Learn InDesign Tutorials: What's New in Adobe InDesign CS5?

InDesign CS5 book
Adobe InDesign CS5 introduces some significant changes to an already amazing page layout application. This chapter shows you what's new in InDesign CS5 so you can benefit from these changes immediately.
What you'll learn in this lesson:
  • Using the Mini Bridge panel
  • Implementing Metadata captions
  • Drawing multiple frames in a grid
  • Exploring the Animation features

Live Corner Effects in InDesign

InDesign has always been able to apply corner effects to a frame. However, InDesign CS5 provides a new method of applying corner effects to a frame called Live Corner Effects. With Live Corner Effects, you can visually adjust all corners of a frame or selected corners without the need to enter a dialog box. What’s more is that you can apply different Effects to each corner independently of one another.

With any rectangular frame selected, click on the yellow box in the upper-right corner of the frame. Diamonds appear in each corner of the frame. Click on any diamond and drag left to right to change the radius of the default rounded corner effect of the frame. Alt+click (Windows) or Option+click (Mac OS) on any of the diamonds to toggle through the available effects that can be applied to the frame. Shift+Alt+Ctrl click (Windows) or Shift+Option+Command+click (Mac OS) on any diamond to change the effect for only a single corner at a time.

This is a fantastic improvement from prior versions of InDesign! In addition, note that after applying these effects, the radii of the corners remain accurate and do not distort when changing the size of the frame.


The Live Corner Effects diamonds.

Multiple Page Sizes

For the first time, InDesign CS5 allows multiple size pages with a single document. The possibilities of this feature are endless. In the figure on the next page, you can see that there are three pages in the document positioned side-by-side, however, the first and third pages are smaller than the second page. This type of document is commonly referred to as a gatefold and can be challenging to create, and to convey to a printer who will be producing this type of a job. Thankfully, InDesign CS5 makes this extremely easy.

InDesign CS5 provides a new tool called the Page tool (Pagetool.ai) who’s sole purpose is adjusting the size and position of the selected page. Click on any page in your document with the Page tool to select the page. With the page selected, you’ll see size and position information in the Control panel at the top of the screen. Adjust the size as necessary, and then click and drag on the page with the page tool to adjust it’s location or type in coordinates for the page in the Control panel.


An InDesign document with multiple page sizes applied to various pages.


The Gap tool

Another tool that is a new addition to InDesign CS5 is the Gap tool (Gap.ai). The job of the Gap tool is to make adjustments to the space between objects or between an object and the margin of the page. The Gap tool is very useful for modifying a layout without needing to recalculate the space between objects.

With the Gap tool selected, hover the cursor over the space between two objects or between an object and it’s margin. You’ll notice that space becomes highlighted with a gap indicator displayed within the gap. Click and drag left to right or top to bottom, depending on the orientation of your objects, and you’ll notice that the gap is maintained, but the frame of the objects next to the gap are adjusted accordingly to the distance that you drag.

In addition, hold down the Ctrl (Windows) or Command (Mac OS) keys to resize the gap instead of the objects. Hold down Alt (Windows) or Option (Mac OS) to move the gap and related objects at the same time.


The new Gap tool.

Content Grabber

Adobe InDesign has always given the user great control over positioning graphics within a frame. However, it could often become frustrating having to constantly switch between the Selection tool (select.ai) and the Direct Selection tool (directselect.ai). InDesign CS5 changes that by introducing the Content Grabber. The Content Grabber is displayed whenever you hover the Selection tool over an existing frame that contains a graphic. Clicking the Content Grabber will immediately select the frames content (the graphic) without the need to switch to the Direct Selection tool. What’s more is that with the Selection tool still selected, you can click and drag to reposition the graphic within the frame as well as resize the graphic within the frame. This feature is bound to be a favorite for all InDesign users!


The Content Grabber allows you to reposition a graphic
within a frame without the need to switch tools.

Improved Transformations

InDesign CS5 provides a number of improvements when transforming objects. First of all, all the transformation tools have been consolidated to one button. Now the Rotate, Scale, and Shear tools can be found directly within the Free transform tool button (FreeTransform.ai). Simply click and hold on the Free Transform tool to display all of the Transformation tools. That being said, they’ve also made it easier to transform objects without the need to select some of the transformation tools. With the Selection tool active, click on a frame to select it. Move the cursor outside of one of the frame’s corners and a rotate indicator is displayed. Simply click and drag to rotate the object. Scaling an object can still be accomplished with the Selection tool active by simply holding down Shift+Ctrl (Windows) or Shift+Command (Mac OS) and dragging one of the corner handles of the frame. InDesign CS5 also allows you to transform multiple selected objects very easily in the same way without having to group the items first.

You can also easily distribute multiple selected items on the page by selecting all of them with the Selection tool (select.ai) and then dragging one of the handles of the selected group of items while holding down the Spacebar on the keyboard.


Easily distribute multiple items on a page by selecting the items
and then dragging a handle while holding down the spacebar.

Spanning and Splitting paragraphs

When working in a text frame defined as a multi-column frame, you can specify that a paragraph can span more than one column of that multi-column text frame. With the text cursor clicked within the paragraph that should span multiple columns, choose an option from the Span Columns drop-down menu in the Control panel. If you don’t see this option, make sure that you are viewing the Paragraph formatting controls in the Control panel.

InDesign CS5 also allows you to split a column for instances where you want multiple columns within a single column of a text frame or within a single column text frame. Simply select the text that you’d like to split, then from the Span Columns drop-down menu, choose Split and the number of columns that you’d like to split the selected text into.


A paragraph can now span multiple columns in a multi-column text frame or split
selected text into multiple columns.


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InDesign Tutorial

Learn InDesign with this Adobe InDesign Tutorial based on the book written by AGI's Adobe Certified Instructors and used in AGI's Adobe InDesign training classes. This InDesign tutorial is provided free of charge for you to learn InDesign on your own and to see the quality of the InDesign book, InDesign training, and InDesign tutorials created by AGI. To learn InDesign with the help of one of our expert instructors please visit AGI's training website. If you are interested in buying this InDesign training book you can buy it on-line at Amazon.com or at your favorite local book store. The team at AGI hopes that you find this Adobe InDesign tutorial a useful way to learn InDesign.