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Drawing Objects

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Drawing Basic Shapes

The drawing tools in InDesign are quite similar to any other drawing program, and function much the same. You will notice that there are two tools for each shape, one for the basic shape and one for the frame in that shape. You can use either and then change the attribute of the shape at any time. The frame tools are convenient for drawing placeholder shapes for images that will be imported later. You can identify a graphic frame by the X in the shape. See Chapter 4, "Working with Frames," for more on frames, and see Chapter 5, "Importing Images," for more on importing and placing images.

  1. Select the Rectangle, Rectangle Frame, Ellipse, Ellipse Frame, Polygon, or Polygon Frame tool from the Tools palette.

  2. Click and drag to draw a shape. The default polygon has six sides; use the up and down arrows on your keyboard to adjust the number of sides.

  3. Press the Shift key while dragging to constrain rectangles to perfect squares and ellipses to perfect circles (Figure 3.6). On a polygon, this will constrain all sides to be of equal length.

  4. Press the (Option) [Alt] key while dragging to make the shape expand from the center point outward (Figure 3.7).

  5. To move the shape while you are drawing it, hold down the spacebar while dragging. When the shape is repositioned, release the spacebar (but not the mouse!) to continue drawing.

  6. To create a shape by the numbers, just click once with the tool anywhere on the drawing area. The tool dialog box will appear, allowing you to enter a width and height for the shape (Figure 3.8).


It is possible to have the (Option) [Alt] key, the Shift key, and spacebar all pressed at the same time to make the object expand from the center, constrain proportion, and move while drawing.

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