Join David Blatner for an in-depth discussion in this video Using slugs, part of InDesign CS4 Beyond the Basics.
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Normally, when you have an object that's sitting out here off the side of the page on the pasteboard, it will not print, but sometimes you want those objects to print. For example, ad agencies and design firms commonly put their logo and contact information outside the page boundary. They want it to print on their client proofs and perhaps even on press, but they want it to get trimmed off so that it does not show up on the final printed piece. This is called adding a Slug. Let's see how to do it. I am going to scroll up here, and I am going to put a Slug above my page; I already have one made as a snippet. So I will go to the File menu, choose Place, grab my slug snippet and click Open. In this case, I want to put it in exact the same location as it was when it was originally created. So I am going to hold down the Option or Alt key when I click. That puts the snippet right back in its original location.
I will Zoom into 200% by pressing Cmd+ 2 or Ctrl+2 on Windows, and we can see that it has the information about who created it, when it was created, when it was last printed; oh, the information here is not present when it was last printed, I better add that. I will go to the Type menu and choose Text Variables > Insert Variable > output date. You can see that all this information is set up as Text Variables, which I talked about in the Essential Training title. It even has a File Name variable, which will update if I ever save this as a different name. So this is great. I have got a Slug, its outside on the pasteboard, but it won't print because it's on the pasteboard. How do I tell InDesign to make it print? Well, if I go to the File menu and choose New Document, and then I click on More Options, you can see down at the bottom of the New Document dialog box there is an area for a Slug guide. Let's set this up to maybe 1 inch, just as the top. I will click OK, and you can see that InDesign makes my pages normal, but if I pan down, there is a blue Slug guide area at the top. If I put stuff in this area I can get it to print out. Pretty cool, huh.
Well, let's go ahead and switch back to our document and get this inside that Slug area. To do that, I need to go to the File menu, choose Document Setup, make sure that More Options has been turned on; it has here, and I can once again add a Slug guide at the top. I will make this 1 inch, click OK, and you can now see the Slug guide above. The next thing we need to do in order to get those Slugs to print is to go to the Print dialog box, go to Marks and Bleed, and make sure Include Slug Area is turned on. If that's on it will print, if it is off, it will get trimmed off.
Let me Cancel that and show you a couple more things that you can do with Slugs. First of all, if you want to see your final document but with the Slugs, you can go to the Application Bar and choose Slug. Here is the final trimmed document but with the Slug area. If you are making a PDF to send to somebody, you go to the File menu, choose Export, make sure this is set to PDF, and now in the PDF dialog box you also want to go to Marks and Bleeds and include your Slug Area. Once again, if you don't turn it on it's going to get trimmed off.
There is really no limit to what kind of items you can put in that Slug area. Anything that sits inside the area will be printed.
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