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Quick Tip: InDesign CS and Master Page Objects

Overriding and detaching master items for editing By Dave Nagel
One of the unpublicized features of the new Adobe InDesign CS is its increased flexibility for handling master page objects. The new functionality isn't extensive, but it does allow you to override master items much more easily. So today we'll take a brief look at this simple technique and also some other tips for working with and editing master page items.

Now, there's a number of reasons you may want to override master page items. Maybe you're a magazine designer creating master page-based layouts for editors. Or maybe you're a designer who simply wants to use master pages to lay out a long document quickly. Whatever the reason, you can do this sort of thing in InDesign, but you have to know your way around.

In the current InDesign CS, as in previous versions, there is an easy way to override master page items on an object by object basis. To do this, create your master pages by double-clicking on a master in the Pages palette and laying out the pages as you see fit. For my example, I'm going to create a three-column text box beneath a graphic box that has text wrap applied to it.

Now any pages I add to my document will have this basic layout applied to them. However, in InDesign, master page items are not active or editable on a regular page. In other words, I can't enter new text on the master text box, and, if I create a new text box, it will not be affected by the text wrap I set for my graphic box.

Aside from this, I also can't add any graphics to my picture box without going back into my master pages and adding the images there, which would, of course, affect every single page in my document that uses this particular master page.

Instead, I can hold down the Command and Shift (Macintosh) or Control and Shift (Windows) and click on my picture box and/or my text box. Thus both items have been "overridden" on my current page, allowing me to edit them as I see fit.

Now, one tip about this: If you're producing these pages for other people to use and don't trust these people not to mess up your layout, you can easily lock the items on your master pages by choosing Object > Lock Position, or Command-L (Macintosh) or Control-L (Windows). Then when these master items are overridden, they will remain in their current position and cannot be dragged around unless they are unlocked.

As I say, these particular features have been in InDesign prior to the CS release, though you may not have known about them. But InDesign CS does take it a bit further.

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