Adding Strokes, Fills, and Other Effects


When you create a new frame, there's not much to it. It has no content, no color (it's transparent ‚ or none-colored in InDesign's vocabulary), and no border. If you print a page with an empty frame, you'll get a blank page. Of course, when you place text or a picture into a frame, it springs to life. But whether a frame is empty or filled, InDesign lets you change its appearance in several ways. You can

  • Add a border, or stroke, around a frame's perimeter and apply a solid color, a tint, or a gradient to the stroke.

  • Add a solid color, a tint, or a gradient to the frame's background.

  • Apply any of several corner effects.

  • Scale, rotate, and/or shear (skew) the frame using tools or the Control palette or Transform pane.

    Note ‚  

    Choose View Show Frame Edges, or press z +H or Ctrl+H, to see frame edges if they aren't already visible.

Adding strokes

In the old days of traditional paste-up, adding a simple, black border around a sidebar or a thin keyline around a picture was a tedious and time-consuming process of laying out adhesive tape and then hoping that your meticulously placed rules remained straight and your perfectly square corners remained tight long enough to make it to the printer. If you were unlucky, your rules wound up on the floor or stuck to somebody's elbows. Nowadays, computers make adding borders to shapes an easy task. InDesign lets you quickly apply strokes to the shapes you create and modify the thickness , color, and style of strokes.

To add a stroke to a frame:

  1. Select either of the selection tools and click on the frame to which you want to add a stroke, then click on the Stroke box in the Tools palette (see Figure 11-5).


    Figure 11-5: The color tools at the bottom of the Tools pane offer the quickest and easiest method of applying the last-used color or gradient to objects, or removing a color, tint, or gradient.

  2. You now can click a color, tint, or gradient from the Swatches pane, or click on one of the three boxes at the bottom of the Tools palette, which (from left to right) let you use the last-selected color, last-selected gradient, or None (this removes the stroke's color, tint, or gradient).

    Cross-Reference ‚  

    For information about adding colors to the Swatches pane, see Chapter 8.

When you add a stroke to a frame, it's assigned a width of 1 point. You can change the width and several other characteristics of a stroke using the controls in the Stroke pane. You can also change the stroke width and type in the Control palette. Figure 11-6 shows a graphics frame to which a 10-point dark orange stroke has been added, while Figure 11-7 shows a graphics frame whose stroke is a gradient.


Figure 11-6: In this illustration, a 10-point orange stroke has been added to the graphics frame.
New Feature ‚  

You can now enter percentages in pane fields for size - and scale-oriented items such as stroke widths. For example, to change a 1-point stroke to a hairline (0.25 points), you could enter 0.25 pt or now enter 25% .

Tip ‚  

The controls in the Color pane (Window Color or F6) let you change the tint of the color applied to a stroke, but I recommend you use the tint control on the Swatches pane (Window Swatches or F5) instead, so you don't accidentally use unnamed colors (see Chapter 8 for more information on this issue). The Gradient pane (Windows Gradient) gives you the option to apply either a linear or radial gradient. For linear gradients, you can specify the angle via the Angle field.


Figure 11-7: In this example, a gradient blend was applied to the frame's stroke; the blend was rotated 180 degrees.

When using the Stroke pane to modify a stroke:

  1. Select either of the selection tools and click on the object whose stroke you want to modify.

  2. If the Stroke pane is not displayed, show it by choosing Window Stroke or pressing F10.

  3. To change the width of stroke, enter a new value in the Weight field.

    You can also change the Weight value by choosing a new value from the field's pop-up menu or by clicking the up and down arrows. (Each click increases or decreases the stroke by 1 point.)

  4. Set the Miter Limit.

    The default of 4 is fine for almost all frames .

    Note ‚  

    The value in the Stroke pane's Miter Limit field determines when a corner point switches from mitered (squared off) to beveled. You'll rarely use this feature; it's useful when you have thick lines joining at sharp angles. In such cases, the lines may extend farther than needed, and the miter value (1 to 500, with 1 being the most conservative setting and 500 the most forgiving ) tells InDesign when to change the squared-off corner to a beveled one, which prevents the problem.

  5. Click on any of the three Cap icons to specify how dashes will look if you create a dashed stroke (covered in Step 9).

    Figure 11-8 shows how each of the cap styles affect a dashed stroke.


    Figure 11-8: The line in this illustration was selected with the Direct Selection tool. Each of the three available endcap styles ‚ butt (left), round (center), and projecting (right) is shown.

  6. Click any of the three Join icons to specify how corners are handled.

    Figure 11-9 shows how each of the join styles affects a corner.


    Figure 11-9: The Stroke pane lets you apply mitered (left), rounded (center), and beveled (right) corners to shapes.

  7. Choose an Align Stroke option.

    The default is the first button, Align Stroke to Center, which has the stroke straddle the frame. In the 10-point stroke in Figures 11-6 and 11-7, 5 points of that stroke width are on the outside of the frame boundary, and 5 points of it are inside the frame boundary. You can also choose Align Stroke to Inside, which places the entire thickness inside the frame boundary, or Align Stroke to Outside, which places the entire thickness outside the frame boundary.

  8. You can also choose end points for your strokes (this only affects lines, not rectangles, ellipses, and other closed-loop shapes) using the Start and End pop-up menus .

    Figure 11-10 shows the options.


    Figure 11-10: The Start options in the Stroke pane. The End options are identical.

  9. To create a dashed line instead of a solid line, choose an option from the Type pop-up menu. (These are also available from the Control palette.)

    You'll see 16 types of predefined dashes and stripes, as shown in Figure 11-11. The Gap Color and Gap Tint fields at the bottom of the Stroke pane become active as well, to let you choose a specific color and tint for the gaps in dashes and stripes .


    Figure 11-11: The predefined dash and stripe options in the Stroke pane ‚ s Type pop-up menu.

    New Feature ‚  

    Several Stroke pane options are new to InDesign CS: the Gap Color and Gap Tint fields and the Align Stroke options.

    Tip ‚  

    To see the full Stroke pane, double-click the icon to the left of the Stroke pane's label. By default, the pane shows only the Weight, Cap, Miter Limit, and Join options.

Creating custom strokes

InDesign CS lets you create custom strokes: dashed, dotted , and striped lines. To create custom dashes or stripes, choose the Stroke Styles option in the Stroke pane's palette menu. Figure 11-12 shows the Stroke Styles dialog box from which you can create new strokes, edit or delete existing ones, and import (load) strokes from a stroke styles file which you create by saving a document's strokes as a separate file for import into other documents via the Save button; stroke style files have the filename extension .inst.


Figure 11-12: The Stroke Styles dialog box.
New Feature ‚  

New to InDesign CS is the ability to create your own custom dashes, dotted lines, and stripes.

QuarkXPress User ‚  

The InDesign Stroke Styles feature looks and works very much like the QuarkXPress Dashes & Stripes feature. The major difference is that InDesign has a separate option for dotted lines.

Note that you cannot edit or delete the seven default stripe patterns shown in the figure, nor can you edit or delete the default dash patterns ‚ they're not even available in the dialog box. When you edit or create a stroke pattern, you get the New Stroke Style dialog box, shown in Figure 11-13. In the Name field, enter a name for your stroke. In the Type pop-up menu, you can choose to create (or convert a stripe you are editing to) a dashed, dotted, or striped stroke.


Figure 11-13: The dashes version of the New Stroke Style dialog box.

For dashes, you can resize the dash component by dragging the down-pointing triangle at the end of the dash in the ruler section. You can add dash segments by simply clicking on the ruler and dragging a segment to the desired width. Or you can use the Start and Length fields to manually specify them. The Pattern Length field is where you indicate the length of the segment you're defining; this is then repeated to fill the frame or line the stroke is applied to. In the Corners pop-up menu, you tell InDesign whether to adjust how the dashes and gaps are handled at corners; the default is Adjust Dashes and gaps, a setting you should keep ‚ it will make sure your corners have dash segments that extend along both sides of the corner, which looks neater. (Your other options are Adjust Dashes, Adjust Gaps, and None.) You can also choose a cap style and the stroke weight. The preview section of the pane lets you see your dash as you create or edit it.

For dots, you get a similar dialog box as for dashes, as Figure 11-14 shows. The Start and Length fields disappear, replaced with the Center field that determines where any added dots are placed on the ruler. (The initial dot, shown as a half-circle, starts at 0 and cannot be moved or deleted.) The Caps field is also gone.


Figure 11-14: The dotted-line version of the New Stroke Style dialog box.
Tip ‚  

To delete a dash or dot segment, just drag it to the left, off the ruler.

For stripes, you get the dialog box shown in Figure 11-15. The principle is the same as for dashes: You create segments (in this case vertical, not horizontal) for the stripes by dragging on the ruler. However, the stripes version of the dialog box expresses its values in percentages because the actual thickness of each stripe is determined by the stroke weight ‚ the thicker the stroke, the thicker each stripe is in the overall stroke.


Figure 11-15: The stripe version of the New Stroke Style dialog box.
Note ‚  

In all three versions of the New Stroke Style dialog box, you click Add to add the stroke to your document. When you're done creating strokes, click Done. (When editing a stroke, you won't have the Add button available.)

Adding fills

The option to add a stroke to any shape becomes even more powerful when combined with the option to fill any shape with a color or tint. For example, adding a stroke around a text frame is an effective way to draw attention to a sidebar. Adding a fill to a shape is much like adding a stroke, and the options available for specifying color and tint are identical. The only difference is that you click the Fill box in the Toolbox palette rather than the Stroke box.

Tip ‚  

If you really want to turn eyes, you can create reversed text within the frame by adding a fill color and lightening the text. But remember: Reversed text is harder to read, so keep the text size on the large side, and use this effect sparingly. You'll often want to make the reversed -out text boldface to aid in its readability.

Adding special effects to corners

Anytime you're working on an object that has any sharp corners, you have the option to add a little pizzazz to the corners via InDesign's Corner Effects feature (Object Corner Effects). Five built-in corner styles, shown in Figure 11-16, are available. Note that if the shape contains only smooth points, any corner effect you apply won't be noticeable.


Figure 11-16: The Corner Effects dialog box lets you apply any of five effects to frame corners.
Caution ‚  

A word of caution about adding fancy corners: These effects are handy for such things as certificates and coupons , but don't get carried away and use them for everyday tasks such as frames for pictures and text unless you have a good reason. Few things kill a design like too much graphic embellishment .

QuarkXPress User ‚  

The corner-style feature in InDesign is similar to the text-box and picture-box variants in QuarkXPress, which offer the same corners except for the Fancy option. In QuarkXPress, you create, or convert, a box to a variant that has one of these corner effects, while in InDesign, you apply the corner effect to a frame.

To add a corner effect:

  1. Select either of the selection tools and click on the shape to which you want to add a corner effect, then choose Object Corner Effects to display the Corner Effects dialog box.

  2. Choose an option from the Effect pop-up menu.

  3. Enter a distance in the Size field.

    The Size value determines the length that the effect extends from the corner.

  4. Click OK to close the dialog box and apply your changes.

    Tip ‚  

    Click the Preview button to view changes as you make them.

    Tip ‚  

    If you can't see a corner effect after applying one, make sure that a color is applied to the stroke or try making the object's stroke thicker. Increasing the Size value in the Corner Effects dialog box can also make a corner effect more visible.

Performing other transformations on frames

Earlier in this chapter, I explained how to change the size of an item by clicking and dragging bounding box handles with the selection tools and by changing the values in the Control palette's or Transform pane's width and height fields. InDesign also provides some tools and several controls in the Control palette and Transform pane that let you perform more-dramatic effects on objects, such as rotation, mirroring, and shearing (which distorts a shape by applying a combination of rotation and slant). Keep in mind that if you press Option or Alt as you drag, you'll work on a copy of the object. To get finer control as you drag, click farther from the active object's point of origin.

How you use these special effects is up to you and is limited only by your imagination . As always, discretion is advised. Just because InDesign has some pretty cool features doesn't mean that you should use them in every publication you create.

Tip ‚  

If you drag immediately after clicking on an object, the object is displayed in its original location and the object's bounding box moves as you drag. If you click and then pause until the crosshair changes to an arrowhead , the object is displayed as you drag.

Using the Rotation tool

If you need to rotate an object, and you prefer to accomplish such tasks by clicking and dragging rather than by entering values in fields, you'll want to use the Rotation tool. Here's how:

  1. Select the Rotation tool.

    If the Type tool isn't selected, you can also press R to select the Rotation tool.

  2. If it's not already selected, click on the object you want to rotate.

    If you want, you can drag the point of origin from its default location in the upper-left-hand corner of the bounding box to a different location. The object rotates around the point of origin. Figure 11-17 shows a text frame being rotated around the default point of origin (the upper-left corner).


    Figure 11-17: When you rotate an object with the Rotation tool, a moving bounding box is displayed along with the original object if you drag immediately after clicking, as in this example. If you pause before dragging, the moving object and its contents are displayed as you drag.

  3. Move the pointer away from the point of origin, then click and drag with a circular motion, clockwise or counterclockwise.

    Hold the Shift key as you drag to constrain rotation increments to 45 degrees.

  4. Release the mouse button when the object is at the angle you want.

Using the Scale tool

The easiest way to scale an object is to drag a bounding box handle, as described earlier in this chapter.

To scale an object manually:

  1. Select the Scale tool.

    If the Type tool isn't selected, you can also press S to select the Scale tool.

  2. If it's not already selected, click on the object you want to scale.

    If you want, you can drag the point of origin from its default location in the upper-left-hand corner of the bounding box to a different location. When the object grows or shrinks, the point of origin doesn't move.

  3. Move the pointer away from the point of origin, then click and drag.

    Hold the Shift key and drag horizontally to apply only horizontal scale, vertically to apply only vertical scale, and diagonally to apply horizontal and vertical and keep the object's original proportions .

  4. Release the mouse button when the object is the size you want.

    Figure 11-18 shows an object that's being scaled with the scale tool.


    Figure 11-18: Clicking and dragging with the Scale tool enlarges or reduces a frame. In this example, the Scale tool is being used to enlarge a frame.

    Caution ‚  

    If you use the Scale tool on a text frame, the text within is scaled as well. However, if you use the Scale tool on a picture frame, the picture is not scaled. You can prevent InDesign from scaling text in a scaled frame by deselecting the Adjust Text Attributes When Scaling check box in the Text pane of the Preferences dialog box (choose InDesign Preferences on the Mac or Edit Preferences in Windows, or press z +K or Ctrl+K).

Using the Shear tool

When you shear an object with the Shear tool, you actually perform two transformations at once: rotation and slant. Because the contents within text frames and picture frames are distorted along with the frames when you shear an object, you'll probably use this tool only for special effects.

QuarkXPress User ‚  

The InDesign Shear tool is not the same as the QuarkXPress Skew tool ‚ Shear both slants and rotates an object, while Skew just slants it. To simulate the QuarkXPress Skew tool, move the mouse horizontally when using the InDesign Shear tool ‚ this ensures that there is no rotation. You can also use the Shear fields in the Control palette or Transform pane to only slant an object.

To shearing an object manually:

  1. Select the Shear tool.

    If the Type tool isn't selected, you can also press O to select the Shear tool.

  2. If it's not selected, click on the object you want to shear.

    If you want, you can drag the point of origin from its default location in the upper-left-hand corner of the bounding box to a different location. When you shear an object, the point of origin doesn't move.

  3. Move the pointer away from the point of origin, then click and drag.

    Hold the Shift key and drag to constrain rotation increments to multiples of 45 degrees. Figure 11-19 shows a frame being sheared .


    Figure 11-19: In this example, a frame is being sheared using the Shear tool.

Modifying objects using the Transform pane

If you prefer to modify objects by specifying values in fields rather than by clicking and dragging, you can use the Transform pane (Window Transform or F9). Some designers prefer the click-and-drag approach when modifying objects because it more closely mimics traditional paste-up techniques: You put objects onto a page, then you move them around until you're satisfied. Others prefer the precision that entering transformation values into fields offers. Chances are, you'll do a little of both.

For example, if you want to rotate a block of text exactly 45 degrees, entering a rotation value in the Transform pane is probably the quickest method. If you want to rotate a block of text to match the angle of a shape in an imported picture, you might decide that clicking and dragging is the best approach.

In the Transform pane, highlight the appropriate field in the Transform pane, enter a new value, then press Return or Enter. When an object is selected, you can also highlight fields in the pane by double-clicking on the corresponding transformation tools: Double-click the Rotation tool to highlight the Rotation field, the Scale tool to highlight the Horizontal scale field, and the Shear tool to highlight the Shear X angle field.

Tip ‚  

Press Shift+Return or Shift+Enter to apply changes without leaving the pane. Press Option+Return or Alt+Enter to apply a transformation value to a copy of the selected item.

Note ‚  

The Transform pane contains separate fields for horizontal scale (Scale X percentage) and vertical scale (Scale Y percentage). You can distort an object by applying different scale values. Applying equal horizontal and vertical scale values maintains an object's original proportions. Use the Constrain Proportions button (chain icon) to have changes in one scale field be automatically applied to the other.

Like almost all of InDesign panes, the Transform pane includes a palette menu, shown in Figure 11-20, that contains additional commands for modifying objects. Before you try to apply any of the effects in the pop-up menu, make sure the object you want to change is selected.


Figure 11-20: The Transform pane's palette menu provides several commands for modifying objects.
Tip ‚  

If you select a text or picture frame with the Selection tool and then apply a transformation, both the contents and the frame are affected. If you select a frame with the Direct Selection tool and then apply a transformation, only the frame is affected.

Here's list of the commands and a brief description of what each one does:

  • Scale Text Attributes: Select this option before changing a text frame's horizontal and/or vertical scale if you don't want to change the scale of the text within.

  • Rotate 180 ‚ °, Rotate 90 ‚ ° CW, and Rotate 90 ‚ ° CCW: These commands provide an alternative to the Rotation field. You can rotate an object 180 degrees, 90 degrees clockwise, or 90 degrees counterclockwise.

  • Flip Horizontal, Flip Vertical, and Flip Both: These commands let you create a mirror version of the original.

  • Dimensions Include Stroke Weight: Check this option if you want an object's height and width to be calculated from the outer edge of the object's stroke. Uncheck this option if you want to calculate an object's height and width from the center of the object's stroke. (In this case, a stroked object will actually be larger ‚ by the width of the stroke ‚ than the values in the width and height fields.)

  • Transform Content: If checked, the frame's content (text or picture, plus fills and gradients) is transformed along with the frame. For example, if you rotate a frame, the text is rotated as well. If this option is unchecked, the text would not be rotated along with the frame.

  • Transform Group Content: If you've selected multiple objects, this option becomes available, and it worked like Transform Content does.

  • Transformations Are Totals: When this option is selected, the angle of rotation of a nested object is calculated relative to the horizontal/vertical orientation of the page. If Transformations Are Totals is checked, the angle of a nested object is calculated relative to the angle of the frame that contains it. For example, if Transformations Are Totals is selected and you paste an unrotated item into a frame that's been rotated 30 degrees, the angle of rotation for the nested item is 0 degrees; if you then uncheck Transformations Are Totals, the nested object's angle of rotation is ‚ 30 degrees.

  • Show Content Offset: If checked, this option shows the position of the origin content (a picture) relative to the frame containing it in the X and Y fields in the Transform pane. If you move a picture within the frame, the offset will be positive as you move it to the right and/or down, and negative as you move it to the left and/or up. If unchecked, the Transform pane will instead show the absolute position on the page of the current reference point.

Modifying objects using the Control palette

I prefer using the new Control palette rather the Transform pane because the Control palette gives you more control over selected objects (refer to Figure 11-4).

For the operations such as scaling, shearing, rotating, and flipping, the Control palette works like the Transform pane described in the previous section. Its palette menu is also the same, with the following exception: There are three options that control its placement ‚ Dock at Top, Dock at Bottom, and the default Float.

But the Control palette provides access to many options not available in the Transform pane for working with frames:

  • You can set the frame stroke width and type.

  • You can have content resized to fit the frame or have the frame resized to fit the content, as well as center the content in the frame.

  • You can access the Select submenu options (covered earlier in this chapter).

  • For text frames, you can set the number of columns in the frame and control the vertical justification of paragraphs.

  • For text in a frame or on a path , you can set many character and paragraph attributes, such as font, size, leading, kerning, tracking, style (boldface, italics, strikethrough, and so on), vertical and horizontal scaling, skew, baseline shift, character style, language, ligatures, underline and strikethrough options, paragraph alignment (horizontal justification), indents, drop caps, baseline grid alignment, hyphenation, paragraph rules, keep options, and paragraph styles.




Adobe InDesign CS Bible
Adobe InDesign CS3 Bible
ISBN: 0470119381
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2003
Pages: 344
Authors: Galen Gruman

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