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Adobe InDesign CC - Essential Training

Do I need to use layers in Adobe InDesign

Daniel Walter Scott

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Howdy fellas, in this video we're going to look at Layers in InDesign, where we split our contents, we've got text at the top, and we got our images underneath. And we can lock one of the layers, so that when we try and drag on it, we can't move it around, it doesn't get in our way, but know that when you're working with Layers in InDesign you're one of the few. When I'm working with InDesign, 99% of my jobs do not use Layers. It can be useful if there's things you need to separate out, and lock. Most of the time, know, they're not that complicated documents, and often you just ignore the layers panel. But we've got to use layers. In this case, it is this background. I want it stuck in the background where I don't move it, doesn't get in the way. You might have a watermark in the background, it might be a map you're drawing over, and you just don't want it to move, to put it on its own layer and lock it. Let's go and do that now.

The first thing we need to do is find the layers. They're under 'Window', and there's an option here that says 'Layers'. Just next to 'Pages' here. You're given 'Layer 1' by default. We're going to rename ours by double clicking 'Layer 1'. I'm going to call mine 'Main Copy'. We'll leave the color just fine. We'll actually leave all the defaults, and click 'OK'. So we've done nothing really, except renamed our layer. Let's make a new layer. This little turned up page here, create a new 'Layer'. This is going to be called my 'Background'. What I'd like to do is the background-- So I want to move this gradient and this image on to that layer. So I stop selecting it, makes it less annoying. And I can turn it on and off if I need to.

To do that, what we can do-- see over here, there's my main copy. This is where everything is on at the moment. If I tick this little arrow here on this particular page, all of these things here. So there's a 'Logo', I can turn the 'eyeball' on and off. And there is that 'Graphic'. There is the 'Text', and there is the 'Gradient'. So what I can do is, I want the gradient. So I'm going to click, hold, and drag him to the background layer. Now, if you drag it a bit high it gets that ghost busters go away, caution kind of symbol. You want just bit below. And then it will go into the right layer. I'll 'twirl' down background, here he is. And the other thing I want was—

You'll notice as well that if I 'twirl' both of these up, now that the background is on top of the main copy. So I can't see anything past this gradient. So what I'm going to do is click, hold and drag gradient - see that line that appears - underneath the main copy. Let's have a look at the main copy as well and just say, I want you my friend, which is-- Who is you? Your Table Top is too big. I'll grab this and drag it on top of the background. Or just below it, and it goes inside. Now what we can do is, I can double check we're on the right layer by turning the 'eyeball' on and off for that whole layer. They will disappear because they're white, this stuff on top. What I want to do is, I want to lock this. And this empty box here, you're meant to just know that's the locking icon. So just click in the box next to the word, and now what happens is, I can't move it. With it off, I can move him around, and they get in my way, but what I want to do is, click on this, lock it. And it just means these can stay in the background. It might be a water mark it might be some sort of map you're drawing over the top of. You can lock on its own layer, but know that a lot of people don't use layers in InDesign. But there's going to be times when you need it. I'll show you one of the times that I use it quite a bit, is during my notes.

Here's some of the notes that I write for another course of mine. This is an After Effects course I do. If you look under Motion Graphics, go check out that course. There'll be a link on the screen here. What you'll see here, in my layers panel I have a tutor's notes and a student's notes. And what I do is, if I turn the 'Tutors' on and off, it kind of adds a level of text across the top. It adjusts here, and what I do is add teacher's notes to this layer. Say things like, "Now would be a good time for the teacher to explain this concept,' or something. I build classes for lots of other teachers, and they have to go through, so I have a bit where I can turn it off, hit 'Make PDF', and that goes out to the students for the class. And then I have a teacher version that I turn on, and I just write notes in here for the teacher only. So they print, and make a second PDF for them, with their notes on it. All using the same InDesign file, but I can make two separate PDFs very quickly by just turning it off, 'Export PDF', turning it back on. 'Export PDF' for the tutor.

The other reason I show you here is that, even if you don't use it there are people that are, and there'll be templates you'll download that do, and if you don't know how layers work that can be very confusing because you think you're selecting them, and they're all under different layers. That can be a little bit of a pain. One of the big pain is sometimes people have them non printing. So what they'll do is they'll go into our document here-- let's go to our 'Layers', and let's say that-- I'm going to double click the word 'Main Copy'. And people can do the separate layer, you can turn it off. If I hit 'Print' now, none of this text is going to actually print. I've spent days trying to work out why my InDesign file exported to PDF without a whole layer of stuff. And it's because somebody turned that off. So that's just a little heads up in case you get stuck with that exact same problem. Layers can be turned on to not print. Let's click 'OK', and move on to the next video.