• Create BookmarkCreate Bookmark
  • Create Note or TagCreate Note or Tag
  • PrintPrint
Share this Page URL

Chapter 4. Graphically Speaking > Manipulating Madness

Manipulating Madness

Take the Image, Leave the Frame

Okay, I admit it, I'm a recovering Quark-aholic. As such, I'm having a grand old time with the cool advanced features in InDesign, but it's the little, simple things trip me up, because I'm so accustomed to how I used to do it. Case in point: Moving an image around inside the frame. I can't. There's no Content tool. It's not the Hand tool, even though it looks like it should work.

The closest equivalent to Quark's Content Tool in InDesign CS is the Direct Select tool (press A when not editing text), the hollow arrow (or white-filled arrow, for you optimists out there). With nothing selected, click on the image (not the frame) with the Direct Select tool. Now you can drag it around with abandon, and the frame will stay put. If you press and hold for a few seconds before you start dragging, you'll get a nice surprise: You can see the image move, and areas outside the image frame are ghosted back.

The Direct Select tool lets you do even more, though: You can move the frame and leave the image in place by Option/Alt-clicking on the edge of the frame first. Then drag the frame (or its center point) around.

In InDesign CS2, you have one more option: The Position tool (press Shift-A) is more similar to QuarkXPress's Content tool or PageMaker's Position tool. It lets you move an image inside a frame (you even get your coveted hand icon), crop the frame differently by dragging side or corner handles, or move the whole frame by dragging on the side of the frame (not a handle) or the centerpoint handle.

Find the Offset

Did Adobe forget to include the fields for X and Y image offsets? I've looked in every nook and cranny but I just can't find them.

You missed a cranny. Look in the Control palette menu (or Transform palette menu) for “Show Content Offset” and turn it on by choosing it. To see how much an image is offset from its frame, click on the image with the Direct Select tool. The X Position and Y Position fields in the Control and Transform palettes will show the X and Y offsets, respectively (Figure 4-7). With Show Content Offset turned off, the same selection would show the image's offset from the 0/0 mark on the page.

Figure 4-7. By turning on the Show Content Offset command and selecting an image with the Direct Select tool, you can see how much the image is offset from its frame.

Swap Images in Frames Without the Place Command

I've got a couple of bad images in perfect frames. The frames are sized, shaped and stroked just right. So I'd like to replace these images with different ones, leaving the frames untouched. Since the new images are already in my document, I thought I could just copy and paste themin, instead of rooting around my hard drive again in the Place dialog box.

I took care to use the Direct Select tool to select one of these new images before I copied it to my clipboard via Edit > Copy. But when I click on the image that I want to replace and choose Edit > Paste, InDesign ignores the selection and puts my pasted image in its own frame in the center of the page. Argh! Is there no pleasing this program?

Chill, dude, everything was copasetic until the pasting part. To replace one image with another in your clipboard, leaving its frame untouched, select the target frame (not the image) with the Direct Select tool, and choose Edit > Paste Into (not Edit > Paste).

Colorize a Grayscale

I need to place the same grayscale image several times in InDesign and colorize it using different swatches. However, when I select one of these placed grayscales and click on a color only the frame background fills with a color. The black pixels are still there, unaltered.

To get the effect you're after — that monotone look — use the Direct Select tool (instead of the Selection tool) to select the image, and then apply your color. Now the color affects the pixels in the frame instead of the frame (background) itself. This works with TIFF and PSD grayscale images as well as bi-level (black-and-white, no shades of gray) bitmap images.

You can achieve a fake duotone of sorts by applying a different color to the frame background, using the regular Selection tool.


If your grayscale image has transparency, you won't be able to colorize it in InDesign.

Set an Illustrator File to Overprint

When a placed Illustrator image is selected, the Overprint Fill and Overprint Stroke options in the Attributes palette are grayed out. I need them on!

InDesign can only overprint its own strokes and fills, not those of imported graphics. To make sure an Illustrator vector image will overprint everything underneath it in InDesign, set the overprints in Illustrator's own Attributes palette. InDesign will honor those settings saved with the image.

Quickly Apply Graphic Styles

There's no way in InDesign CS to save all the attributes of an object as a “style,” similar to how you can save all the text formatting commands affecting some type as a paragraph or character style. So if I decide that I like the look of a particular image frame in my publication—its stroke (weight, color and style) and maybe evenits background tint — all I have to memorize its settings and then tediously apply them, palette by palette, to the other image frames in my document.

Mastering the Eyedropper

Suppose you want to make sure that all the shadows you applied to objects in your document carry the same settings (color, blend mode, blur amount, and so on).

If you use the Eyedropper to do this without changing its default settings, you'll apply not just the source frame's Shadow, but also its stroke weight, color, transparency, and more.

Before you use the Eyedropper, always double-click its icon in the toolbox to set its options. Attributes that are checked in the Eyedropper Options dialog are settings that the tool will pick up and apply. If you want it to ignore something, click the checkbox next to the attribute to turn it off. Be sure to twirl open the category triangles to review and set subcategory attributes.

In our “Make consistent shadows” example, you would open the Eyedropper Options dialog and uncheck all the main categories: Stroke, Fill, Paragraph, Character and Transparency. Checking/unchecking a main category also checks/unchecks all its subcategories. Then you'd twirl open the Transparency category and click a checkmark next to the Shadow setting.

After you've set the Options, click OK to close dialog. When you click with the Eyedropper on a shadowed object, it only picks up the Shadow settings and ignores all other attributes of the object. And when you click with the loaded Eyedropper cursor on other objects in your document, it applies only the Shadow and leaves all other attributes untouched. If the object already had a shadow, the Eyedropper changes it to the Shadow settings of the source object if necessary.

You have hit on one of the best reasons to upgrade to InDesign CS2: Object Styles. But until your boss wakes up, smells the coffee, and orders you the upgrade, you may need to settle for the Eyedropper tool (the keyboard shortcut is, of course, “I”) to eliminate a lot of the tedium. Click on the “source” frame (not the image or text inside the frame) with the Eyedropper to pick up all the settings the Eyedropper is capable of. You'll see the Eyedropper cursor “fill up” (turn black and flip direction) with the information. Now you can click on the other frames in your document with the loaded Eyedropper to apply those settings.

The Eyedropper is cool (even if you are using CS2) because you don't have to bother selecting objects before you click on them, and it “remembers” what it's loaded with if you switch to another spread or even another document! However, this powerful tool in your arsenal warrants a bit of study; see the sidebar “Mastering the Eyedropper” on page 125.

For all its glory, the Eyedropper can't pick up everything (it ignores image scale and offset, rotation, corner effects and table settings, among other attributes) nor does it create anything close to your yearning for a “graphic style sheet.” For that kind of power you'll have to pay for the upgrade or check out Woodwing's Smart Styles plug-in (www.woodwing.com) or Teacup Software's TableStyles (www.teacupsoftware.com).


To “empty” the Eyedropper on the fly so you can load it up with another object's attributes, hold down the Option/Alt key, and keep it held down while you click on the new source object.

Then, when you do get CS2, check out Object Styles. The fastest way to make an object style is to format a single object (like the frame you described above) and then Option/Alt-click on the New Object Style button in the Object Styles palette.

  • Creative Edge
  • Create BookmarkCreate Bookmark
  • Create Note or TagCreate Note or Tag
  • PrintPrint