Indesign pen tool

by Design Workshop Sydney

The Pen tool in Indesign is used to create curved or angular shapes either for illustrative purposes or as frames for images. We show you how to use this clever tool in our Adobe Indesign training courses.Print
In the example shown here we used the Pen tool to create a footer feature on the Master Page, which means that that this element will be carried throughout the document in that same location. In the same fashion we could create document sidebars or custom shapes to frame images.
First select the Pen tool from the toolbox. The tool can be used in a variety of ways. To create angular geometric shapes simply click in several locations on the page. The resultant image does not have to be perfect, however. It can then be edited using the Direct Selection tool (the white arrow).Click and drag on an anchor point to move that point, or click and drag on a handle end to alter the curvature of that segment of the shape.
You can also add or subtract anchor points using the tools stacked behind the Pen tool. And you can convert angles to rounded corners and vice versa using the Convert Anchor Point tool.
Finally we adjust the fill and stroke colours of the shape via the bottom of the toolbox, or in the Colours or Swatches panel. In the example above we have used a maroon fill colour with no stroke. The shape can be left now as a simple design feature, or you could go to File > Place to place an image inside the shape.
More tips and techniques can be found at Adobe user groups which meet regularly in most capital cities, and are free forums for designers to discuss topics and the latest Indesign features. See also many examples of our own clients’ work on our Facebook page.
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