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Alternate Layouts in InDesign CS6

When I create the layout for MUSED Literary Magazine, I need to create two versions of the PDF, one for LuLu.com and one for viewing on BellaOnline. If we were to begin offering a version or versions of MUSED for mobile devices, I would need a new PDF for each device we choose to support.

One new feature in InDesignR CS6 that will help greatly with this problem is the Alternate Layout feature. Now we can create a layout for each device we choose to support within one InDesign document. All the pages for each layout are displayed in the Pages panel.

But it's not just the convenience of all the layouts in one document. When we create each new alternate layout, InDesign will create the layout for us based on our choice of a preset, specific device or custom setting. All we need to do is to make any fine adjustments and we're done. This can be great even if you choose to support only one mobile device such as the iPad. InDesign will create an iPad layout for the Portrait and Landscape views and the text, interactive elements and images will be consistent.

Alternate Layout

Once you have your first layout (for example the Portrait view on the iPad) finalized, you will then let InDesign suggest the layout for the Landscape view.

In the Pages panel, click Layout - Create Alternate Layout to open the dialog box. In the dialog box, we will set the Liquid Page Rules menu to Preserve Existing and check all three boxes below the menu for Link Stories, Copy Text Styles to New Style Group and Smart Text Reflow.

When we click OK, InDesign will create the alternate layout based on your original layout. In our case it will automatically create a Landscape layout for the iPad. You will see the new pages for this layout listed next to the pages for our original layout in the Pages panel.

Wouldn't it be nice if we could view both layouts for a page, as we can in DreamweaverR? We can.

In the Pages panel, click on the small arrow next to the name of one of the layouts and choose Split Window to Compare Layouts from the menu.

InDesign will automatically split the preview section of the workspace into two and display the Portrait and Landscape layout for each page.

But what if the two layouts require different Paragraph styles? Can we set different styles for each? When we created our alternate layout we choose the option to Copy Text Styles to New Style Group. This told InDesign to copy the original text styles to a new group for the second layout. When we open the Paragraph Styles panel, we see both style groups listed. Now we can make adjustments for the alternate layout without affecting the original layout.

*Adobe provided a copy of this software to me for review purposes.

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