Indesign layers

by Design Workshop Sydney

Whilst not as crucial as in Photoshop, layers can help when creating multi-page layouts in Indesign. We show you how in our Adobe Indesign coursesIndesign-layers
Layers are accessed in the top right-hand panel. By default you have one layer, and this is all you need in a simple document like a flyer or poster. But for something more complex, like a newsletter or annual report, it’s best to have at least two layers, one for Graphics and one for Text.
Double-click on the words Layer 1 to rename the layer to Graphics. Then right-click on the layer to Create New Layer, and name this Text. Two layers are enough for most documents, but sometimes you may want to create third layer for Background Colours. Note the arbitrary colours of red and blue on the labels – these help you see which objects are on which layer. When you select a text or graphic object on the page the bounding box will be coloured either blue or red.
Another important thing to remember with layers, in any Adobe program, is that the top-most layer is closer to the eye. So text is usually on top of graphics, therefore keep the text layer on the top of the layer stack.
No we go ahead and build our document, making sure that graphics elements (logos, diagrams, photos, and coloured sidebars) are kept of the Graphics layer, and all text is created on the Text layer. If you forget, and create something on the wrong layer, simply select it with the Selection tool (the black arrow) – you’ll notice a small “proxy” dot appears on the layer – this represents the selected object. Click and drag the proxy dot to the correct layer, and the object itself is now moved to that layer, as can be verified by the colour of the object’s bounding box.
Layers can also be locked or hidden – see the eyeball and box/lock icons to the right of the layer’s label. This is useful when you are initially placing text in the document – the graphics may be a distraction, therefore turn off the layer visibility. Similarly when you want to move images around the page without disturbing the text, simply hide or lock the text layer.
Layers are simply a tool to be used in the construction of layout pages – use them in the way which suits your workflow best.
More tips can be found at the Sydney Indesign User Group which meets regularly in the city, and is a free forum for designers to discuss topics and the latest Indesign features. See many examples of our own clients’ work on our Facebook page.
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