Join David Blatner for an in-depth discussion in this video Scaling, rotating, duplicating, and transforming objects, part of InDesign CC 2017 Essential Training.
- [Narrator] Now that you know all about making frames and lines and stuff, you should learn how to duplicate them, scale them, and rotate them on your pages. This is tricky only because InDesign gives you so many different ways to do the same things. For example, there are more than a dozen ways to duplicate something. My favorite way is to hold on the Option or the Alt key while dragging an object. For example, here, I'll select this object, I'll hold down the Option or Alt key on my keyboard, and simply drag it. Now that's fine, but in this case I'd like my duplicate to be exactly lined up with the first.
So I'm going to delete that by pressing the Delete key on my keyboard, and try it again. This time, instead of h9olding just Alt or Option, I'm going to add the Shift key. Option Shift drag, or Alt Shift drag on Windows. When I do that, it duplicates the object and keeps it in perfect vertical or horizontal alignment. Plus, when I see those little green smart guides, I can see that the space between my new object and the one above it, matches the space between the other objects above it. Now, another way you can duplicate an object is just by copying it to the clipboard and pasting it, right? But there's another paste feature you should know about.
Check this out: I'm going to select all of these objects by dragging my selection tool over them, then I'll go to the Edit menu and I'll Copy. Now, I'm going to go to my next page by pressing Shift PdDn. I'd like those same objects on this page, but when I go to Edit Paste, they end up in the center of the page. That's not where I wanted them! I wanted them over here! So, let me delete that, and instead of using Paste, I'm going to go back to the Edit menu, and choose Paste in Place. Paste in Place tells InDesign to remember where it was when I copied it, and it puts it in exactly the same location.
Now I should point out, that if this were a facing pages document, one that has a left hand page and a right hand page, then the same location means the same place on the same side page. So if I copied this off a right hand page, and used Paste in Place to put it on a left hand page, well, that's not going to work. It's probably going to end up off on the pasteboard. But in this case, it's a single-sided document, so I don't have to worry about that. Okay, just one more way to duplicate objects, because it's important. Let's jump to the next page by pressing Shift PgDn, and I'm going to choose this object in the upper left corner.
Now I'm going to head back to the Edit menu, but this time I'm going to choose Step and Repeat. Step and Repeat is a great way to make a lot of duplicates at the same time. I'll start by specifying a vertical offset. That's how far down I want each duplicate to go. I'm going to make this, say, 225 points. Of course, you could use inches or centimeters, or any other measurement system, but here, I'm using points. Now, I need to tell InDesign how many duplicates I want. Right now it's set to zero, so I'm going to increase this to, say, three.
Now nothing seems to have happened, but that's because I forgot to turn on the Preview checkbox. Let me turn that on. There we go, I can now see the duplicates. In fact, there's too many, so I'd better reduce this count to two. Now, I can create a grid of these objects by turning on the Create as grid checkbox, and I'm going to say I want three rows and two columns. Currently, the horizontal offset is set to zero, so I'd better increase this. Let's make this 260 points. Now you can see, this is a great way to get a big grid with very precise measurements. Alright, now let's look at how to rotate our page objects.
I'm going to press Shift PgDn again, and I'm going to rotate this little graphic up here. Let's zoom in on that by pressing Cmd-2 or Ctrl-2 on Windows. Now, the easiest way to rotate an object is by clicking on this little rotate buttons up here in the control panel. This rotates 90 degrees counterclockwise, and this one rotates counterclockwise. Of course, both of those go in 90 degree increments, so if I want to rotate it in more fine increments, I'll move to the left just a little bit. This field here is the rotation field, and you'll see that there's a little popup menu with a bunch of presets.
Or, you can come in here and type your own rotation. Let's say, 25 degrees. When I hit Return or Enter, it rotates. But the question is, why is it rotating around here? The upper left corner? Why is it anchored there and not someplace else, like the middle of the object? Well, the answer to that can be found on the far left side of the control panel, over here. That's the reference point, and it tells InDesign where the anchor should be. Let me undo this with a Cmd-Z or Ctrl-Z on Windows, and I can see that the anchor point is set to the upper left corner.
If instead I come in here and I click in this center point, then go back and change this to 25 degrees, I get a very different effect. Now it rotates around the center. Now if you like working more interactively instead of typing in numbers, you can also select any object with a selection tool and then move the cursor just outside the corner point of that object. When you do that the cursor changes into this little double-headed arrow, and that indicates that if you click and drag, you'll be able to rotate it. But in this case, I should point out that it always rotates around the center point.
For the most precision, you could use the rotate tool, and you can find the rotate tool over here in the Tool panel. It's hiding underneath the Free Transform tool, so when I click and hold for a moment, and then I can choose the Rotate tool out of this menu. Now if you look really closely, there's a really tiny crosshair right in the middle of that object. That reflects the reference point we set up in the control panel. But with the rotation tool, I can put this anywhere I want, just by clicking. For example, I'll click in the middle of this lilypad, or whatever this is up here.
I click once, and that sets the anchor point, the center of rotation. Now, I can simply click and drag and it'll rotate around that point. Alright, finally, now that we know how to copy and rotate, let's look at how to scale objects. I'll jump to the next page with Shift PgDn, and I'm going to jump back to fit the whole page in window, with a Cmd+0 or Ctrl+0. Now on this page, this artwork is just not the right size. I need to scale it up. Now, most of the time when I want to scale an object, or a group of objects, I just use the selection tool, so I'll grab that out of the tool panel here.
Now, I'll select that object. If I simply drag this corner, that doesn't resize it, that just changes the size of the frame, so let's undo that with a Cmd-Z or Ctrl-Z. Instead, to tell InDesign to scale, I need to hold down a couple of modifier keys. I could hold down just the Cmd key or Ctrl key on windows, and now when I scale this, it scales it, but it scales it disproportionately. It kind of stretched it out unnaturally. So, that's no good. I'm going to undo that. Instead, I need to hold down Cmd and Shift or Ctrl and Shift on Windows.
That tells InDesign to scale the frame and the image inside it proportionately, so it doesn't get all stretched and weird. Cmd+Shift or Ctrl-Shift drag. Now, if I need more precision, instead of just dragging and eyeballing, I'll probably choose to scale it using the control panel. Up here in the control panel there's the width and height field, but there's also these items over here. Those are the scaling fields. Right next to that, you'll see a link icon, and it's on by default, and that means if I scale one, it'll scale the other the same.
That way it will always scale proportionately. But, before I scale it, once again I'm going to remember to check my reference point over here on the left side. Right now it's set to the center, and I don't need that. I want it set to the upper left corner, so I'll choose that instead. Great, now I'm going to come over here and I'm going to choose 125% out of this popup menu. Or, I could've just typed my own number in there. Now, an interesting thing just happened. It did scale up, but this number up here in the control panel, still says 100%. What is going on there? Well, by default, when InDesign scales a frame, it always resets it back to 100%.
But that's just the frame. Remember, the image inside the frame is not the same as the frame itself. It's not necessarily 100%. Remember, you can double-click on an image to select the image inside the frame, and when I do that, you'll see that the scale of this image is 105%. Well, 105.579, or something. But you get the idea. You can only see the true scale of the image by choosing it inside the frame. Now, I'll double-click on this again, and it goes back to select a frame. I'm going to undo all of this by pressing Cmd-Z a couple of times, to go back to the way it was.
Because what I really want to do here is scale both this image and this text frame over here, to make them exactly 600 pixels wide. So I'm going to select both of those with the selection tool, and you could think you could come up to the width field in the control panel and change this to 600 points, but that doesn't work. That actually resizes the frames, not scales them. So, let's undo that and use a different technique. Instead of scaling in the width field, which doesn't really work, I'm going to go over here to the scale field, the one that says 100%.
I'm going to choose that 100% and replace it with 600 points, or 600 pixels, it's the same thing, points and pixels are the same in InDesign. Now this is a little bit strange, I'm replacing a percentage with an absolute value, but it works, because when I hit Return or Enter, the whole thing gets scaled. So now I know that these objects make up exactly 600 points wide. Now of course, you can scale your text or vector art, like Illustrator art, all you want, but scaling bitmap images like this Photoshop JPEG image here, that does have an effect on quality.
If you scale a bitmap image up, its resolution goes down. Scale it down, and the resolution goes up. It's just something to keep in mind when scaling objects on your page.
- Learning InDesign in just 30 minutes
- Creating new documents
- Adding, editing, and formatting text
- Managing pages
- Applying master pages
- Threading text frames
- Importing and editing graphics
- Working with color, transparency, and gradients
- Drawing and editing paths and frame shapes
- Scaling and transforming objects
- Applying paragraph and character styles
- Creating tables
- Building interactive documents such as interactive PDFs and EPUBS
- Packaging InDesign documents for output
- Printing and exporting