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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Rob Womack

If there’s anyone who can honestly say, “Been there, done that,” it’s Rob. After traveling the world for seven years in his 20’s, Rob went to LA and started working in film production. Then it was off to New York, where he learned how to program, which eventually brought him back home to Louisville to build websites. At Current360, Rob heads up our in-house production studio, creating all things digital for our clients — videos, commercials, radio spots, and a lot more. 

When he’s at home, Rob likes to create things like homemade kombucha and music.