Join David Blatner for an in-depth discussion in this video Managing more than one document window, part of InDesign: Beyond the Essentials.
I almost never work on just one document at a time, and if I didn't know how to manage my document windows well, it would be really overwhelming. Fortunately, InDesign has some great tools that you can use when dealing with lots of open files. Whenever you have more than one document open, InDesign combines them all as tabs inside a document window. It's just like how modern browsers like Chrome or Safari do it. For example, here we have our Roux catalog, a brochure, and a Roux article, all different documents inside a single window.
Just like a browser, they don't have to be in a single window, we can drag those tabs out to make multiple windows. There we go, there's our Roux article floating in its own window. If I click back here on either of these documents, that window disappears because it's behind the current document window. That's a little bit annoying, but you can always get it over here in the Window menu. Down at the bottom we see all the different documents that are currently open. But in my opinion there's an easier way to get that document, and that is to go to the Arrange sub-menu all the way here at the top of the Window menu and choose Consolidate All Windows.
That grabs all the open windows and consolidates them, pulls them together as tabs inside a single window. That's the way I like working in InDesign. It's just most efficient that way. On the other hand, if you have two screens on your system, you might want to drag one of these out and then move this document over on to the other screen, whatever works best for you. By the way, there's another way to get this document floating out here to be a tab inside this background window and that's just to drag it back in.
As I drag the title bar of this document up into this window, I see a blue bar, if I let go here, it becomes a tab inside that window. Now on the Mac you have to be a little careful about that blue bar, because there are two different kinds of blue bars depending on whether you have the application frame turned on or off. On the Mac, you can go to the Window menu and choose Application Frame, and when you do that, the entire application sits inside one big window. In Windows, you don't have that because you're always inside of an application window, that's just the way Windows works, but here on the Mac you can turn it on or off.
Now let's take a look at that dragging action. If I drag this document out into its own window, it floats just like before, but when I drag it back in, I get two different kinds of blue bars. This thick blue bar means make it a tab inside the document window. But if I drag a little higher, I get a blue bar that goes all the way across the top. That means, split this into two different windows, one on top and one below. They're both inside the Application Frame, but they're now tiled. I've got two documents down here and one up here.
There are several other ways that you can tile your documents in InDesign. Let's go to the Window menu, go to the Arrange sub-menu, and choose Tile. Now all the documents we currently have open will become tiled as a grid on our screen. If you have the Application Bar visible, and you can get that by going to the Window menu and turning on or off Application Bar, it's grayed out right now, because the Application Frame is turned on on the Mac, and when it's on, you always get that Application Bar. But anyway, when you have the Application Bar visible, you see this row of buttons and menus up here at the top of the screen.
And I'm going to go to the Arrange Documents menu and choose that, and you can see that some of these are grayed out, because they're not applicable. For example, we only have three documents open right now, so the 4x4 grid is simply not applicable, so it grays it out. But if I go over here to the 3-Up and choose that, now I get a different kind of tile. This kind of setup is really useful when you need to drag an object from one document to the next. For example, maybe I want this graphic over here in this document on the left.
I'll grab it, drag it over, and let go. And it copies it from one document to the next. But this layout is not very good when I'm trying to work on a single document. So I'm going to go back to Window, Arrange, and choose Consolidate All Windows, and I'm back in business. Finally, I want to tell you the most important trick when working with more than one document at a time in InDesign, and it's a keyboard shortcut, Command+tilde or accent. That's the key over to the left of the 1, at least on the US keyboard.
Command+tilde on the Mac or Ctrl+tilde on Windows means jump to the next document. Each time you hit that, it jumps to the next document that's open. Add the Shift key, so Command+Shift+tilde or Ctrl+Shift+tilde on Windows, goes backward. Now obviously moving from one document to the next is not the most exciting feature in InDesign, but if you're working with lots of documents, it's a really important skill to master.
- Setting preferences
- Working with parent and child master pages
- Adding alternate layouts
- Exporting and importing page snippets
- Tracking text changes
- Choosing other languages
- Aligning to a baseline grid
- Applying styles automatically with nested and line styles
- Embedding links
- Turning image layers on and off
- Using the Pathfinder and compound paths
- Power scaling and spacing