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Adobe InDesign CC for Beginners

Lesson 15 of 34

Strokes and Arrows

Erica Gamet

Adobe InDesign CC for Beginners

Erica Gamet

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Lesson Info

15. Strokes and Arrows


  Class Trailer
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1 Class Introduction Duration:01:51
2 Document Set-Up Duration:15:39
3 Panels Duration:11:46
4 Toolbox Duration:08:22
5 The Adobe® Workspace Duration:05:17
6 Shortcuts Duration:05:33
7 Saving Files Duration:05:37
8 Guides Duration:12:42
9 Text Frames Duration:08:13
10 Shapes, Fill and Stoke Duration:07:43
11 Arranging and Modifying Shapes Duration:08:31
14 Pencil, Smooth and Erase Tools Duration:05:46
15 Strokes and Arrows Duration:13:33
17 Placing Graphics Duration:08:05
18 Placing PDFs Duration:04:22
19 Placing Multiple Files Duration:06:14
21 Specialty Frames Duration:05:52
22 The Links Panel Duration:21:34
23 High Quality Display Duration:06:48
24 Clipping Paths Duration:13:08
25 Transparency Duration:09:41
26 The Gap Tool Duration:03:55
27 Color & Swatches Panels Basics Duration:16:38
28 Eyedropper Tool Duration:10:03
29 Gradient Swatches Duration:05:31
30 Character Panel Duration:23:38
31 Paragraph Panel Duration:15:09
32 Spelling & Autocorrect Duration:06:42
33 Text Frame Options Duration:08:10
34 Printing and Exporting Duration:16:16

Lesson Info

Strokes and Arrows

They made some arrow improvements in the last couple versions, I don't remember what version it came in on, but before when we made an arrow, and if we had an arrow head, we were stuck with the size of the arrow head being relevant to however the arrow was created. It was built it, we couldn't change it. Now can actually change the size of the arrow heads on a stroke, which is nice. So, we'll look at that as well. And the other thing I wanna look at, let's come back to the same, to this green item here. I'm going to, on this here, I'm gonna go ahead and change on the Stroke panel, I'm gonna change the stroke to actually have a color. I need to make sure, that I am choosing the stroke, in the little stroke icon here. Let's give make it actually really big. I wanna show you what's happening, as I can see, actually let's not make it green, let's change that really quickly. I'm just gonna choose one of the built in colors here, which is black. I can see what's happening is, it's sort of bl...

eeding onto this other page, which is not what I wanted. As I made this shape stroke thicker, you notice it's growing on either side of that particular shape. If I turn on the edges, I can see that this little line here, that's the center of the frame, and I had it lined up with the orange next to it, so that those two colors ended at the same spot down the page. But what's happening when I'm creating a larger stroke, is it's growing half on either side of that particular line, that sort of skeleton that is the framework of that image. It's growing either way, and I didn't really want that because I don't want it to go onto the other page, and I didn't want it to come down into this document. Well that's because, I have three different options for how a stroke is aligned in a shape in InDesign. By default, it aligns it to the center, so you can kinda see that this little drawing here, this little icon, says that we wanna align it to the center and everything, every time we change the size, half of it goes on one side, half of it on the other. If you're used to working in Illustrator, this is how it's been forever. I can also align it to the inside, which is what I want in this case, or I may want to align it to the outside. Sometimes you got your frame set up, and you realize you wanna add the thick stroke, but you don't want it to overlap any image you've already got inside that frame. But, I want to change it to the inside. Now, as I change the size of that stroke, the stroke is growing only inward, from that particular item, which is what I wanted. Now in this case, because I have it off in the bleed, I don't want anything at the top, all I was hoping was to get a stroke here along the bottom. I can go ahead and just move this item up a little bit. I'm just gonna drag it up so that it hides away here. I've only got it on the left there. Now, I can drag it underneath and make sure it's hiding underneath these other objects, but that's gonna be a lot of extra work, because you'll see, 'cause it's a transparent item and you'll still be able to see that stroke. I just wanted to show you what happens when we change how the stroke sits, in relation to the frame itself. In this case, I want it to grow inwards and not outwards as well. Alright, so let's see, well we got that one, do some arrowheads as well. Let's actually see how these arrows are built. When I created these, these are just simple strokes. I can tell that when I roll over this item, hopefully you can see the little blue item that's here, that one blue line that's there, is all that's really making up this particular object. It is just a stroke that I drew with the line tool, probably. Probably not even the pen tool. I can use the pen tool to create an item if I want to. I can just click and then drag and if I hold down the Shift key again, I get a nice 45 degree angle if that's what I want, and I have a line. But, I could also use the line tool to do that. The reason I don't use the line tool as often, is because the line tool let's you draw out one line and that's it. If I click and drag again, and let's say I actually have some stroke assigned to that, so I'm drawing it but we don't see it, that's because I have a fill, but I drew a line, so there really isn't a fill. I'm gonna switch that, so I can actually see what I'm drawing. Because I used the line tool, I actually have two completely separate items here that we can see don't fit together really well, right? They might overlap, they might not fit together really well at all, that's when the pen tool comes in handy. If you want it to have a continuous stroke from here down, we would use the pen tool. In this case, all I wanted was a simple line, so I want that line, and that looks good. Actually, I'm going to copy that, we're gonna put that in another document here. Just so we're not trying to work with all the other items that were on that page. So basically, all I did in that case, to make that arrow, is I just drew a line with the line tool. Then I'm gonna come into the Strokes panel and I'm just gonna go ahead and beef up the size of that stroke. In that case, I had a pretty thick stroke over here, I don't even know what I had. Let's look at that, I can look in the Strokes panel, it's 14 point. So I come in here, that's about what we have here. I wanna add an arrow head to that, so that's where I come over here, I can choose down below, what type of line I want that to be, so there's a few to choose from. Not a whole lot, but a few. But you might want something like a dash line, or even a wavy line. We can play with that as well, different types of lines. I'm gonna go back to that plain, just a solid line. I can choose one of two arrow heads, where I started the line and where I finished the line. And then if you do them wrong, we can click this and it will swap them for you. In this case, I knew I drew from the bottom upwards, so the end is the top here, so the end is where I want this arrowhead to be. So, click that. That's a nice looking line, that's fine, but I wanted sort of the fat arrowheads that I have over here. That's where this newish, item, where I can scale the size of the arrowhead comes in handy. Now, you notice I have this item here, I can link them so that as I grow the start of one, the end will also grow with it. If I have that deselected I can choose just the arrowhead by itself. So this case, let's just make it 150%, so now I just made that fatter, without having to make the stroke fatter. I can just play with that till I get it to something I like, so I like that. That's simply how I made that stroke, and the nice thing is now it's just a line that I can use the Direct Selection tool, to manipulate. In fact, if I wanted to just move it, I can. See again, sometimes you wanna click off of it, and roll over and click on the point when it's that hollow point. Now I can change that, I can change the angle, it's not stuck to 45 degrees, 'cause I'm not holding down the Shift key. I can come in here, move that around, or I can even do things like manipulate it with the pen tool, and I can grab this item here. Let's come in here and grab just this handle that's here, come on let me do it. I'm gonna use the pen tool and I'm gonna go ahead and, come on, I'm gonna select this tool, let's see if I can get in there and grab that, and I want to go ahead and add a point to that, so that I can start bending that line somewhere else. I rolled over it, created that extra point that's here, use the Direct Selection tool, to grab that point, and now I can grab that and drag that out. If I don't like that it's the hard corner point, I can convert that direction point and make a nice curve to it as well. If I didn't do this in the beginning, now obviously, if I wanted that curved one, and I was thinking about that in the beginning, I would of used the pen tool to create that. Just come in here, click and hold, and drag out, and make that same sort of beefy line there, give it a color, and then go back into the Strokes panel and give that an arrowhead. Let's come in here and give it the curved arrowhead and also let's give it an endpoint as well. Something like that. Now if you notice, I think that looks odd, even though they're both set at 100%, so for whatever reason the arrowhead, this particular arrowhead, looks a lot smaller than that endpoint. So, I might make this 80%, while I make the arrowhead 150%. I can just size that until it looks how I need it. Whoops, let's redo that. Get out of the zoom there. Right, so I can go ahead and create, whoops, or I can keep adding to it if I accidentally click off to the side. I want to make sure I select off of it, and again once I select that item, I'm working with the bounding box itself. I do have some options. Maybe I don't like exactly where that's pointing, I can go ahead and change this, so I can move it that way, I'm not changing the arc in any way, it's keeping that same arc, but I'm moving the bounding box to change where that ends up. One thing I use that a lot for is when I'm doing call outs. Say I have this item here, and I have a small little arrowhead on that, and let's just make this a little bit thicker, and I'm going to use this and I want to point out certain things in my document. I want to keep using this over and over again, I'll often Option or Alt click on this and create several different arrows. And then, all I need to do, is drag where these items sit to actually get them to point different places. So maybe, I wanna make it shorter and point over here. Or, maybe I want to take this and point to the left instead of the right, I can grab this upper left hand corner and drag it across till it actually flips over. I'm using that same exact stroke, I don't have to draw them every time. I'm just playing with that bounding box, but every time it redraws the arrowhead and the stroke itself, so that I still have the same thickness of line and my arrowhead still has the same percentage in relation to the actual stroke itself. All of the strokes have actually stayed at 4 point still, nothing has changed there. Like I said, there's some other things in the Strokes, we can choose, and you'll see this when you're creating paragraph borders. That's something you can do is add a border around paragraphs. If you're working with tables ever, a lot of different places that we get to choose a stroke. Maybe if you want a line behind text, that's called paragraph rule. These are things that I won't cover in this segment, or in this course, but you can look up. Just other places where lines appear, you're going to have the same options. For instance, what type of line you might have. For instance, if you want a dashed line, this is where you would choose it. And then, with the dash lines, we have an entirely different option, it gave us this down below here, when we do a dashed or a dotted, we can choose what color the gap will be, so the gap between the dash or the dot. In this case, this dashed line is going to be this orange color that we've chosen, but I can choose a different color for the gap itself. So now, whoops, let's redo that. There we go, I wanted to zoom in. And now, it colored the gap, that green color, if I want. I can also, select by default, it takes the size of the dash in the gap were exactly the same. I can make it so that my dash might be longer and it will automatically assume your gap is 18 point, unless you point something in there. So maybe I put the gap is 10 point, and if I leave that it will continually repeat that pattern. I can put a second one that was maybe 12 points, and eight points, so you can have up to three separate sets of dash and gap that you repeat. Let's keep it simple though, and make the dash 18 point and the gap is 10 point. So when I hit Tab, it automatically does that for me. I come in here, I can see that my dashes are longer than the gap itself. And again, that's all because I chose this dashed line, if I choose the solid, all those options, obviously, go away. Alright so those are grayed out, I can't use any of those. And there are, like I say, several different ones to choose from and there's also, if you want some fun, you can look up how to customize the strokes that are there, so you can add some custom strokes as well. You're not stuck with just the ones that are. There are some hidden Easter eggs that put things like little footprints and paw prints, so that's something fun to Google when you have nothing else to do. You have lots of different options. And again, anything that you've created somewhere else, like if you've created lines like this in Illustrator, and bring them in, we can manipulate them in InDesign. It's just that InDesign doesn't have the tools to create many of these shapes that are here.

Class Description

Learn Basic Design Skills.

Adobe® InDesign CC® is the industry's go-to tool making for layouts that combine images and text. Learn the most efficient way to work with this indispensable software in Adobe InDesign CC for Beginners with Erica Gamet.

In this beginner-friendly class you’ll learn how to:

  • Navigate the Adobe InDesign CC workspace
  • Work with text, images, and color
  • Export and Print

Erica will show you how to execute layouts that include text, graphic elements, and images. You’ll learn basic design skills you can use to create professional-looking magazine layouts, newsletters, flyers and more.

If you want to take charge of your graphic design, Adobe InDesign CC for Beginners with Erica Gamet will get you started.

Level: Beginner, No prior Adobe InDesign experience required.

Don't have Adobe Creative Cloud yet? Get it now and save 20% so you can follow along with the course!


Adobe InDesign CC 2018



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.