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Exploring the InDesign CS4 Workspace

  • Article is provided courtesy of Adobe Press.
  • Date: Sep 23, 2008.

Article Description

The intuitive InDesign CS4 interface makes it easy to create compelling print and interactive pages. The Adobe Creative Team introduces you to working with the InDesign workspace and its various panels and tools.

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Working with Panels

Panels provide quick access to commonly used tools and features. By default, panels are docked at the right side of the screen (except the aforementioned Tools panel and Control panel). The default panels differ depending on the selected workspace, and each workspace remembers its panel configuration. You can reorganize panels in various ways. Here you'll experiment with hiding, closing, and opening the default panels in the Advanced workspace.

Expanding and Collapsing Panels

In this exercise, you'll expand and collapse a panel, hide the panel names, and expand all the panels in the dock (a collection of panels that are "glued" together).

  1. In the default dock to the right of the document window, click the Pages panel icon to expand the Pages panel (see Figure 13). This technique is handy if you want to open a panel, use it briefly, and then close it.
  2. To close the Pages panel, click the double arrows to the right of the panel names, or click the Pages panel icon again to collapse the panel.
  3. Now you'll open a panel that isn't showing in this workspace. Choose Window > Info to open the Info panel.
  4. To add the Info panel to the dock, drag it by its title bar below the Character Styles panel; release the mouse button when the blue line appears. You can drag the Info panel icon up or down within the dock to reposition it.
  5. Drag the left edge of the panel dock to the right until the names are hidden. Click the Expand Panels button to collapse and expand the panels. Drag the left edge of the panel dock to collapse the panels into icons.
  6. To expand all the panels in the dock, click the double arrow in the upper-right corner of the dock (see Figure 14). If you click the double arrow again, the panels collapse back to icons without names.

Rearranging and Customizing Panels

In this exercise, you'll drag a single panel out of the dock to create a free-floating panel. Then you'll drag another panel into that panel to create a custom panel group. You'll also ungroup the panels, stack them, and collapse them to icons.

  1. With the dock expanded, drag the tab of the Paragraph Styles panel away from the dock, as shown in Figure 15. Now you have a floating Paragraph Styles panel, as shown in Figure 16.
  2. To add the Character Styles panel to the floating Paragraph Styles panel, drag its tab into the blank area of the Paragraph Styles panel title bar, as shown in Figure 17. Release the mouse button when the blue line appears along the perimeter of the Paragraph Styles panel. This action creates a panel group, as shown in Figure 18.

    You can drag any panel into a group. Grouping the Character Styles and Paragraph Styles panels can be helpful if you're editing text and don't need the other panels to be expanded.

  3. To ungroup the panels, drag one of the panel tabs out of the panel group.
  4. You can also stack floating panels in a vertical arrangement. Drag the tab of the Paragraph Styles panel to the bottom of the Character Styles panel, as shown in Figure 19. Release the panel when a blue line appears.

    The panels are now stacked rather than grouped, as shown in Figure 20. Stacked panels attach vertically to each other. You can move the panels as a unit by dragging the topmost title bar.

  5. Now experiment with resizing the stacked panels. Drag the lower-right corner of each panel to resize it. Click either the double arrow in the upper-right corner or just the title bar across the top, to collapse the stacked panels to icons. Click either the double arrow or the title bar again to expand the panels (see Figure 21).
  6. Regroup the panels by dragging the tab of the Paragraph Styles panel up next to the Character Styles panel tab. Minimize the panel group by clicking the gray area next to a panel's tab (see Figure 22). Click the area again to expand the panels.

Using Panel Menus

Most panels have additional panel-specific options. To access these options, you click the panel menu button to display a menu with additional commands and options for the selected panel. In this exercise, you'll change the display of the Swatches panel.

  1. Drag the Swatches panel out of the dock at the right to create a free-floating panel.
  2. In the upper-right corner of the Swatches panel, click the panel menu button to display the panel menu (see Figure 23). You can use the Swatches panel menu to create new color swatches, load swatches from another document, and more.
  3. Choose Large Swatch from the Swatches panel menu.
4. Saving a Custom Workspace | Next Section Previous Section

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