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Lesson 4 from: Adobe InDesign CC for Beginners

Erica Gamet

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Lesson Info

4. Toolbox

Lesson Info


Alright, so let's talk about the tool panel while I got this open. We're not gonna go over every tool, for sure, in this course. There are a lot of tools and we're just gonna focus on a couple right now and a couple more as we get into each section individually. The two I want you to focus on to start with are the two right here at the top. So we have the Selection Tool and the Direct Selection Tool. You'll notice there's a little letter after each of those. Those are the keyboard shortcuts that are standard for these particular tools. I generally don't use them because if you'll notice, they're very simple keyboard shortcuts. To clarify, I don't use the keyboard shortcuts for them. I use the tools, most definitely. The keyboard shortcuts though, are simple. 'A', well if you're cursor is sitting in a text box and you click 'A' thinking you're going to switch to the Direct Selection Tool, you may just typed 'A' in a text frame. So for me, I tend not to use the built-in shortcuts that ar...

e here. But I use the tools all the time. So you've got two different selection tools: the Selection Tool and the Direct Selection Tool. You'll sometimes hear them called the solid tool or the solid arrow and the hollow arrow, or the black and the white arrow. All the same thing. The Selection Tool, what it does is it lets you select the frame or the container that we're working on. As we start creating frames in a little while, you'll see the difference. So if I'm talking about the actual thing that holds something in like a graphics frame or a text frame, I use the Selection Tool for that and that selects the content. Because everything in InDesign has to be in some kind of container. It's not like in something like Word where you just start typing and it's there. You need to tell it, this is a frame, it contains text, and then put text in it. This is a frame that contains image and then we put an image in it. So everything has to be in a frame. So when I need to select that frame itself, I use the Selection Tool. The Direct Selection Tool is what I use when I want to select the content of that frame. So if I want to select an image that's sitting inside of a frame, I would use that. I also use it to get to the elements that make up the frame itself. When we start creating shapes in a little while, that will make more sense. But if I wanna actually get to the nitty gritty and the bones of the frame and do something with it, manipulate it, I'll use the Direct Selection Tool. The other tool we're gonna use a lot is the Type Tool. So any time we wanna create a text, we use the Type Tool. If you notice, one of the things I hit in here, if you click this little black triangle, which exists on some of these tools, that means that there are other tools that live underneath that tool. In this case, we have Type on a Path Tool. I don't know that we'll have time to get to Type on a Path but just know that if you create a shape using any of the tools or some of the drawing tools that are here, if we create a shape, we can then put text that follows along that shape. That's what Type on a Path Tool is. But for now, we're just gonna use the Type Tool. Some of the other tools down at the bottom are Fill and Stroke and we'll get into that when we start looking at shapes and when we work with color as well. So this all pertains to Fill and Stroke. The last two at the bottom are your preview or what your viewing modes are. So there's a normal viewing mode and that basically is what we've been using. Normal viewing mode by default. The keyboard shortcut for that is 'w' and I do use that one. Again, unless my cursor is sitting in a text frame somewhere but I do use that one a lot. The two modes it's switching between is the normal view, which let's me see everything that's on my page, the area off to the side here, which is known as the Paste Board. So this is sort of no man's land. It's not going to show up on the document but I can put things off to the side here and work with them. Sometimes I need things to bleed off the side and it comes into that Paste Board area. I also have my margins that I set up and the bleed marks and all that. So in this normal viewing mode, I see everything that's in my document, even things that aren't going to print. We have options along the way to hide things on layers and all those will show up. My guides that are here will also show up but these are not necessarily things that will show up when I print or export to a pdf. But normal viewing mode let's me see all of that. Down under here I have a couple different preview modes. I'm gonna move this up a little bit and I'm gonna click on that. I got the little triangle that shows me that there's more. Preview is the one that we'll probably use the most. So we click Preview and everything that doesn't actually print won't show up when we export, and when we hit Print, goes away. So this is a great way to view the page without any of the distractions of things we've thrown off to the side, or guides or anything like that. We can just look at the document and see how that's going to look. And that's a great tool to use also if you put something on the page, you're quite certain it's there, and you export to pdf and it's missing. It may be that you told it, don't print that. Well, by turning on that viewing mode we can see that that is set to not print. Some of the other options under that same button are Bleed and because we set up a Bleed, now I have this extra space here that shows me that there's a Bleed. In fact, I'm going to jump over to this other document that's here, and I'm going to do the same thing. I'm going to tell it Bleed, and what that shows me is that this image that I want to have come to the edge of the page, I can see this black line, that's where my page ends, and I can also see that I do have enough of that image going all the way to the Bleed mark. So I turn the Bleed mark on usually just to make sure that my image does actually go to the edge. Because I'll tell you what happens a lot of times is that we'll have an image here and it needs to go all the way to the edge but it doesn't. By setting it up with that Bleed mark on, I can see that this white space is here and I may end up with white space on my finished document as well. So I just wanna make sure that everything goes to the edge. Gonna jump back to the other document and look at a couple more. We also have the Slug but we didn't set up a Slug so we're not gonna worry about that. We also have Presentation mode. Presentation mode takes away everything, the tools, it takes away everything that doesn't print and all you see is that particular page that's here. I have a black background. I can actually change it by hitting 'g'. I can change it to the gray background. Or 'w' or 'b' for back to black. So I can go ahead and see what those pages look like without any distraction. To get out of that, just hit the escape key. If I jump over to this other page that we have, this other document, and I go back to that Presentation mode I can now see it without any of the distractions of the pages themselves or anything. I can just use the arrow keys to scroll through. Now you notice we have wide pages. I have them two side by side. Those are those facing pages and because I know this was going to print, I did set that one up as facing pages. It's a little bit more complex than anything we're going to create in this course but I do wanna show you what's possible. So with the Presentation mode on, I can show whoever I need to show what I created without being able to actually select anything, accidentally move anything, or anybody being distracted by anything off in the margins. So I'm gonna hit Escape to that. I can go back to our plain, boring document that's here right now. Yeah, we're trying to keep the distractions at a minimum, and I'm going to reset this to preview, simply because when I jump back and forth using the 'w' key, I want it to jump between preview and normal. So that's our viewing mode. Again, I wanna move this panel off to the side and just dock it into the side here.

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.

Student Work