Join Claudia McCue for an in-depth discussion in this video Setting up master pages, part of InDesign for the In-House Designer.
- [Instructor] As you start creating more and more complex documents, you might find that it makes it easier to work on those documents if you separate your content into layers. Now you don't have to, some people love layers, some people don't care for them. I'm a big fan. So let me show you how I would divide this into layers. On the right, open up your Layers panel. And you just have one layer right now, and you can kind of think of layers as sort of a clear, plastic tray holding a bunch of objects. And in this case, we have one tray. But there are a lot of objects in it.
You see that little arrow to the left of Layer 1's name? Click that, and that gets kind of busy doesn't it? But it describes every single object that's in this layer. So let's look at the controls within the Layers panel. You see the eyeball there. Click on the eyeball for this bit of text, plan for long-term success. Just gives you a little snippet there. Turn off that eyeball, and you see? That's a visibility control, we've hidden that one object. Click on this dark gray area over here on the left hand page and you'll see the handles around it, you know it's selected.
But what object is it as far as the Layers panel is concerned? Well you probably have to scroll down 'cause it's sort of at the bottom of the pile, yup it's the last rectangle on the bottom. When you create elements in the page, InDesign names them rectangle, polygon, oval, whatever it is they are. Sometimes what I like to do if I'm working on something really complex and I'm having trouble figuring out who's who, sometimes I like to name my rectangles, so if you want to try that, you'll see that it just says rectangle in brackets. So it's kind of anonymous right? Well click on the name rectangle and then click again, sort of a half second pause in between, now you can see that that name is editable, we'll just call this dark gray background, let's just abbreviate background, bkgd, pretty standard in the industry.
Just hit Return or Enter, and that cinches that. Now you'll be able to recognize that. Now let's scroll up, and you can see when it's talking about a text frame, it gives you a little bit of the first part of the text in the frame, so that helps you recognize that. When there's a graphic, it gives you the name of the file that's inside. So here's another little neat feature. If you wanted to select something you go I'd like to see where that's used, see that little square to the right? And it even tells you when you hover over it, I love this about InDesign.
Click to select items. So click that little square to the right of that, you can just see part of the name, landscape something or another, huh well that's this image right here, okay. So we know who that is. What if we want to make sure that nobody could select that and move that? To the right of the eyeball, it's really called a visibility control, but we all call it the eyeball, click to the right of that, and that's your lock field. So when you lock that, try to select that, and it's as if you have shot through it, you notice it won't select this circle with the image in it, it shoots through that and says, well I'll select the next thing under that that isn't locked and that's that gray background.
So let's go back and unlock that. And for safety's sake, just click an empty space. Now there's this sort of triangle across here. If you click on that, and you scroll down... Actually it's a little hard to select just the triangle, there, if you click on just that little corner, it's called polygon, well, let's make that something recognizable. Click and then wait a second and click again, and we'll call this triangle. There's another triangle too, but we're not going to get carried away with this.
So you get the idea, it could be kind of handy to identify elements in your page, especially because when you disclose everything that's living in that layer, it starts to get really busy in that layer's panel, doesn't it? So click that little arrow to the left of the name Layer 1, there it's a lot easier to look at, isn't it? A lot of people like to divide up their layers into background content, and then graphics, and then text. So let's make a new layer. If you look at the bottom of the layer's panel, you this little icon, a little piece of paper with a corner turned up.
And you're going to see that all over InDesign, and other Adobe programs too, it's the make me a new one button. So I'm going to make a new layer. I can just click on that, and it makes one called Layer 2. Now, do you notice this? Layer 1 has a little blue bar to the left of it. Layer 2 has a red bar, what does that mean? Well take a look at the document back here. All of these elements have a blue frame edge, remember that's not something that prints, it's just an indicator that hey, you have something selected and here's its edge. Those edges are blue because it's in Layer 1, who's key color is blue.
Well what if we wanted to move some content up to Layer 2? Actually I'm going to do the opposite. I'm going to create a background layer. So click on that dark gray rectangle. Hold down Shift, and down here on the lower left, click on that, well it may be a little hard to get that triangle, there I've got the triangle, you can see the bounding box. Now Shift click on that background, and I think we have both of them now. When you look at the way this is displayed in the Layers panel, you notice that the little blue square is active.
And remember you can use that to select, well it's also a way to indicate that you have something selected. And this is kind of nice, if you hover over that little square, it tells you another trick it can do, drag to move between layers or change Z order, Z order is stacking order. We're going to talk about that in a bit. But just grab that little blue square, push it up into Layer 2, and it doesn't look like anything's going to happen, but it does when you let go of your mouse. Now you see there's a red square, and then Layer 2 has these two shapes. Everything in Layer 2 is above everything in Layer 1, so it's covering up all of our artwork, that's okay.
We can drag Layer 2 down below Layer 1, so just grab Layer 2, drag it down with your mouse below Layer 1, and it makes a little cartoon fist to hold onto it, and there you go. Now to prevent stirring that up 'cause we have a lot of other elements there, let's lock Layer 2. And let's give it a better name. Click on Layer 2, and you might not have to click again, but if you do, go ahead. And we'll just call this background, just BKGD works for me. Okay. So now if you turn off the background, see, it goes away.
If it's locked you can't do anything to it. If it's hidden, you can't do anything to it. So if you hide it, you may not actually have to lock it, that might be redundant, but you get the idea. So I think what we'll do is we'll put our graphics in Layer 1, and we'll make another layer for our text. So let's rename Layer 1, so click on Layer 1. And if you double-click, it brings up this Layer Options dialogue. So hit Cancel, and so there's a little bit of finesse here, if you don't want to bring up that dialogue, you just click, you sort of roll your mouse a little bit, just enough to go hey I'm talking to you.
So this is going to be our Graphics layer. And now we're going to make a third layer, which is going to be the text layer. So there are several ways that you can make an additional layer. I'm a big fan of just going down to that little piece of paper because it's right there out in the open. But another way you can do it is to go to the Layers panel menu, and just choose New Layer. When you do that, then you have this New Layer options. So we're just going to call this one Text. And notice this Color, Green. It's going to keep assigning key colors to the layers as you make them.
But if you don't like the color that InDesign picks, you have your own choice. So where it says Color Green, click that pull-down, I'm going to move this up a little bit so you can see it in all its glory. So it goes through this order, Light Blue, Red, Green, Blue, Yellow, which you can't see, I find that pretty much useless. And then it gets pretty fancy down here. Let's scroll down and see some of our options. Some of my favorites, Fiesta, Lipstick, Cute Teal. To me this is engineers staying up way past their bedtime. And if that's not enough for you, which I can't imagine, if you click Custom, now your color picker's going to look different from Mac to Windows, but you've probably seen it before, so you know how to work it.
You can pick a color from anywhere here. I think that's a little overkill, so I'm going to hit Cancel. But I am going to pick something other than Green. I think I'm going to go for Orange. That'll be visible, but it doesn't get in the way. But I want you to take note of these layer options, the way you can control the way layers behave. Show Layer is exactly the same as turning on and turning off the eyeball. Lock Layer, you already know that you can click in this little area here, and that will lock it. Print Layer, if you unchecked that, you could have all sorts of content in that layer, but it wouldn't print.
Why would you do that? I know people, and I've done this myself, where I'm working with somebody else, and I want to be able to put little sticky notes around, and InDesign doesn't give you a feature for that, I wish it did. But you can make a layer that is visible but doesn't print. So that way there's no accident in the end when they print or make a PDF. And then you can put little text frames in there and put your notes on that, so this actually does have some use. Show Guides or don't show guides, there are other ways to do that. Lock Guides or don't lock guides, again other ways to do that. And for me, it's overkill to do these in the controls that you have for the layers.
Suppress Text Wrap When Layer is Hidden. When you place an object on top of text, you can choose to have it push the text away, and we'll explore that more later. But if you hide a layer that has an object in it, I think you want the text wrap to still be there, there are times, maybe you're building a version where you don't want it to. We're getting kind of into deep water here so I don't want to burden you with that, but you do have all this granular control over the behavior of this nice new layer. But we're going to leave it at the default and just click Okay. So now we have our background, it's fully populated.
But let's start redistributing this content. Let's start on the left hand page. Click in this text frame in the middle that says Customize Design Plans. You see the little blue square. Just push that up into the Text layer. And see how the edge changes color? And frankly this is really useful, it can help you, especially when you're tired, trying to figure what layer is that in? It's helpful to wind your way through. Now click on this text frame in the center, hold down Shift, and click on the text frame on the right most panel, and you can move more than one object at once clearly, so just push that up into the Text layer, and there you go.
So now let's see if we have separated this correctly. Turn off the background layer, turn off the Text layer. All the text goes away. That just leaves the Graphics layer, and if you turn that off, you have nothing left. We've got one little straggler here that I think probably out of be in the background. So click on that, and then try to drag that down into the background layer. And InDesign just sort of stares at you and makes a little bonk sound, like nope I can't do that, it's locked and it's hidden. Turn on the eyeball by background, and try that again.
Nah, it's not going to let you do it. So you can see how visibility, if it's hidden, or if it's locked, you're prevented from disturbing it, which I think can be a good thing. So let's go ahead and unlock that background layer, and then just drag that down. C'mon, go. Quit bonking at me. There we go. And you see how the edge changes, and again that's a nice little confirmation. Let's lock that background layer again. Now we have our text layer. But I want you to experiment a little bit. I'm going to have you drag out here to the right so we can play out in the yard here.
I want you to choose the Graphics layer. Our Text layer's hidden so we can't hurt anything in it. And then collapse the Layers panel so that you can see what's going on. Go over to your Tool panel. And click and drag and make a frame about like so, about two inches, two and a half inches. Make another one that overlaps it. Make another one that overlaps both of them, this is not much of a design, I know that, but there's a method to my madness here. And then make another one that overlaps them. Now get your black arrow, grab that first one that you made on the bottom.
Go over to the Swatches panel. And I'm going to have to move my Swatches panel out of the way 'cause it's covering up what I'm doing. And make this cyan. Click on the next frame up, and make it this sort of light green. All of these colors came with the document, ah it turns out in my case, that's the one that's on top of everything. So you may have to sort of move them apart. Click on this frame and make it orange. And click on another frame, so yours may not look quite like mine, but what I want you to have is four frames with different colors.
And then if you go back up to 2col, and reset 2col, then you'll be back in business and everything's where it out of be. Which means you'll have to scroll back out to the pasteboard. So in my case, I want to figure out where these are in the stacking order. So I'm going to open up my Layers panel. And I'm going to hit that little arrow to the left of Graphics. And the green one's at the top. Let's see. Who's the next one down, so you're at the top. You're the next one down, you're the next one down, finally you're at the bottom of the pile.
Okay, so I'm going to collapse my Layers panel. I want you to grab the bottom-most rectangle. Go up to Object, Arrange, and choose Bring Forward. Not Bring to Front, but Bring Forward. See how it comes up just one notch? Now with that still selected, go to Object, Arrange, and Bring to Front. So now it's in front of all of the other shapes. So this isn't making new layers, this is all within one layer, one little clear plastic tray, but we're changing what's called stacking order, and you saw that remark earlier about change Z order, Z is up and down.
So if you want to do this another way, you can go to the Layers panel, and with this selected, you can grab its name, and drag it down, you'll see that insertion bar, and it's similar to what you saw when we changed the order of the layers, and see, as you drag that down, then it tucks in behind one of the other rectangles. So I want you to understand the difference between Bring Forward, Send Backward, and Bring to Front. And Send to Back. So whoever your top-most object is, grab that, go to Object, Arrange, choose Send Backward, and it just goes back one notch.
Now Object, Arrange, and Send to Back. Now it goes all the way to the bottom of the pile. So that's the difference. Sometimes it's easier to just shove it all the way to the back, or bring it all the way to the front, and then move it down or up as need be. But what I've found is that once you get used to the Layers panel, and you make the connection between the entry that you see here and what you have selected in the page, you're probably going to find it easier to get things piled up the way you want by manipulating the order in the Layers panel. At least I do, so here's my little lavender shape.
You can see that's this one. If I want it tucked behind the next one down, I just drag it down one notch. There we go. So as I say, this looks really busy when you first explode the view of the layer, but once you get used to it, I think you're going to find it's a great way to manipulate objects in your document. And of course it looks really busy, so once you're down experimenting here, just hit that little arrow to the left of Graphics, that's a lot easier to look at isn't it? And then turn on your Text layer. Collapse your Layers panel, we don't need this stuff out on the pasteboard.
So just click and drag across it to select it, hit Delete, go over to your Tools panel, double-click on your hand tool, and there you go. So you can think of it as sort of your aerial view hasn't changed. All of those shapes look just like they did before, but now that we've quarantined them into separate layers, it's going to be easier, for example if you get your black arrow, if you go to your Layers panel, your background layer should still be locked. If you wanted to grab one of these little circles, it's easy to grab that without accidentally snagging that background and stirring it up.
So I think you're going to find once you get used to the concept of layers, that as you build more complex documents, it's going to make it easier for you to select what you need, to get what you need out of the way so that you can work in a complex area. And I frankly think it kind of helps you think through your design. I think it's good advice as you approach a design to think from the bottom up. What's going to be the background? What are going to be my graphics, and where's going to be my text? And so this arrangement that you see here is a pretty standard approach.
But again, you don't have to work in layers, and you can order these however you want, some people have eight, nine, ten layers because they're building very complex stuff, and they have stuff all piled up. So use the approach that works for you, but I think you'll find as you keep working, layers are going to be your friend.
- Creating a workspace
- Setting up your document
- Using master pages
- Importing and formatting text
- Creating paragraph and character styles
- Scaling, rotating, and transforming graphics
- Adding color with swatches
- Adding content to tables
- Storing assets in InDesign Libraries and CC Libraries
- Saving and using a template
- Creating an automatic TOC
- Exporting to PDF
- Preparing for printing