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Lesson 3 from: Adobe InDesign CC for Beginners

Erica Gamet

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Lesson Info

3. Panels

Next Lesson: Toolbox

Lesson Info


Once we're done with this and I know we have nothing in this document, we're gonna go ahead and save it anyway - actually no, we're not gonna save it yet, I totally lied. We're just gonna make sure that we have those parameters saved which we did, we saved that preset, and we're gonna start putting stuff in here. But I wanna make sure everybody's super comfortable with the actual environment, cause now we've made a new document, we've jumped into this environment, and we need to make sure that we're comfortable with moving around that because the first thing you notice is there are a lot of panels that sit around the document here, and that can be overwhelming especially if you're not coming from another Adobe product. If you're coming from Adobe product you're probably totally used to these panels and how to move them out of the way, and one thing I wanna show you first that people freak out when they're working and the panels are there, and suddenly they're not there like that, and t...

hat seems to be the biggest panic questions I get is where did all my panels go? Well all I did was hit the Tab key so I'm not in Text, I'm not working in Text, but I accidentally hit that Tab key, all my panels go away. So if all your panels suddenly disappear, hit the Tab key and they'll probably come back. That's also great if you want to just look at your document without the distraction of all these panels as well; hit the Tab key. And before we get started on the different panels and the tools, I told you that I would show you how to change your units of measurement, and usually when I'm working in any of my preferences which I've changed the Legacy dialog box, showed you how to do that, can show you how to change the measurement, I tend to do that with no document open. When you have no document open and you make a change to your preferences, that becomes the default behavior for all new documents you've create from that point forward. A few of them are retroactive but those are few and far between, so I basically say any time you're changing a preference, do it with no document open so it becomes the default behavior. So let's change those measurements. I'm gonna go up again InDesign menu, Preferences, on a PC it's under the Edit menu Preferences - and I'm going to come down to Units and Increments. And in here, I'm going to choose from the pull-down menu that I wanna work in Inches on my Horizontal ruler and my Vertical ruler. You can have two different measurements for each ruler if you want, or a different measurement for each ruler; that's totally fine. But in this case, I wanna make sure that I have those both set to inches. And even if I say okay and I'm working in inches, and I suddenly need to work in millimeters for some reason, I can do that, I'm just gonna zoom in here a little bit and I can see my rulers - there's my inches on the horizontal and the vertical rulers - but I can change that on the fly in this particular document. For whatever reason, maybe I need to switch to it, maybe I'm creating a layout for somebody that I'm sending something to in Europe and I need to switch to centimeters, I can do that as well. but I don't wanna change it for all new documents, just this one document, I can right-click or Control + Click on the ruler and actually change it to a different unit of measurement. You notice I have inches on the left and I have centimeters across the top, so I can do that as well. I'm gonna change that back to inches however but just know that at any time you can actually change the rulers so that they're usable for you. Alright, I'm gonna zoom out. The keyboard shortcut for that is Command or Control + Zero, and that's a great way to bring it right back to default so you can see your whole page at one time, but it's nice to be able to zoom in, and I use the Command + Space Bar or the Control + Space Bar on a PC, and that gives me the little plus and I can marquee zoom. So I can click and drag, and zoom in, and see up close. Now if you're not seeing that it's because you have a different setting turned on. I'm gonna jump back to the Preferences. So one of the keyboard shortcuts you might wanna learn is Command or Control + K, that brings the keyboard, I mean sorry the Preferences right back to us. Under General I believe, let's see where they moved this, maybe it's under Interface, sometimes I cannot remember where this is. It is the zoom, oh I'm sorry, I can get a scroll down to GPU Performance, and there is something here which I don't have on because I'm on the laptop and I don't have the proper machinery for this to be on, but if you have this on, one of your options might be Animated Zoom, and that is generally on by default. So what happens when you do the Command or Control and Space Bar, and start to drag, instead of getting this nice little marquee that I can drag around, as soon as I click the file just zooms in really close, the document zooms in really close and that's that Animated Zoom. So as I click and drag, it pulls the image closer to me, so it zooms really quickly; that's the Animated Zoom. I generally have that turned off just because it's a little shocking sometimes when you just wanna zero-in on one thing you wanna look at, and suddenly the page gets really huge, really fast, and this just gives me a little bit more control. So that's where you turn it off, under the GPU. Alright so let's look at some of the panels that we have, and even though this looks like everything along the left and the top, and the right are sort of attached to the application, they're not, they're all just floating panels that we've docked on there. In fact, you may or may not even have where the document we just created is in this tabbed situation, it may be floating so let's start with that. I'm gonna go up to the Window menu and choose Application Frame, and turn that off. And now what I have is I have just a set of floating panels, and I have the different windows that I had opened, I had this document open, and I had this document open, and they're sort of just floating and that's great if that's what you want, you can move them out of the way. If you're on a Mac this is how things used to work all the time and then many versions ago in InDesign, they gave us the option to sort of lock them together and people on Windows were used to this, this is how it's always looked, and we can have these tabbed documents, so we can bring that back. I will bring back the Application Frame and it sort of just puts everything back together except, you notice it left my Tool panel and this whole set of panels over here sort of floating, and I wanna make sure those get back where they need to be. The one at the top went back where it needs to be, it's sort of locked in but that is also a panel. So I'm gonna show you how to turn that on and off in just a second. But first let's grab this panel on the left side. This is our Tool panel or Toolbox and I'm gonna grab it just along the little gray bar at the top, and I'm gonna move it over until I get this sort of highlight, and hopefully you can see the little blue highlight on the side, and moving here, and let go and now it's pretty much attached. I can grab it and tear it off if I want to but for the most part I won't accidentally do it; it's really locked it in there. So again, put that back, lock that in. I'm gonna do the same thing with this whole group of panels over here. Just gonna slide them over to the right. Now I lose a little bit of screen real estate but I also know that those things are exactly where I need them to be as soon as I need them. I also can roll over the left edge and just sort of drag those down; let me zoom out so you can see. So I'm dragging those down and I can push it over until they become just a set of icons. I find that a little difficult just because sometimes I can't remember what the icons stand for, and they also change the icons from time to time, and so it's like I have to retrain my brain. So for me, I tend to just pull them out, and if I want a lot of colors, I'm sorry, a lot of real estate space, I can come here and just pull it out just enough. I don't have to see necessarily the whole words, I just need to pull them out enough that I can see what those panels are. So again, that's just saving me real estate space which is a great way to save some space when you are working on say a laptop. Alright so we've got our Tool panel, we've got this set of panels. Now, how did those panels get there? Those are the ones that Adobe put in there for beginners and actually this is my set so they're not gonna look exactly the same as yours, but there will be a certain set of panels that were there when you first launched the program, and again that's just the default set that's there, and we can change those and we're going to do that in just a minute. But where your panels all live if you don't see them here and you want to access them, it's up under the Window menu. So most of your panels live there under the Window menu and actually so we don't get distracted, I'm going to jump to this other document, the blank one that we made, I just wanna be focusing on the panels not the content. Under the Window menu, these are where your, this is where your panels live and you'll notice a lot of them have these little black arrows, and they have sub-menus so they're constantly kind of rearranging them. I play a little game called where are my panels every new version because they are adding new items, and they have to put them somewhere so they're constantly regrouping them into sub-menus that make sense. For instance, everything to do with Type and Tables is under the Type and Tables sub-menu. Styles are now all grouped together. If you were using old versions of them, of InDesign, you might notice that Text Styles used to be in Type and Tables, and now it's moved. So now all styles are together. So just find the panel that you need and if you can't find it, you can come in here to the Help menu and just type in the name of panel that you're looking for, and scroll down, and there's a lot with color, but we'll get Color right here and I can see that's where the window, under the Window menu is where that panel sits. So if you don't find one you like, open it up there. One of the ones that I told you about was this top one and that's the Control panel. Under the Window menu you have Control. If I turn that off, that top item completely went away; it gave me more space. But what that Control panel does is it changes, it's contextual, so it changes depending on what tool you've selected and it generally repeats information that live in other panels. But the great thing is you don't have to go find where that lives. For instance, the Type Tool which is one of the tools we're going to talk about, and we're going to use later in this course, when I click on the little T, the Type Tool over here, in fact lets tear this panel off just so we can kinda see it, sits a little more centered. When I select the Type Tool, I get by default, this little button that's turned on, and that is anything that has to do with characters, so individual characters, and when we get to Type this will become a lot clearer. But what I wanted to show you is that everything that's currently in the control panel now is actually being duplicated from the Character panel itself. So all this information in the character panel is actually repeated up here in the Control panel. Why the Control panel is helpful is that as my tools change, the Control panel changes, and then I can enter information up here instead of trying to hunt down the individual panels. If I click on this little button here, this changes to paragraph for me so everything here changes to stuff that would be found in the Paragraph panel. So that's the Control panel. I like it because I don't have to think about where the panel is, which group I've put it into because I've arranged all these panels how I want them, but sometimes I forget where they live. So it's nice to have that Control panel turn that on and off for me.

Ratings and Reviews


Fantastic course. I have used Illustrator and photoshop, but learned when under tight deadlines. We are going to begin using inDesign to publish a more extensive multipage newsletter, and I wanted to build a better knowledge foundation of this tool, rather than just diving in. The course was comprehensive and I feel that I'll be able to make a better product after taking the course.


Have loved Erica since I was a baby designer. She is a great educator, and even though I have been using ID for about 8 years, I just changed from CS6 to CC. This was a great refresher as well as a mental upgrade to new options and effects.

Gilbert Beltran

I enjoyed these classes. Learned the Indesign toolbox and picked up a few smart tricks. Erica is great at keeping up the pace and being very clear and easy to follow.

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