InDesign CS6

InDesign CS6

Summary: The latest version of InDesign is a versatile application that can efficiently repurpose page layouts for print and screen-based output, and create interactive PDF forms independently of Acrobat Pro

TOPICS: Apps, Reviews, Software

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  • Liquid Page Rules
    The proliferation of tablets has provided a new medium for designers to showcase their skills, but the different screen resolutions and orientations involved can make for a lot of extra layout work. InDesign CS6's new Liquid Page Rules help to alleviate the problem by allowing you to specify how content behaves when the page size or orientation changes.

    In the example above, Object-based Liquid Page Rules have been applied to the different elements on the portrait-format (768-by-1,024-pixel) page at the top, so that when it's resized to landscape (1,024x768) mode the layout still works: the background image has been set to Auto-Fit its frame, resize horizontally and vertically, and is 'pinned' to all four edges of the page; the big letter 'A' resizes width-ways and is pinned to the top and right; the other elements ('Designer Profile', 'Alice Ritter' and the red logo) are pinned to their respective edges but don't resize.

    Screenshots: Charles McLellan/ZDNet UK 

  • Alternate Layout
    To help repurpose an entire document, InDesign CS6 provides the Alternate Layout feature. This automatically duplicates an existing layout (in this case the portrait-mode 'iPad V') to a specified page size or orientation (in this case the landscape-mode 'iPad H'). After choosing whether to apply Liquid Page Rules and other options, a new set of pages is generated and displayed alongside the original in the Pages panel. 

    In the above example, Guide-based Liquid Page Rules (light blue dashed lines) are used to determine which elements resize and which don't: the image is touched by a vertical but not a horizontal guide, and so only resizes horizontally; the column of body text is touched by both vertical and horizontal guides, and resizes in both dimensions (a Flexible Width text frame option also means it adds a second column in landscape mode); the pull quote has no guides crossing it, and remains unchanged in the new layout.

  • Content Collector tools
    Many documents use the same pieces of content in multiple places, and items — logos for example — are also often shared across multiple documents. The new Content Collector tools in InDesign CS6 — Content Collector, Content Placer and Content Conveyor — provide functionality that should help designers avoid endless copying and pasting.

    Click on the Content Collector tool in the Tools panel and Content Conveyor (shown above) opens up, initially at the bottom of the screen. This element — which can be thought of as a floating content library or pasteboard — is only present while the Content Collector tool is selected, and itself carries several further tools. Using the Collector tool, you can go through a document, selecting individual or marquee-grouped items, which then appear as thumbnails on the Conveyor. To load even more content at once, you can click the Load Conveyor button and choose a whole document, or a specified set of pages; the entire set of items — headlines, images, text — is then loaded, either singly or as an expandable set, into the Conveyor.

    To place an item, you scroll until the relevant one is at the left-hand end of the Conveyor and select the Content Placer tool, which is then 'loaded', ready for placing in a frame of whatever size you drag with the cursor. Various options, including linking and style mapping, are available; you can also place multiple items at once, and keep or remove items from the Conveyor once you've used them.

Topics: Apps, Reviews, Software


Charles has been in tech publishing since the late 1980s, starting with Reed's Practical Computing, then moving to Ziff-Davis to help launch the UK version of PC Magazine in 1992. ZDNet came looking for a Reviews Editor in 2000, and he's been here ever since.

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