Wednesday, June 2, 2010

InDesign - Aligning to anchored objects by copy/paste and changing views

I've been working on a teacher's book in which answers to multiple questions appear as a magenta circles on top of some answer choices (ScreenShot01). Editorial usually update the questions from pass to pass (they use InCopy) and so the answers need to be changed accordingly.


The dilemma is that the answer choices, ABCD, are in-line anchored object so using the align tools won't work when trying to align them to the magenta circles. This meant that manually aligning the magenta circles on top of the answer choices have to be done… for several hundred pages. Not a very efficient way of production.

I know that switching zoom views to 200% or 400% via the keyboard while having something selected changes the view to whatever zoom level with your selection centered, so I thought I'd do some testing and this is what I came up with:
  • I copied one magenta circle into the clipboard (menu Edit/Copy).
  • I selected the answer choice in which the magenta circle answer will sit on.
  • I switched views via the Mac keyboard short cut cmd-2 or cmd-4 (that is, 200% or 400% zoom level). Notice how the item you selected becomes centered in the view.
  • I then pasted the magenta circle (menu Edit/Paste) which places the contents of the clipboard dead center in the current view.
Voila! Answer choice and magenta circle are now aligned vertically and horizontally. No more manually aligning the magenta circle to the troublesome anchored answer choice.

So you can quickly center an object to an in-line anchored text by copying, switching to either 200% or 400% via keyboard commands, and pasting back the content while having the in-line anchor object selected.

Your thoughts and comments welcomed.
- Carlos F. Meneses

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