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Scaling Insanity

View the Scale Percentage

I scaled my image down to about 50% with the Scale tool. I can see that the image is much smaller than before, but the Scale X Percentage and Scale Y Percentage fields in the Control palette and Transform palette still say “100%.”

Yes, this is crazy-making. To see the actual scaling percentage of the image, switch to the Direct Select tool, and click on the image inside the frame. Now take another look at the fields. Ta-da! You see the percentage your image is scaled to (Figure 4-4).

Figure 4-4. Use the Direct Select tool to see a selected image's current scaling percentage.

It's a pain to switch tools all the time, so if you need to scale an image to an exact percentage, the fastest way is to select it with the Selection tool (which selects the frame and its contents), enter the scale amount in the Scale X/Scale Y fields, and press Return/Enter.

The “100%” technically refers to the scaling of the frame. And the reason it says the frame is still 100 percent even though you just scaled it down? Artwork created inside the program — including frames that InDesign creates on its own when placing images — is always considered at 100 percent scale, regardless of how much you manipulate it.

Scale the Stroke Along With It

My book catalog has tons of images of book covers, each with a 1-point black frame (stroke). When I scale one of these images, I get unpredictable and confusing results regarding the stroke weight. It seems that when I want the stroke to scale the same percentage as the image, it won't, and when I want it to stay at the original 1 pt. weight, it scales in tandem with the image. And even then, when it's obvious the stroke weight is far more than 1 pt. (because I scaled the book image up a great deal and the stroke got thicker), the Stroke Weight field still says 1 pt. What's going on here?

There are three factors that influence what you describe — two menu items and the tool you use to scale — and different combinations of these factors have different results. Let's take it step-by-step.

You may have noticed there's a Scale Strokes command in the Control palette and Transform palette menus. When it's turned on (choose it so it gets a checkmark), stroke weights are scaled as you scale a graphic frame; when it's off, stroke weights stay the same regardless of frame scaling (Figure 4-5).

Figure 4-5. The Scale Strokes command is found in either the Transform or Control palette menus.

However, even if Scale Strokes is turned on, InDesign won't scale the strokes of frames you're scaling via the Command-Shift-drag/Ctrl-Shift-drag method. It only kicks in when you scale via entering numbers in the Scale X/Scale Y fields, or by using the Scale or Free Transform tool.

Thus, if you want the stroke to be scaled along with the image frame and its contents, you have to 1) Turn on the Scale Strokes command; and 2) Use any method to scale the image other than dragging on its corner with the Command-Shift/Ctrl-Shift keys held down.

So what about the other problem — that the Stroke Weight field doesn't change, even after scaling a frame? InDesign is trying to be helpful by remembering your original strokeweight. Or maybe it got the munchies and went out to the kitchen to look for some Fritos, figuring you wouldn't notice. Whatever the case, you can pour a bucket of cold water on its head by choosing “Reset Scaling to 100%” in the Transform or Control palette menu (Figure 4-6). Magically, the stroke weight field shows you the actual weight currently in effect.

Figure 4-6. The Reset Scaling to 100% command can also be found in the Transform or Control palette.

Broken Mac Keyboard Shortcut for Scale Up 1%

I'm on a Macintosh. When I use the default keyboard shortcuts for scaling an image by 1%, scaling down works okay — Command-[comma] — but the one for scaling up by 1%, Command-[period], replaces all my images with gray boxes, and I can't Undo it. Weird! The keyboard shortcuts for scaling images by 5% increments in either direction work fine. It's only the “scale up by 1%” one that's wonky.

You need to buy a new computer. Just kidding! That's a definite bug in InDesign CS for the Macintosh. The gray boxes you're seeing are the images' Optimized previews. Normally you'd get this effect by choosing View > Display Performance > Optimized Display (“Fast Display” in CS2). You can fix what's happened to your previews by going to that same menu and resetting it to Typical or High Quality Display (or pressing Command-Option-Z/Ctrl-Alt-Z). Fortunately, Adobe fixed this shortcoming in InDesign CS2.

While you're still using CS, you can fix the keyboard shortcut itself: Just add Command-. (period) as the keyboard shortcut to the “Increase size/scale by 1%” feature (choose Edit > Keyboard Shortcuts, then choose Product Area: Object Editing). That fix appears to goose InDesign into remembering what Command-. (period) is for.

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