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Technical Tuesday – February 2016

     -     Feb 16th, 2016   -     Uncategorized   -     0 Comments

InDesign Tips & Tricks: All About Frames

Happy Valentine’s Day a few days late! Time is whizzing by and it’s hard to believe that we’re rounding the corner toward March and signs of Spring like Daylight Savings Time and warmer temperatures!

Speaking of warmer, last month in the first edition of Technical Tuesday we examined two functions of InDesign – Margins and Bleeds, and Master Pages. This month, I’d like to heat up the InDesign discussions and talk about “Frames”. Often when people begin using this program they have frustrations with how to place both text and imagery. This month’s issue should help clear that up and keep you cooking in the program. So “onward” I say!

InDesign Technical TipsFrames
InDesign places your content in frames. This applies to both text and images as well as databases and interactive content.

There are two types of frames: text and image.

The text frame is fairly self-explanatory. After clicking on the tool, take your cursor and click and drag on your page to create the shape for your text frame. Typically text frames are either a rectangle or square if you hold down Shift, but they could also be a circle or a custom shape if drawn with the Pen tool. Once you have your shape drawn, you have two options: either type directly in the frame or import content from another document. To import, go to the File menu and choose Place (or use the shortcut: Command + D on a Mac and Control + D on Windows).

Image frames work in a similar way. For starters, click on the image frame tool and then take your cursor and click and drag on your page to create your image frame shape. Using the elipse frame tool you can also make your image frame an oval, or circle (by holding down Shift) or draw one yourself using the pen tool. Once your shape is drawn, you can fill it with color or place an image from your computer inside it. Again, this is done by going to FilePlace (or using the shortcut as mentioned above).

Another way to import images and text is to simply drag them onto the document (from Mac’s Finder or Windows Explorer). This will automatically create an image or text frame, import the content and create a link to that file.

Resizing Content in a Frame
The set of shortcuts for fitting an image to a frame is also useful, and with it you can easily adapt content the way you want. To keep the frame the same size and fit the content proportionally, press Command + Option + Shift + E. (Note that if the image and frame have different proportions, then some white space will be left.)

To fill the frame proportionally, use Command + Option + Shift + C. (If the image and frame have different proportions, then the image will be resized and end up larger than the frame, being cropped the edges.)

To center the content in the frame, use Command + Shift + E. And if you want the image to stay the same and resize the frame instead, then fit the frame to the content with Command + Option + C.

Selecting Frames
Selecting the top frame is easy, but if a lot of frames are overlapping or one is on top of the other, you can cycle through them by holding Command on Mac and Control on Windows and then clicking on the frames to select the lower one. Keep clicking to cycle through them if you have several frames.

Learn By Doing
The best way to familiarize yourself with the tools, menus and options the program offers is to practice in the program. Look for an existing layout that you like and do your best to recreate it in the program. Don’t worry, you’re not going to break InDesign and you can always undo things you don’t like. The point is to have fun exploring this versatile application. Sometimes learning happens from happy accidents.

Want to Know More?
If there is something program-specific you’d like me to discuss or write about, please let me know and contact me. I’m always happy to help.


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