chance that I will need to edit this text, it's better to use not a live caption, but a static caption. Let me show you what I mean. I'll press the Escape key to move back to the Selection tool.

I'm going to move this one back down here. On this image, I'm going to add a static caption. Here's how you do it. Back to the Object menu, Captions, and I'm not going to generate a live caption, I'm going to generate a static caption. There we go! There is the same thing. I'll make it little bit bigger, add my caption object style, looking pretty good. It looks like the same thing, but if I double-click on this to switch to the Type tool, you'll see that it's actually editable text now. So, I can change it to anything I want, maybe I want to just remove all of that so it just has Coit Tower.

So, that's the main difference between Static Captions and Live Captions. Now, let me show you how to tell InDesign what part of the Metadata to grab. I'll press Escape again to switch back to the Selection tool. I'll select the image. I'll go back to the Object menu. In Captions, I'm going to choose Caption Setup. Right now, the Caption Setup dialog box is set up to choose the Description Metadata, whatever is in the Description field of the Metadata. But I could change this to anything I want. For example, I'm going to pick Copyright.

Just to be clear, the image has to be set up already from Photoshop or Bridge with the Copyright data. But in this case, the image is. I'm going to grab that Copyright data and I'm going to put it into my own caption. I'm going to actually type the word Copyright space, and then I'm going to put the Copyright data there. I'm not going to put it below the image. I'm going to put the Copyright data to the right of the image. It'll end up in the lower right corner of the image. I'm going to offset it a little bit, maybe just two points. In other words, I want my caption to be on the right side of the image, about two points away from the edge of this frame.

When I make the caption, I'd like to apply a Paragraph Style called copyright. Again, I'll be covering paragraph styles in a later chapter, but for right now, in this document at least, you can see that I've created one called copyright. That's what's going to be applied to my caption. I'll click OK and it does not make a caption yet for me. That's a separate command, but I can right-click on this image, go down to Captions and choose Generate Live Caption. I'll zoom in on this even more, so you can really see it. There is my Copyright. There is the text I typed.

There is the copyright information that came out of the Metadata for this image. Now, what happens if I drag that away from the image a little bit? Let me zoom back here, so you can really see this better. You'll see that it says <No intersecting link > because the caption no longer knows what it's talking about. You must have at least the edges touching the image for this to work. I can put it on top of the image or I can put it so that it's just barely touching the edge. But if the edge is touching, then the Caption knows that it's talking about this image.

If I have to have it way out here for some reason, there is a way for me to tell this Caption that I'm talking about this image, and that is to select the Caption and then I'll Shift+Click on the image to select the image as well. Then I'm going to Shift+Click on the Caption down here, because I want that as part of my group too. Then I'll go to the Object menu and choose Group. When I do that, the caption updates. Because the caption says ooh! I'm part of a group, so I must be referring to the image in that group. It's as simple as that. When you're working on a deadline, you have to be efficient.

Making these kinds of labels for images can save you an enormous amount of time and save you from a big headache if you need to make last-minute changes.

Adding live captions
Video duration: 5m 56s 10h 33m Beginner


Adding live captions provides you with in-depth training on Design. Taught by David Blatner as part of the InDesign CS5 Essential Training

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