Edit Freeform Paths in InDesign CS5 Shapes - dummies

By Jennifer Smith, Christopher Smith, Fred Gerantabee

A freeform path is the outline of a shape; the path can be closed, like a rectangle, or open, like a curved line. You can edit (change) a freeform path and alter the shape or line.

Edit a shape’s path

  1. Select the Direct Selection tool from the Tools panel and then click a point.

    The selected point appears solid; unselected points appear hollow. If you select a curve point, handles extend from it.

    A curved point and a corner point edit differently when you select and drag them. Curve points have handles that extend from the point, but corner points don’t.

    Select the Direct Selection tool by pressing the A key.

  2. Drag the point where you want it; to edit a curve point, click a handle end and drag the handle left or right.

    The path changes, depending on how you drag the handles.

Change a curve point into a corner point

Suppose that you want to make a corner point a curve point. You can do just that with the Convert Direction Point tool.

  1. Select the Convert Direction Point tool.

    This tool resides on a menu under the Pen tool in the Tools panel. Hold down the mouse button over the Pen tool icon until a menu appears; select the Convert Direction Point tool from the menu.

  2. Click a curved point with the Convert Direction Point tool.

    The point you click changes into a corner point, which changes the path’s appearance.

  3. To change a corner point into a curve point, click and drag a corner point with the Convert Direction Point tool.

    The point is modified as a curved point. This step changes the appearance of the path again.

This tool is handy when you need to alter the way a path changes direction. If you need to manipulate a point in a different way, you may need to change its type by using the Convert Direction Point tool.

Modify frame corners

You can use corner effects on basic shapes to customize the shape’s look. Corner effects are useful for adding an interesting look to borders.

You can be quite creative with some of the shapes you apply effects to by applying more than one effect to a single shape.

  1. With the Selection tool, select the shape and then choose Object→Corner Options.

    The Corner Options dialog box opens.

  2. Choose an effect from the Effects drop-down list and enter a value into the Size text field.

    For example, choose the Drop Shadow option to create a soft shadow behind an object or choose Bevel and Emboss to give an object a 3D effect.

  3. Click OK.

    The corner option is applied to the shape.