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Working with Objects

  • Sample Chapter is provided courtesy of Adobe Press.
  • Date: Feb 21, 2018.

Chapter Description

In this sample chapter from Adobe InDesign CC Classroom in a Book (2018 release), learn how to work with layers, create and edit text frames and graphics frames, adjust the space between frames, modify and align objects, create a QR code, and more.

Modifying the shape of frames

In this section, you’ll use various features that allow you to create nonrectangular frames. To begin, you’ll subtract the area of one shape from another. After that, you’ll create a polygon-shaped frame, and then you’ll add rounded corners to a frame.

Working with compound shapes

You can change the shape of an existing frame by adding other shapes to or subtracting other shapes from its area. The shape of a frame can also be changed, even if the frame already contains text or graphics. Now you’ll subtract a shape from the green background on page 3 to create a white background for the article at the bottom of the page.

  1. Choose View > Fit Page In Window to fit and center page 3 in the document window.

  2. Using the Rectangle Frame tool (icon32.jpg), draw a frame around the story in the lower right. Start from where the right edge of the first column meets the horizontal guide at 46p6 on the vertical ruler past the intersection of the bleed guides that meet outside the lower-right corner of the page. Look ahead to the illustrations in Step 4 for guidance.

  3. With the Selection tool (icon1.jpg), hold down the Shift key and click the blue shape you modified earlier (outside of the frame you just created) that covers a good part of page 3 to simultaneously select the new rectangle and the background box. Two frames are now selected.

  4. Choose Object > Pathfinder > Subtract to subtract the top shape (the new rectangle) from the blue shape. The text frame at the bottom of the page is now on a white background.

  5. Open the Layers panel and lock the Background layer again to avoid accidental repositioning of the frame.

  6. Choose File > Save.

Converting shapes

You can change the shape of an existing frame, even if the frame already contains text or graphics. You’ll try this out by creating a perfect square and then converting it to a perfect circle in one step.

  1. Click the Layers panel icon or choose Window > Layers to open the Layers panel.

  2. Click the Graphics layer to select it.

  3. Select the Rectangle tool (icon31.jpg)

  4. Click in the blue area between the stories on page 3. Hold down the Shift key and drag up and to the left until the Width and Height are 4p. Holding down the Shift key constrains the rectangle to a perfect square.

  5. Open the Swatches panel, click the fill color icon (icon25.jpg), and choose Paper (White).

  6. With the square still selected, choose Object > Convert Shape > Ellipse. You now have a perfect circle. Check this by looking at the measurements in the Control Panel. They are still 4p for both Width and Height.


Repeating shapes

  1. With the circle still selected, choose Edit > Step And Repeat.

  2. Under Offset, enter 5p6 for Horizontal and enter 8 for the Count above. (Enter the Offset number first because the default value may be too large to have enough room for eight repeats). Leave Vertical at Zero. Click OK.

  3. Now delete the third circle and the eighth circle.

  4. Drag-select across all of the circles (make sure you locked the Background layer so that you select only the circles).

  5. Choose Distribute Horizontal Centers (icon52.jpg) from the Align area of the Control Panel, or from the Align panel.

    The circles are evenly distributed once again, with equal space between them.

Adding rounded corners to frames

Next, you’ll modify a text frame by rounding its corners.

  1. Navigate to page 1 by choosing 1 from the page box at the bottom of the document window. Choose View > Fit Page In Window. Unlock the Text layer.

  2. With the Selection tool (icon1.jpg) still selected, hold down the Z key to temporarily access the Zoom tool (icon8.jpg), zoom in on the dark blue text frame on page 1, and then release the Z key to return to the Selection tool.

  3. Select the dark blue text frame, and then click the small yellow square that’s slightly below the resizing handle at the upper-right corner of the frame. Four small yellow diamonds replace the four resizing handles at the corners of the frame.

  4. Drag the diamond at the upper-right corner of the frame to the left and release the mouse button when the live radius (R:) value is approximately 2p0. As you drag, the other three corners change, too. (If you hold down the Shift key when dragging, only the corner you are working on changes.)

  5. Choose Edit > Deselect All to exit live corner edit mode, and then choose File > Save.

10. Transforming and aligning objects | Next Section Previous Section

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