InDesign CS5 introduced new ways to lay out, scale and rotate page content. This tutorial explores how to implement these new functions in a real-world scenario. Maestros of the keyboard shortcut may be underwhelmed by these new developments, but there is no need to unlearn what you have already absorbed. The new Corner Effects and Gap Tool, used with the Content Indicator, add greatly to a designer’s layout control.

The document used in this tutorial has been set up in an orthodox manner using columns within a grid, but InDesign’s new tools can be used in a freeform way too. The Gap Tool, as its name suggests, is all about controlling white space; a fundamental principle of design.

1. Setting up a page  This page design has been set up using Columns and Grids. You can use your own dimensions, but this document is 940 x 780pts, with 60pt margins. The six columns have a 20pt gutter. The grid is set to 60pts with six divisions, and Baseline Grid is set to 10pt increments, with Guides creating 30 squares.

2. Editing a grid  Grids are found under InDesign > Preferences > Grids; columns are under Layout > Margins and Columns. If you want Smart Guides on, go to View > Grids & Guides. A formal page structure isn’t essential here, but dragging picture frames onto the page is. Here four equal-sized picture frames conform to the grid.

3. Getting the images  Select your picture frames and, from the Control Panel, click Auto-Fit. This ensures Picture Content scales with the Picture Frame. Adobe Bridge has been used to assess a folder of images. Then File > Place…, or C-D was used to import. The C key enables multiple selections. 

4. So far, nothing new  From Import, click Open and then move your cursor over each of your picture frames and click each in turn to place your images. With the Selection Tool, hover your cursor over each of the images. Note that two concentric circles appear the middle of each picture frame. This is the new Content Indicator.