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Adobe InDesign CS5 : Working with Frames and Shapes - Selecting and Editing Frames and Their Contents

2/2/2015 2:58:57 AM
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To move, scale, rotate, or shear a frame—or apply any object formatting attributes, such as drop shadow or transparency effects—you must select the frame first. The same rule also applies when editing a frame’s path or when working with frame contents, such as a placed graphic. InDesign includes two tools for making these types of selections: the Selection tool and the Direct Selection tool.

The selection tools in InDesign behave very much like the selection tools in Adobe Illustrator. You can use the Selection tool to select, move, and resize an entire path. The Direct Selection tool enables you to do so as well; however, it also enables you to select and move individual points on a path.

Placing Images and Text

Both the Selection and Direct Selection tools can be used to place images or text using the File, Place command: Cmd-D (Mac) or Ctrl+D (Win). You can either place an image or a body of text into a selected frame or click the loaded place icon anywhere on the page. When you click the loaded graphics cursor, InDesign automatically creates a frame and fits the image at 100% of its actual size. When you click the loaded text cursor, InDesign fills the column with the imported text.

Selecting and Transforming

Click any frame (text or graphic) with the Selection tool to select it and its contents (see Figure 1). To select multiple objects, hold down Shift as you click. You can also hold down Shift and marquee over an area that includes the objects you would like to select. You can tell that the objects are selected when the boundary nodes appear. Shift+click again to deselect.

Figure 1. Click and drag with the Selection tool to move both the frame and the image.


Unlike the Selection tool, the Direct Selection tool enables you to select a single frame edge or corner node of any text or graphic frame (see Figure 2). Doing so enables you to modify the shape of a frame by moving its selected edge or node. To select all nodes of a frame with the Direct Selection tool, you must click its center point. Note that doing so with a graphic frame does not automatically select its contents.

Figure 2. Click and drag with the Direct Selection tool to move the image inside the frame (left), or click and drag the center point of the frame to move it independently from its contents (right).
[View full size image]

The Direct Selection tool also enables you to select the contents of a graphic frame, separate from its container. When you hover the cursor directly over a placed image, the Direct Selection tool’s icon changes to display a hand. This indicates that after you click to select the frame’s contents, you can move the image around within the confines of the graphic container.

To select the contents of a graphic frame without having to switch from the Selection tool to the Direct Selection tool, click the Content Grabber (the transparent ring in the center of the frame).


You can select the contents of multiple frames by Shift+clicking with the Direct Selection tool. By continuing to hold down Shift as you click, you can also add other objects to a selection, such as text frames, shapes, and lines.

After you select multiple objects (including points on a path), you can move them simultaneously by dragging the mouse or pressing the arrow keys. To resize the selected objects, press Cmd (Mac) or Ctrl (Win) and drag with the Selection tool, or press S to switch to the Scale tool, then click and drag. You can also use the Rotate, Shear, and Free Transform tools to edit multiple selected objects simultaneously, without grouping them first (see Figure 3).

Figure 3. Use any of the transformation tools (Free Transform, Rotate, Scale, or Shear) to transform multiple selected objects simultaneously.


Resizing Frames and Contents

Use the Selection tool to resize the frame (and not the image contents) by clicking and dragging one of the frame nodes (see Figure 4). Hold down the Shift key to constrain proportions of the frame as you drag.

Figure 4. Resizing a frame but not its contents.


Use the Direct Selection tool to resize the image inside the frame. Click directly on the image itself and then click and drag one of the content nodes (see Figure 5). Hold down the Shift key to constrain overall image proportions as you drag.

Figure 5. Resizing image contents within its frame container.

To show and hide the Content Grabber (the transparent ring in the center of the graphic frame), choose View, Extras, Show/Hide Content Grabber.


Use the Selection tool to resize the frame and image together by clicking the Auto Fit button in the Control panel and clicking and dragging one of the frame nodes (see Figure 6). You can also press Cmd (Mac) or Ctrl (Win) and click and drag one of the frame nodes without having to enable the Auto Fit option. When using the latter method, hold down Shift as you drag to constrain overall image proportions.

Figure 6. Resizing a frame and its image contents simultaneously.


Use the Direct Selection tool to select, reposition, or even delete the nodes of a frame (see Figure 7). Click directly on the frame edge, and then click and drag one of the nodes to reposition it. Press Delete (Mac) or Delete/Backspace (Win) to remove a node or edge from the frame and create an open path.

Figure 7. Editing the shape of the frame with the Direct Selection tool.
 
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