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Adobe InDesign CS5 : Managing Windows and Panels - Panel Controls & Organizing Panels

10/3/2011 4:44:11 PM
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Panel Controls

Before you begin working with panels, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with the general panel window structure. Figure 1 shows a breakdown of the controls found in all InDesign panels that are used to manage the panels’ location or content.

Figure 1. Free-floating panels in OS X (left) and Windows (right).

The following list describes the controls and what they do. You’ll put them to work in the sections that follow.

  • Close Panel Window: Click this button to close the panel window and all panels docked inside.

  • Title Bar: Click and drag the title bar to reposition the panel window on your screen. Double-click the title bar to collapse the window.

  • Panel Tab: Click and drag to dock the panel in another window or side well. Single-click the tab to bring a docked panel to the front of a group. Double-click the tab to collapse the panel.

  • Docked Panels: Every panel window contains a well to dock other panels in. Panel tabs are positioned side by side in the well for easy access.

  • Panel Menu: Click to access specific panel options. The menu button always appears in the upper-right corner of the window.

  • Stacked Panel Windows: Panel windows (with or without multiple panels docked inside them) can also be connected in a vertical column, as shown here.

  • Footer Controls: Various panel-specific action buttons are located at the bottom of the panel window.

  • Resize Panel: Not all panels feature this option, but for those that do, click and drag the icon in the bottom-right corner to resize the panel window.


Organizing Panels

To conserve screen space, you can regroup panels by docking them together. You can also stack panel windows into a vertical column. Panels and panel groups can also be collapsed vertically to create more room for you to work. In addition, InDesign enables you to dock panels into resizable side wells on either side of your screen, and even reduce them to icon size. The following sections show you how some simple workspace reorganization can improve your ability to get things done.

Regrouping Panels

One efficient way to save screen space is to regroup your most frequently used panels together. By doing so, you can essentially combine multiple panels into one compact group (see Figure 2).

Figure 2. Keeping a lot of individual panels open can eat up a lot of your screen (top), but regrouping your most frequently used panels creates a lot more room to work (bottom).


Grouping and Ungrouping Panels

Follow these steps to group and ungroup panels:

1.
To group individual panels, click the tab of one panel and drag it into another.

2.
Hold the mouse button down until a blue outline appears around the panel window into which you are dragging; then release. The panels become grouped inside the same window. Click a grouped panel’s tab to bring that panel to the front of the group.

3.
To ungroup a panel, click the tab, hold the mouse button down, and drag it out of the window.

4.
Release the mouse button to place the free-floating panel somewhere else on your screen, or group it into another window or side well.

Collapsing Panels

Another great way to save screen space is to collapse panel windows. Collapsing panels hides everything except for the panel tabs (see Figure 3). This is the best way to clear your screen.

Figure 3. InDesign’s panels can take up a large portion of the screen (left), but collapsing them gives you much more room to work (right).


InDesign offers several ways to collapse panel windows when free-floating onscreen or docked in a side well:

  • Double-click the title bar to reduce the panel window to icon size.

  • Double-click a panel tab to collapse the panel (or panel group) within the window.

  • Click the Collapse Window button (the arrow icon) in the upper right of the panel window to reduce it to icon size.

Stacking Panels

One other way that you can save screen space is to stack your panel groups together. Doing so allows you to reposition all the panels at once or collapse groups within the stack (see Figure 4).

Figure 4. Panel groups can also eat up a lot of your screen (left), but stacking them enables you to reposition and collapse each group (right).


To stack panel windows together, click the tab of one panel, hold the mouse button down, and drag the panel over the bottom edge of another. Release the mouse button when a thick blue line appears at the bottom edge of the window you’re docking to. The panel windows become docked in a vertical column.

Using the Panel Side Wells

The resizable side wells located on the right and left sides of your screen enable you to store individual panels, docked panel groups, and stacked panel windows.


Adding a Panel to a Side Well

To add a panel window to either side well, follow these steps:

1.
Click the title bar and drag it to either side of your screen.

2.
Hold the mouse button down until a vertical blue line appears in the well, and then release for the panel window to snap into place.

3.
Double-click the title bar at the top of a docked panel column and the column collapses to display only small panel icons and panel names (see the left side of Figure 5).

Figure 5. Docked and labeled icon panels (left) and docked icon panels (right).


4.
Minimize the column even further to display just the icons by clicking the gray area at the top or side of the column and dragging it in toward the side of the screen (see the right side of Figure 5).

Click once on a collapsed panel icon to expand the panel from the side well (see Figure 6). The expanded window snaps into position next to the well and can be resized by clicking and dragging the bottom of the panel up or down.

Figure 6. A collapsed panel expanded from the side well.


Certain panels docked in the well, such as Layers or Swatches, automatically resize vertically to fill the column.



Note that you can also add multiple columns of docked panel windows in the side wells at one time (see Figure 7). To do so, click the title bar and drag it to the side of the screen. Hold the mouse button down until a vertical blue line appears on the outside of the column, and then release for the panel window to snap into place.

Figure 7. Multiple side docks positioned on the right side of the screen.


Here are some more helpful tips for working with the side panel wells:

  • You can reposition a docked panel vertically in the well, whether expanded or minimized to an icon, by clicking and dragging up or down. When you see a thick blue horizontal line appear, release the mouse button to drop the panel into place.

  • When repositioning an expanded panel into a docked icon group, the panel minimizes to an icon and snaps into place.

  • You can add more panels to a docked panel group by dragging them over the icons or the expanded panels in the well.

  • At any time, docked panels—expanded or minimized—can be undocked and repositioned anywhere on the screen by clicking and dragging the icon or panel tab out of the well.

 
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