Alternate/Liquid Layouts in InDesign

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Before CS6, if a designer needed to produce multiple sizes of an ad, they needed to:

  1. Create ad #1
  2. Save as a separate document (ad #2)
  3. Resize the document settings
  4. Rework the layout to coordinate with the new specs.
  5. Repeat steps 2-5 until all the different ad sizes have been created.

Phew! That’s a lot of steps for one little re-size. Now, with InDesign’s Alternate Layout function, designers can create multiple versions of a layout, for either print or electronic devices, all within the same document.
The Alternate Layout function allows a user to create a separate horizontal or vertical layout within the same document. The designer can even view both layouts side by side to compare the designs. One of my favorite features of this function is the “linked content”. All copy content is linked to each layout within the document. So, if you were to change a word or paragraph within one layout, all the others will recognize and change, as well. This saves time by allowing one quick change instead of having to open up all the different ads and manually changing each one.
Another feature within the Alternate Layout is the Liquid Layout. This is great if a user is designing for something across multiple devices. The designer can create different rules to determine how objects and copy appear on a page when the page changes size or orientation (for instance, if you have an iPad and want to design for vertical and horizontal layouts).  There are four rules that can be set:

  1. Scale – all the content on the page will be scaled in proportion, as the page resizes.
  2. Re-center – all the content on the page is recentered and remains its original size.
  3. Guide-based – all the content on the page is replaced based on guides that have been set.
  4. Object-based – each object can have a relative or fixed behavior attached to it’s outline.

These new features in inDesign allow designers to not only save time in resizing print collateral, but to also design more effectively across different platforms.

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Chaney Given

Chaney is a talented and accomplished designer and illustrator, who has expanded his skill set to include motion graphics and video editing. With nearly a decade of experience, his client work includes Waterstep, Baptist Health, the Archdiocese of Louisville Catholic Schools, First Harrison Bank, and many more