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The Transform Panel Mystery Contest Answer and Winners!

It’s time to reveal the solution—and the winner—for this month’s InDesignSecrets contest!

Here’s the question:

In the screenshot below, the image is selected. Why are there + signs next to the X and Y values in the Transform panel and what do they mean?


The answer is that the placed image—not the frame—was selected with the Direct Selection tool. When you select image content in this way, by default the Transform Panel reports the offset of the content from the top left corner of its frame. So, the panel was showing the distance from the top left of the frame to the center of the image (because the center reference point was selected in the Transform panel).


In the image above, the frame was set to fit the content, so you can’t see the frame edge when the content is selected. Below is an example where the frame and the image content aren’t kiss-fit. It will make understanding the concept of frame offsets easier to understand.

The tomato image is selected, and the selection proxy point (the grid of nine squares on the left) in this case is the upper left corner. So, the X+ and Y+ fields are measuring the distance of the upper left corner of the selection — the image’s bounding box — from the upper left corner of the frame that it’s pasted into.


By looking at the tomato image’s bounding box (cyan), you can see that the image is indented from its frame (red). It’s a little offset from the left side of the frame and the top edge of the frame. As the Control panel reports, its X offset is exactly .2127 inches and its Y offset is exactly .204 inches. Got it?

And the genius winners of this contest are…

Marc Biesmans

Rhiannon Miller

Both win a copy of Mastermatic, the awesome add-on that lets you connect master pages to paragraph styles and object styles!

Thanks to everyone who entered, and be on the lookout for another contest with a new great prize next month!

Mike Rankin

Mike Rankin

Editor in Chief of, InDesign Magazine, and Author of LinkedIn Learning courses on InDesign, Illustrator, GIMP, Inkscape, and Adobe Dimension.
Mike Rankin

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