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Lesson 20 from: Adobe InDesign CC Intermediate: Beyond the Basics

Erica Gamet

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Lesson Info

20. Captions

Lesson Info


All right, let's talk a little bit about captions. I'm actually gonna close up some of these. I'm gonna save this one, just in case we need to come back to that, save that out to the desktop here. And I'm gonna just create a new document. In fact, I'm gonna go ahead and change the size of that page, and I have a couple different ways to do that. I've been going back into the new document, or sorry, the document setup to do that, but I can also come down here to the Pages panel at the bottom, and I can go ahead and just say, oh, actually it needs to be a custom size, or I can change it here to tablet, or whatever, I can change the size here. I can also go into the Page tool, and when I click on the Page tool, I get some other options up here, and I can just switch the orientation if I want. And also, I wanna make sure that my master, oh, sorry, I have to, ugh, let me undo that really quickly. I have that primary text frame, and I really don't want that on there. Turn off that primary te...

xt frame. It remembered the last thing I did. Pages tool, I'm gonna come in here and change the orientation to wide, there we go. So, all I want to do is switch that and get back to a wide one here. And then, I'm gonna go ahead and just put in a few images. I'll come in here and grab a few of these images that we've been using, and let's actually go with just a little bit of, just the black and white ones is great. Whoops, and I have Show Import Options on. I said I usually turn it off, because we don't really have any choice. This is what happens when you import four of them and you leave that on. I had to click Okay through all those dialogue boxes. And I'm gonna go ahead and just place each of these individually. Not really worried about the size or anything like that. But I do wanna leave a little bit of space for captions. And I'm holding down the Shift key, 'cause I wanted to make sure that I have some wide images here. As you can see, these didn't quite fit. I need to do the fitting. I'm gonna fill the frame proportionally, just so I have this blown up a little bit. And I wanna create automatic captions, and the nice thing is is you can have static captions in your InDesign file. So, if I have images here and I wanna place captions underneath each of those, I can use Automatic Captions. So, I'm gonna come down to the Object menu, down to Captions, and I don't have anything selected, because I need to set this up first. So I'm gonna do Caption Setup, and I can add some text before or after if I want to, and I can pull down any metadata that I have inside these files. Now, there's not a lot of metadata in these files, so I'm gonna stick to just keeping the name, the file name. So, we're gonna place the file name automatically below each of these images, without me having to actually go and create text frames and enter in that information. Just by having the images on the page, it can do that for me. Now, I could go ahead, like I said, I could add text before and after, and I can choose from metadata that's contained in these photos. I'm just gonna use the name. I can tell it where this needs to sit, so below the image. It's gonna automatically create a text frame right below the image, and it's going to butt up against that, but I'm gonna give it a little bit of an offset, so that the text doesn't run right into it, but the frame itself does. I also, if I have a paragraph style already set up, or if I wanna create one here, I can. That is my captions style. And I can also choose to throw it on a different layer, if I want. If I have a separate layer and I want the captions to be on their own layer, I could do that as well. And I could group the caption with the image. I'm not going to just yet. I'm gonna show you why you may or may not wanna do that. So, I'm gonna say Okay, and that was just to set it up. So now, I need to actually generate the captions for these images, so I'm gonna select the images, go under Object, back to Captions, and say Generate Live Caption, and what a live caption's going to do is it's going to grab the name of that file or that metadata. If that metadata changes, it will update the caption for me. Now, in this case, I'm working with the file name. If I go out and change the file name, that will change. Otherwise, I'm not too worried about that live caption. But a live caption just means, if the metadata changes, like if you have a description in there and you decide to change what it says, it will automatically update for you. So I'm gonna say generate the live caption, and it went ahead and created the captions here. In fact, this is really small, I know, because it didn't have a paragraph style to choose from, so it went ahead with the basic paragraph style. So, I'm gonna actually, I'm gonna undo that really quickly, and I just wanna create a new style on the fly before I generate those captions. So, go back to Object and let's go to Captions, generate the live caption. Ugh, I need to do the setup first, I apologize. Object, go back to Captions, Caption Setup. I need to tell it a paragraph style, so I'm gonna create one on the fly here. I'll call this Captions, and I just wanna make it kinda big so I can see what's going on. We'll do the Gotham Book 18 point, great. We'll call it that, that's all set up. Now I'm going to generate those captions. Come back down to Captions, generate the live caption, and now we have that set up. And it has a little bit of breathing room, so it gave us that little bit of offset in there. And it went ahead and put the caption, the name of the file, underneath each. Now, if I were to select this frame and move it down, just by using my down arrow key, it automatically says "No intersecting link." It now no longer knows which image it's supposed to be captioning. That's why it puts it right against the frame. So, as soon as it does, it knows what it belongs to. In fact, if I were to move this down, as soon as it hits this item here, it automatically changes to grab the metadata from this image down here. So, I'm just gonna move this back up really quickly till it touches there and reattaches. Now, if you don't like where that sits and you do wanna move that down, you can, but like I said, you'll lose the intersecting link, unless you select both, go up under the Object menu, and hit Group. And if I do that, it now knows that that's attached to that particular image. And that was that choice where it says "group with the image." You could've done that in the beginning, so it's automatically grouped. Even though it's sitting really close here, it's grouped, but then that way, if I accidentally move it away, it won't forget which file it was supposed to be attached to. I can also, at any point, come up under captions and then just go ahead and, on these captions that I have, I can create those, I can convert those to static captions. So, if I do that, it doesn't matter if I move it away, it still remains, it grabbed that information, created that caption, and now I've told it, go ahead and stay like that. The problem is, if I update the metadata, these won't update. Static ones won't update, the live captions will. So, just keep that in mind. The other thing you need to be aware of is that this is actually a specialized text. It actually sees it, sort of, as one character. I can't select just the one character, you'll notice. It sees it as one. In fact, if this text frame were really small, so if I were to zoom in here, and this text frame was really small, we can see that it's actually just gonna squish everything together. It's never gonna reflow that text or push down to the next line at all. Because it sees it as one character, it kind of bunches it all up. So keep that in mind if you have really narrow images that you're putting that on. You may get something that looks a little squashed. So, it is, but that's only because it's the live caption. Once you create a static caption, it's fine, this is now individual, and we can work with these letters individually, and we won't have that problem when this squishes down, because it is now individual letters. So, we'll get reflowed text, but we won't squash it all up together. So keep that in mind when you're working with those live captions. But it's a great way to just suddenly throw information from an image on. So if you have, you know, images that you wanna put in a grid, you wanna use that gridify, or the gap tool, and everything that we did, and you want those in there, you can create those. And if, so let's say you've got somebody else who's put the photos together already and put the description on there, then you can drop that right in here and you've got that description ready to go, and you don't even have to type anything into that in InDesign.

Ratings and Reviews

Marianne Stewart

I've been using InDesign for a decade, and decided to take this class to see what else I could learn. Wow! Erica taught me ways to do repetitive tasks easier, faster, and cleaner. She showed me many, many ways that I wasn't using InDesign to it's fullest potential (and now I am!). Her teaching style is very thorough and in-depth, but also easy to follow and understand. I highly recommend this class!


Great class, but as a former professional typesetter (before InDesign, PageMaker and QuarkXpress), Erica uses the term "Justified Left" incorrectly! (sorry!) There is no such thing. Justified refers only to text that spans the width of it's column from edge to edge. The spacing in-between words will vary. Used primarily in newsprint where the columns widths are narrow. The other proper terms for text alignment are: Flush Left Ragged Right (or) Left-Aligned Flush Right Ragged Left (or) Right-Aligned Centered Justified The oddball is "Justified". It's the only option where word spacing is variable. This is the least desirable because it creates "Rivers and Valleys" of white space that distract the eye. Letter and word spacing can be tightened or tweaked to improve the overall look, but at cost in time.


Great class and very informative. Erica’s a good instructor. Given the volume of information presented I’d like to see class materials included. It makes the course much easier to follow.

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