Have Place Cursor Fill the Margins, and Other Placing Tricks
After a decade of using InDesign, you’d think I’d know all its features. But sometimes I knew features but don’t know them now… that is, they fell out of my head somewhere along the line. That’s okay, it’s fun to keep learning (and re-learning).
So when I recently wished aloud that InDesign could fill the whole page — from margin to margin — with a text frame when I place it, Peter Spier gently reminded me that this has been part of InDesign pretty much forever: Just click with the Place cursor in the upper-left corner, where the margin guides meet. When you have a text file loaded in the Place cursor and you click, InDesign creates a frame from that point on the page (vertically) down to the bottom margin, and from the left to the right margin. That is also how it used to work in PageMaker.
I had forgotten this little fact because 99% of the time I click-and-drag with the Place cursor, not just click. Dragging lets you specify the size of the frame. Anyway, I mention all this in hopes that it will help jog the memories of people like me, or instruct beginners who may never have known that a simple click was an option.
Don’t Click a Guide
Peter went on to point out that there’s a potential problem behind the “click” method of placing: Let’s say you already have an empty frame on your page. You use File > Place to load an image or a text file, which loads the Place cursor. You hover the cursor over the empty frame, and click, expecting the image or text to flow into the frame. But sometimes it doesn’t! Sometimes InDesign makes a new frame! Why?
One reason is that there may have been a page or spread guide under your cursor. This is a particular problem in templates that have a lot of guides. If a guide happens to be under your cursor when you click, InDesign makes a new frame.
It’s also possible that the frame is locked, or on a locked layer. Or if you click-and-drag instead of clicking on the empty frame; that will also create a new frame.
Other Place Tricks
There are many other techniques you should know regarding the Place cursor, such as these previous articles:
- Place vs. REplace with Multi-item Place in InDesign
- Autoflow Text when Pasting
- Which Image is Loaded?
- Add More Images to your Multiplace Queue
- Applying an Object Style when Placing an Image
- Creating Two Or More Automatic Text Flows
- Use Type Tool Without Fear of Converting Frames
Okay some of these aren’t really about placing, but they’re good anyway.
What place cursor techniques do you want to share?