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Use New Window to Hide Your Selections

Lee wrote:

Sometimes I like to use ‘undo’ to compare the difference between two ideas. The problem I have with this is that the currently selected object is always highlighted — at times, this can be distracting when trying to see how things look. Is there any way of hiding the selection?

I’ve wished for a “hide selection” feature in InDesign for years, but so far, no go. There is, however, a reasonable alternative: New Window. We’ve talked about New Window in passing during podcasts and in a few posts, but I want to emphasize the wonderful power of this feature. New Window (which you can find by choosing Window > Arrange > New Window) lets you get a new view on the same document.

There are all kinds of uses for New Window, including:

  • You could show page 1 of a long text flow in one window and page 50 in the new window; then make edits on page 1 and see how the text flows on page 50.
  • You could set up one window to show View > Proof Colors, so one file is showing RGB and the other file is showing CMYK.
  • You could have one window zoomed in to 200% and one in Fit Spread in Window; as you work on the zoomed in version, you’ll see how it looks in the whole spread.

There are likely dozens of other uses for New Window (feel free to add your own below). But one of the best (you saw this coming, didn’t you?) is to edit in one window and see the final version, without selections, in the other. For example, open a new window and put it into Preview mode (press W). Then switch back to the first window and edit away. When you do your Undo/Redo (Command/Ctrl-Z, then Command/Ctrl-Shift-Z) moves, you’ll see before and after in both windows — one with the selection and one in its pure, unsullied state.

By the way, you’re not limited to just one additional New Window; you could have a half dozen open at a time if you want, if you dare, if you have the monitor space.

Of course, another way of doing this is to temporarily set the color of the current layer (by double-clicking on the layer in the Layers panel) to White. As Anne-Marie pointed out in a previous podcast, this makes all the selection edges and handles invisible against a white, Paper background. But of course, it also means that it’s almost impossible to actually select the edge handle of any object, so it’ll likely drive you insane if you leave it set to White.

Now, if I may just add one wish-list item (in case anyone at Adobe is reading): I really, really wish we had the synchronized Pan and Zoom feature from Photoshop! That way, when I pan or zoom in one window, it would match that movement in the other windows. Of course, it should just be an option, but when enabled, it would be so helpful!

David Blatner

David Blatner

David Blatner is the co-founder of the Creative Publishing Network, InDesign Magazine, and the author or co-author of 15 books, including Real World InDesign. His InDesign videos at Lynda.com are among the most watched InDesign training in the world. You can find more about David at 63p.com.
David Blatner

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11 Comments on “Use New Window to Hide Your Selections

  1. The one thing I don’t like: moving a frame that’s linked to an XML file from one window to another duplicates the link in the structure pane. Logically, shouldn’t dragging the frame from one window of the document to another window of the same document be equivalent to dragging the same frame from page to page… shouldn’t it?

  2. Just a reminder for anyone who might not know, Ctrl+F6 (Cmd+F6 on the Mac?) is the keyboard shortcut for switching between open ID docs, and works similarly for open windows.

  3. Hy mr. Blatner

    Please tell me: is there any nested styles in Quark XPress 7.31?
    Please, an answer is great.
    Many thanks.

  4. David,

    Thanks so much for the great answer! The New Window function is something I didn’t know about and will definitely come in really handy in future, especially for previewing without selections.

  5. Many thanks for the answer Mr. Blatner. I`ll search for this problem. I like InDesign most of all, but I have to work a newspaper with Quark. It`s pretty difficult not having nested styles like in In Design.
    Anyway, I admire your tips and your work.
    Liviu, Romania

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