Adobe InDesign - Transforming Objects
This guide will show you some of the different ways to transform objects and different situations they can be used in.
Display the Transform panel
- Choose Window > Object & Layout > Transform.
There are a lot of ways to duplicate text frames, graphic frames and other items in InDesign. Here are just a few.
- Select the Object and choose Edit>Copy (Ctrl+C on Windows or Cmd+C on Mac)
- Then Edit > Paste (Ctrl+V on Windows or Cmd +V on Mac)
- Edit menu and choose Paste in Place
Hold down the Option or the Alt key and drag an object.
- Paste in place tells InDesign to remember just where it was when the object was copied, and it puts it in exactly the same location.
Go to the Edit menu and choose Duplicate.
- Option+Shift+drag on Mac or Alt+Shift+drag on Windows.
- This duplicates it and keeps it in perfect vertical or horizontal alignment with the original.
Go to the Edit menu and choose Step and Repeat.
- Not only will that make a duplicate of that object, but it did it with exactly the same offsets as the last duplication performed.
Specify how far down each copy should be and how many copies.
- Step and repeat is a great way to make a lot of duplicates at the same time.
- Select the object to rotate
- Go up to the Control panel and click on one of the two rotation buttons.
- One rotates clockwise, the other counter-clockwise. Both in 90 degree increments.
- To rotate it in more fine increments change the field to the left of the buttons.
- That's the rotate field. There is a pop-up menu where the presets are.
To Rotate an object using the Rotate tool
- Select an object to rotate.
- Select the Rotate tool .
- Position the tool away from the reference point, and drag around it. To constrain the tool to multiples of 45°, hold down Shift. For finer control, drag farther from the object’s reference point.
The Reference Point
All transformations originate from a fixed point on or near the object, called the reference point. An icon is displayed at the reference point when a transformation tool, such as the Scale tool or rotate tool, is active.
- To specify a different reference point for the selected object, click any of the nine points on the reference point locator in the Transform or Control
There are a number of ways to scale graphics, text, and other page items in InDesign.
Scale an object using the Scale tool
- Select an object to scale. To scale both the frame and its content, use the Selection tool to select the frame. To scale the content without scaling its frame, click the Content Grabber to direct-select the object. To scale a frame without scaling
the content, direct-select the frame, and select all the anchor points.
- Select the Scale tool .
- Position the Scale tool away from the reference point and drag. To scale the x or y axis only, start dragging the Scale tool along one axis only. To scale proportionally, hold down Shift as you drag the Scale tool. For finer control, start dragging
farther from the object’s reference point.
Scale an object using the Transform panel
To maintain the original proportions of the object when using the Transform panel, make sure the Constrain Proportions icon is selected.
- Select an object to scale. To scale both the frame and its content, use the Selection tool to select the frame. To scale the content without scaling its frame, direct-select the object. To scale a frame without scaling the content, direct-select the
frame, and select all the anchor points.
- In the Transform or Control panel, do one of the following:
- Choose a preset percentage value in the Scale X Percentage or Scale Y Percentage
- Type a percentage value (such as 120%), or a specific distance (such as 10p) in the Scale X Percentage or Scale Y Percentage box, and then press Enter or Return.
Scaling vs. resizing objects
Resizing and scaling are different actions in InDesign. Resizing is simply changing the Width and Height values of an object. Scaling involves using a percentage value related to the original scale (100%) of the frame.
The difference between resizing and scaling isn’t always apparent. A good way to see the difference is to resize and scale a text frame that has a stroke applied to it.
- Double the size of the text frame, the text size and stroke weight remain the same.
- Double the scale of the text frame, the text size and stroke weight also double.
The Free Transform tool
The free transform tool works the same way it does in Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator, by providing a way to perform any transformation with just one tool.
You can use keyboard shortcuts to instantly switch to the Free Transform tool (press E) or select it in the tools panel.
- Using the appropriate selection tool, select the object or objects to transform.
- Select the Free Transform tool .
- To move objects, click anywhere within the bounding box, and then drag.
- To scale objects, drag any bounding box handle until the object is the desired size.
- Shift-drag the handle to preserve the selection’s proportions.
- To scale objects from the center of the bounding box, Alt‑drag (Windows) or Option-drag (Mac OS).
- To rotate objects, position the pointer anywhere outside the bounding box. When the pointer changes to , drag until the selection is at the desired
angle of rotation.
- To reflect objects, drag a handle of the bounding box past the opposite edge or handle, until the object is at the desired level of reflection.
Using the Selection Tool to Transform:
- This tool works the same way as the free transform tool, except remember to hold down one modifier key. The Cmd key on the Mac or the Ctrl key on Windows.
- That key tells the Selection tool to scale both the frame and what's inside the frame.
- Just like the Free Transform Tool: Cmd+Shift or Ctrl+Shift, that scales it proportionally.
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