Join David Blatner for an in-depth discussion in this video Formatting and positioning guides, part of InDesign CS4 Beyond the Basics.
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Now I am not one of those designers who loves putting 50 guides on every page but I do recognize the value of a few well-placed guides. In order to speed up production and encourage consistency. And although guides are pretty easy to use in InDesign, I want to show you a few tricks for working with guides that can make them even easier and more helpful for you. I am going to start by just dragging a guide out of this Vertical Ruler here and I would like to snap that to the left edge of this text frame, the one there that says 2009. New in CS4, I see two things. First of all, a little gray box next to the cursor that shows me exactly where the guide is going to be when I let go of the mouse button. The second thing is that when I get near an object that's on the page, it snaps right to it. I love that feature. Now I am going to drag out another one and put it against the right edge of that frame. Snap, perfect.
When I de-select that guide by clicking up here in this white area, I can see that they are both colored bright cyan, which is fine but I find it a little bit distracting because it's too close to the other colors on my page. So I would like to change the color of those guides. I can do that by selecting them and then right clicking on them or Ctrl-click with one button mouse and I will choose Ruler Guides. This lets me choose two things - the View Threshold and the Color. First I will pick a different color let's say Pink. That's different than everything else on my page and I will OK. Now when I de-select those guides, you can see that they are in fact pink but what was Threshold? What was that all about? Let's select them again, come back to Ruler Guides and change the Threshold Amount.
Threshold means how far do I need to zoom in, in order to see my guide? Right now it's set to 5% so that means if I am zoomed in any more than 5% which I am pretty much all the time, then I am going to see the guide. But if I set this to something let's say 75% it means that I have to be 75% or closer in on a document in order to see the guide. I will click OK, click off there and we can see the two pink guides. Looks just great but if I zoom back with the Command+Minus or Ctrl+Minus on Windows back to 75%, I still see them. And back again, they disappear. Look at that. They are gone because we are now at 50%.
I can see that up here in the Document Tab. 50% is too far back to see the guides but as soon as I zoom in again, I will go back to a 100%. Now I can see the guides. I like that Threshold feature because that means I can have different guides that show up or not depending on my zoom level. Okay let's add a few more guides here. I am going to drag out a Horizontal guide and I am going to hold on the Shift key this time and as we learned in the Essential Training title, that snaps the guide to the nearest tick mark in the ruler over here. So as I am dragging, it snaps to those guides. I put this one at 4p6 let go and I would like to have a few more guides on my page maybe 10 millimeters between each one of them, so while that is still selected, I will go to the Edit menu and choose Step And Repeat and I will say I want this to be let's say four more of them and why don't I make this ten millimeters down. Click OK, there we go. I know I have a total of five guides each exactly 10 millimeters apart. Very, very handy.
Now another thing I like to do with guides is put them on their own layer. So why don't I go ahead and create a New Layer. Go to Layers menu and I am going to Option-click or Alt-click on the New Layer button so I can name it. I will call it 'guides'. Click OK. Now when I put all my guides up on that layer. How do you select all the guides on your spread? What is the keyboard shortcut? A secret shortcut. Command+Option+G or Ctrl+Alt+G selects all the guides on your spread. Now that those are selected, I can drag them all up on to my Guides layer in one move.
I like putting guides on layers because it means I can turn them on and off very easily or select just the guides when I need to. For example, I will turn off layer one and I will drag over all of these horizontal guides just with one swoop without having to worry about, am I accidentally selecting other stuff in the background? Now I will change this to a different color. Again right click, go to Ruler Guides and I will change this to something different maybe Orange. Click OK and turn the layer back on. So now I have Pink guides, orange guides and all the other objects on my page. If I don't want to see the guides, just hide them. Hide the whole layer and they disappear.
Now the one last thing I wanted to show you about guides is that you can Copy them to other spreads. I love this feature. I am going to select all the guides on this layer and I can do that by Option-clicking or Alt-clicking on the layer itself. That's just a little shortcut to select all the objects on this layer, doesn't matter if they are guides or other objects or whatever. In this case, they are all guides and not layers so let's just select them all and then I will copy them with the Command+C or Ctrl+C on Windows. I will go to the last page in this document by clicking on the Last Page button in the lower left corner and then I am going to Paste them. De-select them and you can see, they all show up, the pink guides, the orange guides, they are all an exactly the same location on this page as they were on the previous page. So guides are great but just because you can put a few 100 guides on the page doesn't mean that you should. Keep it simple, keep it focused, so that the guides that you do use can do their job for you.
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