With tablet publishing becoming more popular every day, designers are asked to create more outlets for content without being allotted more time.
Adobe InDesign CS6 has taken huge steps toward making digital publishing even easier using new tools and techniques. Among all these updates, four features were introduced to assist you when creating or converting existing designs for digital publishing: Liquid Layout, Alternate Layout, Content Collector tools, and linked content.
Liquid Layout enables you to convert content for multiple device sizes in InDesign CS6. The key to using this feature is creating a series of liquid page rules. Liquid page rules give you control over how your content will reflow and resize when you create an alternate layout with a new page size or orientation.
To activate the Liquid Layout features, choose the Page tool (Shift+P) from the toolbar. To open the Liquid Layout panel, choose Window > Interactive > Liquid Layout (see Figure 1).
The default rule for Liquid Layout is Controlled By Master, which means that any rules applied to the master page will affect the layout.
In the Liquid Layout panel, the Liquid Page Rule pull-down menu has several options:
You can create your own rules for each page, overriding the Controlled By Master settings. For the article shown in Figure 1, I will use the object-based settings to control each item in the layout.
Figure 2 shows the original layout, which is set up for an iPad (1024 × 768 pixels) in a vertical format. My goal is to create the horizontal design with minimal need for manual adjustments.
My first task is to ensure the text frame can resize and reflow to accommodate the article in horizontal format. To do this, I need to add a rule to the frame. With the Page tool selected, I click the frame to activate the object-based rules. I see a series of pins on the four exterior sides of the text frame and two inside the frame (see Figure 3).
The exterior pins control the frame itself. Clicking a pin or using the Liquid Layout panel will cause the pin to snap to the relative side of the page. For instance if you want to pin the text frame to the left edge of the page, either select Left from the Liquid Layout panel or click the left pin on the frame. The pin snaps to the left edge of the page (see Figure 4). This keeps the text frame the same relative distance from that edge as the page resizes.
The interior pins control the content's width and height. Unlocking the pins allows the content to fluctuate with the size of the page, using the exterior pins to control the size of the frame. For this example, I have pinned all four sides outside of the frame and unlocked the two interior pins (see Figure 5).
I have one extra trick that will help fit the text into the new frame. Using Text Frame Options (choose Object > Text Frame Options), I can choose a new feature in CS6 — Flexible Column Width (see Figure 6). This allows InDesign to add columns to my frame as it expands. This gives me a nice multicolumn format for the horizontal design.
Next, I add rules to each image. On each image, I pin the right edge to the page and unlock the vertical interior rules. Additionally, I pin the top image to the top of the page and the bottom image to the bottom of the page. This keeps the images inside the margins and scales them to fit the new page.
Using the Selection tool, I apply both the Fill Frame Proportionately and Auto-Fit options in the Control panel (see Figure 7). This scales the images to fit the new frame size based on the page size.
Now that I have the object-based rules in place, I can create a new alternate layout. I need to change my page views. This is a new change in InDesign CS6. The View Pages option is part of the Pages panel menu. To access it, I click the Pages panel menu and choose View Pages > By Alternate Layout. The Pages panel now reflects that I am viewing the iPad V section (see Figure 8).
To create an alternate layout, I click the arrow next to the section name (iPad V) and choose Create Alternate Layout.
InDesign assumes that since I currently have an iPad V format I want an iPad H format next (see Figure 9). However, I can choose different page sizes using the presets for iPhone, Kindle Fire, Nook, or an Android 10-inch tablet, or I can customize my own size.
In the Liquid Page Rule pull-down menu, I select Preserve Existing to leverage the object-based rules. Otherwise, I could try using scale, re-center, or guide-based rules. When I click OK, I see the horizontal layout (see Figure 10), which is in a new section called "iPad H."
The horizontal version of the article shows the text in two-column format based on the text frame options I set up. And the images have automatically resized and are scaled to fit the new page size.
The Content Collector tools help you create alternate layouts. The set is composed of three tools: the Content Collector, Content Placer, and Content Conveyor. The Content Collector and Content Placer are located at the top of the toolbar. You can also access them using Command+B (Mac OS) or Control+B (Windows). Once the Content Collector is selected, the Content Conveyor appears at the bottom of your screen (see Figure 11). If for some reason it does not, simply press Option+B (Mac OS) or Alt+B (Windows) to toggle the Content Conveyor on.
The Content Collector enables you to select items from one page or document and place them onto a new page or document. Instead of simply copying and pasting content, this tool enables you to link your content as well.
To collect some items in my article, I select the Content Collector tool from the toolbar and simply click an item, such as an image, on the page to add it to the Content Conveyor. Each item I click will appear in the Content Conveyor in the order I clicked it (see Figure 12).
To place these into a new document, I use the Content Placer. I can switch to the Content Placer by selecting it in the toolbar or by selecting it at the bottom of the Content Conveyor. I also need to create a new document to place the content in.
Before I place the content I collected, I must first decide if I want to have linked content. If I select the Create Link option at the bottom of the Content Conveyor, my placed items will link back to the original document. This is known as a parent/child relationship, meaning that if I change the original source, any linked image or text will also update. This feature alone is one of my favorite new additions in InDesign CS6. I no longer have to worry about updating versions or making multiple changes in several documents. They can all be linked using this technique and will update with the original.
To place the images and text, I select the Content Placer tool and click my new document. This tool works exactly like a normal Place command with multiplace controls. I click and drag to resize or scale items as I am placing them, or I click once to place an item at its original size. To remove an item from the Content Conveyor, I press Escape. I can also use my left and right arrow keys to rotate through the content.
I hope you find these tools useful in your day-to-day design work. They can all save you time so you can focus less on production and more on design.
To learn more about the tools in this article, check out these Adobe TV videos:
You can also learn more about the InDesign CS6 adaptive design tools on the InDesign product site.
Kevin Stohlmeyer is an Adobe Certified Instructor, user group manager, and Adobe Community Professional based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He has been teaching Adobe products since 2000, both in higher education and at C2 Graphics Productivity Solutions. He has been featured in Photoshop User Magazine and is a NAPP member. You can find Kevin on Twitter @kstohl or on Facebook at facebook.com/kevin-stohlmeyer.