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Drawing Objects

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Drawing Objects

In this chapter you will learn how to...

  • Use the Selection and Direct Selection Tools

  • Draw Basic Shapes, Stars, Simple Lines, Straight Paths, and Curved Paths

  • Mix Straight and Curved Path Segments

  • Attach Curves at Angles

  • Add, Delete, and Convert Anchor Points

  • Extend and Connect Open Paths

  • Split Paths

  • Create Corner Effects

  • Make Compound Paths

  • Create Paths with the Pencil Tool

  • Edit Paths with the Smooth and Erase Tools

  • Use Type as a Graphic Element

  • Use Outlines as Masks or Text Frames

As a vector-based application, all objects and frames in InDesign are made up of paths. A path is defined as the line between two anchor points (small rectangles). Paths can be open or closed—a line is an example of an open path, and a rectangle is an example of a closed path. Anchor points represent either curves (smooth points) or corners. Smooth points have direction lines that enable you to manipulate the curve.

You will find many familiar drawing tools in InDesign. Illustrator users will be particularly comfortable with the various tools, especially the Pen tool. You can use these drawing tools to create paths such as rectangles, ellipses, polygons, and stars, and you can also use these tools to create frames in as many shapes. Using the Pen tool you can create open and closed paths of any shape, providing for creative and adaptable design. InDesign is very flexible with object attributes; you can convert from a path to graphic frame or text frame and back at almost any point. Due to this flexibility, you must pay close attention when selecting objects so that you are changing the desired attribute of the object. Frames and their attributes are discussed in detail in Chapter 4, "Working with Frames."

Using the Selection Tool

The Selection tool selects an object and its content. You can use the Selection tool to move or resize an object.

  1. Choose the Selection tool and click on an object. Where you click on a closed path should be determined by whether the path has a fill or content. If the path has fill or content you can click inside the object. If the path is open or empty, click on the path itself (Figure 3.1 ).

  2. The selected object will be contained in a bounding box, a rectangle with eight handles. These handles will have small dots in them if you have selected a frame.

  3. Drag to move an object, and drag a handle to resize an object (press the Shift key to constrain proportions).


You can choose the selection tools from the keyboard. Press V to make the Selection tool active. Press A to make the Direct Selection tool active.

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