Applying an Object Style when Placing an Image
One of the most frustrating aspects of object styles is that you cannot apply one automatically when placing an image. It should work… just select an object style in the Object Styles panel and then place one or more images. Each frame that InDesign makes (when placing the image) should get that object style applied to it.
But it doesn’t work. Instead, the Object Styles panel always reverts back to None. I never knew why until this week’s InDesign Conference here in Seattle. It’s a bug! Oh, well that explains it.
Fortunately, Michael Ninness (InDesign’s senior product mgr) mentioned a little “easter egg” in InDesign CS4 that (sort of) fixes the bug! He calls it an easter egg because it’s an undocumented and not-officially-supported-by-Adobe feature. But it’s a very, very helpful feature!
The trick (and yes, this only works in CS4) is to make a new object style and call it “Place Gun Frame”. That’s it. As long as you have a custom object style that is called Place Gun Frame, it will be applied to any image that is placed using the place cursor. (The term “place gun” goes back to early PageMaker days; lots of folks call it that… but only where owning guns is legal.)
Okay, now for a caveat: Michael thinks there is an undocumented bug in this undocumented feature. He has had problems getting it to work when the Place Gun Frame object style includes a definition for Frame Fitting Options. Somehow the frame fitting options in the object style conflict with the place cursor or something… However, when I try it, the feature works great, with or without Frame Fitting Options specified in the style. So there you go.
[One side note: I spent 45 minutes between last night and early this morning trying to get this tip to work. I was incredibly frustrated. I ended up calling Mr. Ninness to make sure I had the tip right. He walked me through it and then said, "You are using CS4, right?" I assured him I was, and then... I realized I was in CS3. I had both versions running at the same time and was just too blurry-eyed to notice. Wow. Time for stronger coffee.]