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InDesign Inline, Part 2

Anchoring graphics outside a text frame By Dave Nagel
In our last romp through Adobe InDesign, we looked at three methods for anchoring graphics within a text frame so that the objects would flow along with the words on your page. But that doesn't mean that inline (or "anchored") graphics need to flow inside the text box itself. With the options available for anchored graphics, they can appear in the margins or virtually anywhere else on the page, using the original anchor point only as a reference.

This particular technique is useful for at least two types of purposes. One would be marginal notes--note about a particular section of text, such as "see page 42 for more information"--that you wouldn't want to appear in the text frame itself. Another would be callouts or other graphical elements that you might want to use to emphasize a particular section of text. "Hot Tip," "Great Bargain!" or what have you.

In this case, we'll use an example with marginal notes. But whether you're using text or graphics, the process is the same.

I'll begin with a simple book layout, one that leaves enough room in the outside margins to accommodate any notes I'll be adding to the text.

Then I'll either place my graphic object from an external graphics file or paste in an object that I've created in InDesign. For more information on this process, be sure to read Part 1 in this tutorial series. You can find it by clicking here.

In my case, I'll simply be pasting in a small block of stylized text within my primary text field. And I'll be sure to paste it at the point at which I want it anchored. In this way, if this particular paragraph happens to get pushed onto another page, the accompanying marginal note will follow along with it.

Now, as you know from our previous tutorial, at this point you can do several things to this anchored element--move it up and down, add text wrap, etc. But what you can't do is drag it outside the text frame in which it's anchored. In order to do this, you'll need to go in and tweak the anchored object's options.

Tweaking the options
There are several options you can apply to anchored objects, allowing them to float around the page, align themselves to various elements on the page (text frame edges, margins, page edges, etc.) and performing various other alterations.

In order to access these options, switch to the Selection tool. Then right-click (or Control-click on the Mac, if you don't have a multi-button mouse) on the anchored object. In the contextual menu that pops up, navigate to Anchored Object > Options.

This will call up a new dialog, presenting you with various options for the anchored object.

It doesn't look like much at first. However, if you switch the Position to "Custom," rather than "Inline or Above Line," a whole new set of parameters becomes available.

Now, what I want to do is to enable this anchored object not only to appear in the left-hand margin of my page, but also to flip over to the right-hand margin in the event that the particular block of text it's anchored to gets moved over to a right-hand page.

Here's how that works.

1. Begin by turning on the Preview checkbox at the bottom of the dialog so that you can see the effect of your changes as you make them.

1. At the top of the Anchored Object Options dialog, click on the "Relative to Spine" checkbox.

2. Set the Reference Point to the appropriate position by clicking on the little squares in the reference point graphic. If you want your marginal element to be aligned to the left of the text box and aligned so that its top is aligned with the anchor point, click the top right button on the left-hand side. This will automatically select the top left button on the right--hand side, as seen below.

Click around on the other points to see where they might take you.

3. Now move down to the "Anchored Position" section of the dialog. Here you set the options for aligning the reference point left or right. (I want mine to be left on a left-hand page and right on a right-hand page.) You can also set the element to which the X and Y positions are relative. You can choose Text Frame, Page Margin, Page Edge, Column Edge or Anchor Marker for the X (left/right) position. For Y (up/down), you can align the object to the line (baseline, cap height or top of leading), the column edge, the text frame, the page margin or the page edge.

4. Then you can also adjust the X and Y offsets for the anchored item. This way, you can move the object farther out into the margin, up/down relative to its reference object, etc. In my case, I'll adjust the X offset so that my marginal note moves out into the center of the page margin.

5. Then, finally, I'm going to check the option labeled "Keep Within Top/Bottom Column Boundaries." This option is great because it means that if your anchor point moves down to a point where it might force your anchored object beyond your page, it will stop it from doing so.

When you have your anchored object positioned properly, click "OK." Here's the result.

And, if my text happens to get longer, forcing my anchored object to the next page, it jumps to the proper position in the opposite margin.

Neat, eh?

If you have any further questions, be sure to visit me in the Adobe InDesign forum at DMN Forums. You can access it by clicking here.

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Related Keywords:adobe indesign, inine graphics, anchored objects, margins


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