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Chapter 18. Other Object Transformations > The Free Transform Tool

The Free Transform Tool

InDesign has a Free Transform tool, similar to the ones in Photoshop and Illustrator (XPress doesn’t have this tool). The advantage of this tool is that you can quickly perform multiple transformations with the same tool. While the Free Transform tool feels somewhat like the Selection tool, it doesn’t work exactly the same. For example, you can’t use it to select an object. You’ll need to select the object to manipulate first, or hold down the Command/Ctrl key to temporarily get the Selection tool.

  • To move a selected object, click anywhere within the bounding box and move it. Notice that, unlike the Selection tool, with the Free Transform tool you can move an object with no fill without clicking on its border).

  • To scale a selected object, drag the bounding box handles as you would when dragging with the Selection tool. Holding down the Shift key while dragging constrains proportions. Holding down the Option/Alt key scales from the bounding box center. However, unlike the Selection tool, the content of a text frame scales with the object (unless you selected just the frame with the Direct Selection tool).

  • To rotate a selected object, drag the cursor outside the bounding box until you see a double-headed arrow cursor, then drag clockwise or counterclockwise.

  • To flip the selected object over the horizontal or vertical axis, drag one of the bounding box handles across the object past the opposite side.

  • To skew the selected object, start dragging a side handle (not a corner), then hold down the Command-Option/Ctrl-Alt keys as you drag. Also holding down the Shift key constrains vertically or horizontally.



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