InDesign CS5 For Dummies
Book image
Explore Book Buy On Amazon

Many of the tools you find in the InDesign Tools panel are used for drawing lines and shapes on a page, so you have several different ways of creating interesting drawings for your publications. You can create anything from basic shapes to intricate drawings inside InDesign, instead of having to use a drawing program such as Illustrator.

Even though InDesign doesn’t replace Illustrator, which has many more versatile drawing tools and options for creating intricate drawings, InDesign is adequate for many drawing tasks. Here, discover how to use the most popular InDesign drawing tools.

Creating a shape with exact dimensions

Dragging on the page to create a shape is easy, but making a shape with precise dimensions using this method requires a few more steps. If you want to make a shape that’s a specific size, follow these steps:

  1. Select the Rectangle tool or the Ellipse tool.

    The tool is highlighted in the Tools panel.

  2. Click anywhere on the page, but don’t drag the cursor.

    This point becomes the upper-left corner of the Rectangle or Ellipse bounding box (the rectangle that defines the object’s vertical and horizontal dimensions). After you click to place a corner, the Rectangle or Ellipse dialog box appears.

  3. In the Width and Height text fields, enter the dimensions for creating the shape.

  4. Click OK.

    The shape is created on the page, with the upper-left corner at the place where you initially clicked the page.

Using the Polygon tool

A polygon is a shape that has many sides. For example, a square is a polygon with four sides, but the Polygon tool enables you to choose the number of sides you want for the polygon you create. When you’re using the Polygon tool, you may not want to create a shape with the default number of sides. You can change these settings before you start drawing the shape.

To customize the shape of a polygon, follow these steps:

  1. Select the Polygon tool in the Tools panel by selecting the Rectangle tool and holding down the mouse button until the menu pops up.

  2. Double-click the Polygon tool in the Tools panel.

    The Polygon dialog box opens, as shown at the bottom of this figure.

    The Polygon settings dialog box in InDesign.
  3. In the Number of Sides text field, enter the number of sides you want the new polygon to have.

    To create a star instead of a polygon, enter a number in the Star Inset text field for the percentage of the star inset you want the new shape to have.

    A higher percentage means that the sides are inset farther toward the center of the polygon, creating a star. If you want a regular polygon and not a star, enter 0 in the Star Inset text field. If you want a star, enter 50%; for a starburst, enter 25%.

  4. Click OK.

  5. Move the cursor to the page and click and drag to create a new polygon or star.

    Your new polygon or star appears on the page.

The figure shows what a few different polygons and stars with different settings look like.

About This Article

This article can be found in the category: