InDesign tip : #19

ok, here’s another follow-up post to cover stuff you weren’t told the first time around. InDesign tip : #12 showed how to place multiple images — a really brilliant feature we’ve had since CS4. that tip showed how to load a bunch of images into the cursor and place them one at a time throughout your document.

this tip is about the other cool trick — placing all images on the page in one hit. the images are arranged in a nice, neat grid which makes it a perfect technique for creating contact sheets.

first, grab all your images :
screen grab showing loading multiple images in the place cursor

as usual, your cursor will show a counter and a ghosted version of the first image. click and drag to begin making a frame (this will be in the proportions of your first image) before letting go of the mouse button, use your up and right arrows to add rows and columns to make a grid :
screen grab showing grid being drawn

now you can drag the grid to whatever proportions you like. if you need to remove rows or columns, just use your down and left arrows. when you’re happy with the way your grid looks, let go of the mouse button and your images will all be placed, in order, in the new grid :
screen grab of final grid with all images in place

what you end up with is a whole bunch of individual frames (not a grouped grid). only enough frames are created for the number of images you are placing — so, if you draw a 12-frame grid but only have 10 images loaded, only ten frames are created. if your grid isn’t big enough to hold all your images, the remaining images remain loaded in the cursor ready to be placed elsewhere.

but that’s not all…
if you find the grid you’ve drawn isn’t quite right, just undo (command-z) — all the frames disappear and all the images are reloaded into the cursor — ready to try again. you can change the spaces between the frames while you’re drawing the grid by using the command key with your arrows. and if you hold command-shift before you start drawing your grid — you’ll get a grid with the same columns, rows and spaces as the last grid you drew.
cool, eh?

but wait, that’s (still) not all…
this isn’t just for when you’re placing images. you can use the same technique if you just want a grid of rectangles, ovals, polygons, text frames or even graphic lines. some of you will have noticed that this new ‘gridify’ functionality stuffs the ability to adjust polygons (arrows) and stars (command-arrows) on the fly like in the old days. but, if you hit the space bar while drawing a polygon you’ll deactivate the grid thing and get the old functionality back. hit the space bar again to reactivate gridify.

can you believe that’s still not all?…
you could use the same technique to create text frames and add live captions to include name labels for your images, but the next scripting lesson will show you an easier way to label all images in a file in one sweep. making contact sheets is easy as.

incidentally, if you like those funky little icons, you can find them over at shutterstock — an excellent source of good value stock images. just search in the contributor field for ‘samer’.

• related post : InDesign scripting : lesson 21 : label all images in document quickly.

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