Join Deke McClelland for an in-depth discussion in this video Understanding guides, part of InDesign CS4 Getting Started.
In this exercise we are going to talk about how to work with rulers and guides inside InDesign. I am looking at an eight-page empty document with the two-column design. If you'd like to open it, it's called Eight-page Empty.indd found inside the Exercise Files folder. Notice that I have a ruler at the top in the left side of my document window. If you are not seeing that ruler then you can go up to the View menu and choose what would be Show Rulers command. You can also press the keyboard shortcut, Ctrl+R or Command+R on the Mac.
Notice that all measurements currently begin at the upper left corner of a two-page spread, and I can tell that's a case because that's where I am seeing the zero point on both of the rulers. If you'd like to change that zero point, for example, let's say you want to move it to the top center of the spread and the spread is two side-by-side pages, a left page and a right page. Then drag from the intersection of the two rulers and go ahead and drop this point right there at the top center of the spread, and now all measurements are going both left and right from this 0-0 point.
You can also change the unit of measure from the ruler for a specific ruler just by right-clicking on that ruler. If you don't have a right mouse button on the Mac then you press the Ctrl key and click, and I could, for example, change the measurement to inches. Notice that it just affects that one ruler. If I want to change the other ruler, I would need to right-click on it and choose inches as well. Now let's talk about the guides for a moment. Notice these violet guides right here, the darker purple guides, those are the column guides and they indicate where you are going to pour your text into columns throughout the document. You can also see these magenta guides at the top and the bottom. They actually go up the right and left sides of the page as well, it's just that they are covered up right now by the violet column guides. These are the margins guides and they trace the page margins.
Now let's say you want to change these columns across both pages so the inside column is wider than the outside column. If you are going to do that across the document then you want change your guides on the master page. To get to the master page, you go to the Pages panel and you can do that either by clicking on this little Pages icon right there or by going to the Window menu and choosing the Pages command. Notice you also have a keyboard shortcut, F12, and I'll switch to A-Master by double- clicking on the words A-Master there inside the Pages panel. Now I'll hide the Pages panel by clicking on this double right arrow icon.
Now I want to make sure that I am sizing my columns equally. So I am going to give myself some ruler guides to help me out, and I am going to create these ruler guides automatically by going up to the Layout menu and choosing the Create Guides command. I want to preview what I am doing, so I'll turn on the Preview check box. I want the gutter to be 0.25 inches to match the gutters I have already created for the column guides, and I am going to increase the number of columns to 5, and then I am going to fit them to the margins as opposed to the page. So they end up looking like this, and you can actually nudge this number value if you want to by pressing the Down arrow key to reduce the number or the Up arrow key to increase it, and you'll see the changes reflected in the background provided that the Preview check box is on. Then go ahead and click OK in order to accept that change.
Now I have some guides to use to position my column guides, but if I try to move my column guide, notice that I can't. It just won't move and the reason is because it's locked down. So I need to go up to the View menu and I'll choose the Grids & Guides command, and then I'll choose Lock Column Guides to turn it off. Now I can drag this column guide into place, and notice now I have one column that's essentially three columns wide next to another one that's two columns wide, if we count each one of these gaps between the ruler guides as narrow columns.
I'll go ahead and drag this column guide over to the left in order to snap it into place as well, and that's a great thing about guides inside InDesign, is they snap your objects. So they ensure proper alignment throughout the document. Once you have done that, you can go ahead and lock your guides back down, because presumably after this point you are not going to want to modify them. So go ahead and choose the Lock Column Guides command to turn it back on. Let's go ahead and add another column. I am going to drag down from the top ruler like so in order to add a horizontal guide to my document. Notice that, thanks to the Smart Guides function in InDesign CS4, I can see a measurement that's telling me exactly where this guide is falling. I wanted to land at a position of Y:2in, meaning it's two inches down from the top of the page.
I am also going to press-and-hold the Ctrl key or the Command key on the Mac so that horizontal guides spans both of my facing pages and then I'll release in order to make the guide, and of course, then I'll release the Ctrl key on the PC or the Command key on the Mac. Now I've got one guide going across the entire two-page spread. To change the color of that guide, I'll go up to the Layout menu and I'll choose the Ruler Guides command, and then I'll switch that guide from cyan to, let's say, light gray, and then I'll click OK in order to accept that change. Now that affects that selected guide only; it doesn't affect any of the deselected guides.
If I click off, you can see that it's a light gray guide. Now I'll switch back to my standard pages by going back to the Pages panel, and then I'll double-click on this little 2-3 right there to switch to the 2-3 spread. It's not going to look any different on screen, but I am now working inside pages 2 over here on the left and 3 over here on the right. And thanks to the fact, I made my changes to the master page, it is now affected all other pages inside the document. And that's how you work with rulers and guides inside InDesign.
- Designing master pages
- Changing type color
- Defining paragraph styles
- Formatting bullets and numbers
- Improving display performance
- Determining how text wraps around graphics