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InDesign Captions, Layers and Multi-sized Docs

The new Image Caption feature is a personal favorite of mine. Each issue of MUSED Literary Review has many photographs. When building the layout for an issue, I add a caption to each photo, listing the name of the artwork, the artist/photographer's name and the medium. In the past, I would create each caption by hand. Now, I can use the new Image Caption feature in InDesign CS5 to automatically generate the captions for me.

InDesignR can read the metadata attached to a photo and dynamically generate a caption from the metadata. The first step is to use the Caption Setup dialog box to tell InDesign which of the 60 metadata types you would like to include in your caption. Then you can set the custom text that will be placed before and after the metadata in the caption. Finally, you can format the position and style of the text in the caption. As you can imagine, this feature will save me many hours of work when I build the next issue of MUSED.

Even if I preferred to continue creating the captions by hand, I can use the Live Caption option to quickly view the metadata information for each photo. Just place a caption placeholder next to any photo, and the metadata for that photo will dynamically appear.

Another new feature in CS5 allows you to have pages with different sizes combined within one InDesign file. Along with this new feature is the new Page tool which allows you to control the dimensions (width and height) for each page. This is a great tool for creating different sized parts of your project such as a book spine, fold-out or gatefold. Just click on a new page in the document with the Page tool and set the dimensions for that page in the Controls panel. These dimensions are maintained when you print or export your document to PDF format.

InDesign has a new Layers panel. Because you can have many design elements on one page and many pages to a document, working with these elements can get confusing. This is especially true when working with buttons and multi-state objects. The new Layers panel, which works much like the Layers panel in IllustratorR and PhotoshopR, will allow you to easily manage each element individually or as a group. Basically, each design element is on its own layer and you can control the stacking order and hierarchy of these elements by dragging the layers. The Layers panel can help you when working with individual objects. You can use the Layers panel to select an object that might be hidden under other objects on a page. On the other hand, you can select multiple objects and even though these objects may not be grouped together, you can still edit them as if they were grouped.

*Adobe provided a review copy to me free of charge.



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