Answers to Reader Questions on InDesign

By LaurenMarie

I received an email from a reader recently (dear reader, if you don’t mind being identified, I would be glad to add your name and a link to your blog! Let me know…)

As a new InDesign user (we switched very recently from good old Quark), I have an idea for an article for you. I’m sure InDesign is a whole lot better, more advanced etc, but there’s some very basic stuff, that used to take me seconds in Quark, that I can’t even find how to do in InDesign (granted, I didn’t have time to even look around it for too long). I mean, really basic stuff… For example – I can’t figure out how to copy/paste an image from one box to another so it would land in the same place, you know what I mean? Like if I have a step’n'repeat, and all I need to change is one image on all items… Or how to get to stuff that’s underneath something else.

For any of you that are also new to InDesign, I thought you might benefit from my response, below, a little more organized than my response to her.

Most important: remember that InDesign is an Adobe product. Many of the shortcuts from Illustrator are the same in InDesign.

There are loads of beginner InDesign articles on Creative Curio. For starters, check these out:

I highly suggest taking the time to memorize the InDesign shortcuts; they will make your job so much faster and easier once you get them down (you can even customize them with a preset to match the Quark shortcuts if you want, though you may want to just get used to ID shortcuts because that’s what many people reference when they talk about shortcuts, plus they are similar to other Adobe shortcuts anyway).

InDesign Move Object Stacking Order

For getting to stuff that’s underneath other things, try using layers (which you can lock if you don’t want to select or accidentally move its contents), or if you don’t want to bother with layers, select the
objects on top and hit Cmd + [ to move them down (Cmd + Shift + [ to move them all the way to the bottom in one quick stroke).

InDesign Layers

I recently learned an easy way to switch things on layers: go to Layers panel and with the objects to move selected, drag the colored box on the right to the layer you want the objects on.

InDesign Step and Repeat

Step and repeat is under Edit>Step and Repeat. Nice little dialog box with the settings and (joy!) PREVIEW! (for CS3 at least, not sure about previous versions).

InDesign Contextual Menu - Paste in Place

InDesign Paste in Place (shortcut)

Paste in Place (right click and choose Paste in Place, or Opt + Cmd + Shift + V, or Edit>Paste in Place… there are multiple ways to do almost everything!) is another really helpful command to know. I use this a lot, especially for transferring things from one layer to another.

InDesign Contextual Menu (Text)

Get to know your right click contextual menu! It will be your best friend. It has quick access to things like special characters, spaces and markers, grids and guides, spell checker, etc. And remember it’s context-sensitive, so depending on what you have selected/where your cursor is (type, object, nothing, table, etc), the menu will be different. All the Adobe programs (at least the important ones — Illy, ID and PS ;) ) are like this.

For all the other InDesign articles on Creative Curio, check out the InDesign tag.

I would love to hear more of your questions! It would make an easy article for me to write and hopefully it will be very helpful for you. I know a lot about InDesign, but I’m never exactly sure what to share; what is too basic and what are things that you struggle with?