The Basics of InDesign’s Control Palette for Commercial Printing

April 16, 2010 at 8:42 am Leave a comment

Commercial printing publishers, graphic designers and casual users alike have reason to celebrate Adobe’s InDesign software for its customizability and robustness of functionality. Knowing how it differs from other commonly used web to print publishing software is essential to getting the full use out of this software. Because the basic features of this software are easy to overlook but always applicable throughout the course of a design project, a quick refresher is in order for anyone hoping to get the most out of their InDesign experience.

The customizable menu bar, which defaults to being docked at the top of your workspace in InDesign, features a special palette known as the control palette. This is the palette which changes in appearance and functionality to reflect any new tool selection made by the user. This control palette also contains the item measurements of any object you create or select within the workspace. For example, if you were to create a rectangular shape in the center of the workspace and then select it, you would notice the X and Y coordinates of this new object being displayed in the control palette.

These coordinates are very helpful when it comes to properly aligning various elements within your project or positioning single elements precisely. Because web to print and commercial printing applications, for example, demand a high level of precision in order to guarantee proper image displays on hard copies, it’s important to make note of these coordinates.

When you select your rectangle, you will notice a display of various little black boxes. When the center box is selected, you are telling InDesign to use the corresponding center of the rectangle as the reference point. Based off this reference point, the software will display the applicable coordinates. If you were to click a different reference point box, such as one in a corner, InDesign will likewise show you the applicable coordinates based off your new selection.

Other key elements of the control palette include the H and W values. These offer the user at-a-glance measurements of the height and width of their selected object. Another handy tool provided for managing the size and shape of your object is represented in the small chain icon nearby. Clicking this chain icon tells the program to constrain the selected object’s height and width in order to preserve a constant scale.

Basically, if you increase the height of a constrained object, its width will increase proportionally, and vice versa. This is a great time saving tool whenever you’re trying to create a banner or graphic for, say, a print on demand product that requires a totally filled space. In the same vein, should you find yourself having trouble manually expanding an object or image to take up the exact amount of space required, you can directly type over the displayed H and W values in order to tailor your object to your exact specifications. In this case, the chain feature serves the same purpose and will behave just as it would in a manual expansion.

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Entry filed under: Adobe systems, commerical printer, design, design software, indesign, prisma graphic. Tags: , , .

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