Join David Blatner for an in-depth discussion in this video Positioning panels, part of InDesign CS4 Essential Training.
Most of InDesign's features live inside its panels and there are a lot of panels in this program. They all live up here in the Window menu. All of these things are different panels in InDesign. Well since you are going to be looking at these panels a lot, you should know how to manage them efficiently. By the way, the word panels. Some people call them palettes, some people call them panels. If you hear me or someone say palette, just smile and know that panel and palettes are the same thing. Now when you first open InDesign, you see a list of panels along the right side of the screen. These panels live inside something called a Dock. You can see it's a dock because this is dark gray line across the top, and if I click on this double-headed arrow in the Dock, it changes the view of those panels from just the title to the full view of the panel. I can actually see what's going in there. To me that's too busy. I just want to see one panel at a time.
So I'm going to click on that panel again and now I just see the titles. To see one of the panels, I click on it and it shows me that panel. Click on the title again and it closes. Again click on the title and it opens this panel, and I can click on this title or I could also click on this title and that would close it. Or I could click on another panel because you can only have one panel in a dock open at each time otherwise the panels would kind of overlap each other and that would be really messy.
Now one of the coolest things about Dock is that you can change their width. I'll close that panel and I'm going to move my cursor right over the left edge of this dock and I'm going to drag it this way or this way. And you can see that if I make it really narrow, the title start dropping out until pretty soon it's just the icons. I like using just the icons. I like the dock in this view personally because I don't need to see that titles all the time. Maybe for the first week or so of using InDesign you will need those but pretty soon you get to know that, okay, that's the Swatches panel and that's the Color panel and that's the Stroke panel. We are going to be talking about all of these different panels in later movies.
But the important thing now is you get to know what the icon is and now that is minimized like that, I can maximize my document window, so I can use better screen real estate, see that's much nicer, I get lot more space there and just click on an icon and it opens the whole panel for me. So that's the way I would like to work but you work the way that is comfortable for you. Now let's say, I want the Links panel open here. I'm not going to get into the details what the Links panel does, but let's say I want this Links panel open all the time, I don't what it to keep closing on me or maybe I want it in a different part of my screen. Well no problem, I can simply drag the Links title up here, that little tab, drag it out until it's a free-floating panel. Now it's going to sit right here on the page instead of over there in the Dock. I could do the same thing with the Pages panel if I want, just drag it out and now it's not part of the dock anymore, it's free floating.
InDesign also lets me group multiple panels together into panel groups by dragging that little title bar and dropping one panel on top of the other. So now I have got two tabs inside one little panel group. Let's look at some other options for what we can do with panels. See that little dotted line here, that dotted line means that this a panel group. So I can drag that whole thing out and I can get in this case, let's say, a little panel group of just one little panel and it's kind of cute, I can click on that and it extends, I can click on it again and it minimizes. I'll do the same thing over here with this panel group and maximize that. So I have a lot of control over panels and panel groups.
Now If I want to put these back into a dock, I simply drag the dark colored bar at the top, drag that all the way over to the right edge and you can see a blue line. The blue lines in InDesign are very important, they always give you an indication of what's going to happen when you let go over the mouse button. So if I let go right now, it create a new dock and it puts that panel in it, let's go ahead and minimize that so it doesn't take so much space. I can do the same thing with this little panel group, it's actually a group of just one panel and if I'll drag this over here and I let go, see that little blue line and that means it's going to add it at the bottom of that panel. If instead I moved the cursor the cursor up a little bit and it highlights that whole panel group that is docked there, that means it's going to drop this panel group inside that panel group. So it will merge them, so that's kind of interesting.
Let me show you one other option; if I move to the left a little bit, I see a small blue vertical line. It's a little bit hard to see, but that little blue vertical line means it's going to create a new panel dock. Let go there and you see that I have got one dock here and one dock here, and they act independently of each other. So I can maximize that one or this one, it's totally up to you. Let's do the same thing with this panel group over here, I'll drag it over and if I move it here, I'm going to get a new dock. If I move it here I'll get a new dock in between those docks or I can put it at the bottom of this one and it will actually add it to this dock. So you have a lot of control over these panels, where they go, how they are going to be docked and so on.
Let me show you a few other things that you need to know about panels. I'll open a new panel; let's say the Info panel, why not. Grab the Info panel and I can move it where I want to by dragging it's title bar around, and I want to play around out a couple of things. Most panels let you minimize them, that is make them shorter than they usually are in case you want to make them almost disappear but not entirely disappear. The way you do that is you click once on this little double-headed arrow here or double click on the title. It does the same thing. Double click once and you can see it may gets a little bit shorter, double click again and it gets really minimized, come like a window shade rolling up and now I can put it anywhere I want on my page and it stays small. To make it bigger again, just double click on and it rolls down and I can see all that information for that panel.
The other thing that you absolutely need to know about is that in almost all the panels, they have these little menus that sit on the side, I call it as fly out menus, because when you click on them, they kind if fly out to the side and these fly out menus give you a lot of features that you might ordinarily not notice. So here there is bunch of cool information in them, if I do the same thing with the Swatches panel, we can do a lot on the Swatches panel, this is all the color Swatches, but the fly out menu here gives me even more controls, like how I want the colors to show up in the Swatches panel, how to create a New Color Swatch, and that kind of thing.
So I'm not going to any of that right now, I'll deal with that in a later movie, but I just want to point out that those panel menus are very important, we should always pay attention to what's hiding inside those menus. Now you will notice that as I'm working on this document, selecting things, moving them around and so on, this Swatches panel stays open even though it's docked over here. Well that's a preference, some people like those just stay open, some people like those panels to close as soon as they start working on the document again. And you can do it either way, to change that, you can go to the Preferences dialog box, in Windows you go to the Edit menu, here on the Mac I'm going to go to the InDesign menu, but either way you choose Preference, Inter phase, and now here in the Inter phase pane of the Preference dialog box, there is an option here for Auto- Collapse Icon panels. So I'll click on that, I'll turn that on, click OK, and now we can see that this is open even though it is in icon mode, it stays open until I click anywhere on my document page and now it collapses, it closes again.
Same thing with the Pages panel, it stays open until I click over here on the document page and then it collapses. It's a preference, however you like to work. Positioning your panels is all about finding what you need as easily as possible, but you will quickly find that you need different panels open at different times, for example, when you are working with text, you will need certain panel open and then you will need different panels open when you are working with color or images. That's where workspaces come in and that's we are going to cover in the next movie.
- Adjusting layouts and master pages
- Working with InDesign CS3 files and snippets
- Formatting objects, characters, and paragraphs
- Using the Story Editor
- Learning keystroke commands for important actions
- Understanding color and separations
- Using the Preflight and Package features to ensure successful printing
Skill Level Beginner
Q: Is it possible to load or import pages from one document to another in InDesign CS4?
A: Pages cannot be “loaded”, but they canned be "pushed" from one document to another by choosing Layout > Pages > Move Pages.
Q: When I place an image in InDesign, it is distorted or pixilated to the point of not being usable. I can place or open those same images in Photoshop or Illustrator CS3 and they are fine. What is causing the issue in InDesign?
A: You are likely seeing the low-resolution preview. To see high resolution or vector artwork, choose View > Display Performance > High Quality.
Q: I'm looking for a tutorial that will allow me to use InDesign to create files that can be emailed. They have to be converted to HTML first. Is that possible in InDesign?
A: If you mean making an HTML email, then InDesign really isn't the tool for you. It's HTML abilities are extremely limited. I'd look toward Dreamweaver for that.
Q: Since I upgraded to the new version of InDesign, when I click the "edit original" button in the Links panel, the pictures open in Preview instead of Photoshop
Q: I cannot see files on the desktop when in InDesign.
A: If you are using the Mac OS, you may need to turn off Window > Application Frame in order to see files behind InDesign (such as those on the Finder Desktop). If you are on Windows, you are seeing a difference between Mac and Windows. In Windows, the application is always living inside the application frame. If you un-maximize the windows frame, you can drag it smaller so you see the desktop and drag to or from it.
Q: I am currently working on an InDesign document originally created in Spanish. I am translating it to English and I need to change the language preference to be able to use the spell check in English. I have changed it in Preferences, but when I go to do the spell check on the document it is still in Spanish. There has to be a way. Can you please help me?
A: Changing the language in preferences does not change the document or text language. You need to change the langauge in the paragraph style, or the character style in the Character panel or the Control panel (select the text first).
Q: When I create a text box on the master page, it manifests in red and leaves behind a red number sign (#), not a blue number sign as in the video. What is causing this, and does the color of the number sign affect my document?
A: The reason the text frame is in red instead of blue is that you most likely have a red layer selected in the Layers panel. Just click on a different layer in the Layers panel to switch. The color of the frame and the number symbol is based on the layer color. The color has no effect on how it prints; it's just for document organization purposes.