Useful Tips

How to snap objects in InDesign


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Quick snap objects

Anchored objects are usually text frames or frames with images that are attached to some point in the main text frame. Their peculiarity is that as the text is rearranged, the attached objects move along with the anchor point. When there are a lot of such objects in layout, then tackling them is a rather tedious matter.

Keyboard Shortcut Method

Layout using linked objects

Tim cole suggests simplifying the process of linking text frames by creating a hotkey plugin Keyboard Shortcuts. In the Plugins section on our website you can find a link to download it. You don’t have to pay money for it, working with it is very simple and you can easily figure it out.
In the first step, you need to make a prototype of the bound frame on the pasteboard,
Fill it with Placeholder Text, create and assign Paragraph Style and Object Style to it. When creating an object style, the text style and binding parameters are specified. After creating the styles, the frame prototype can already be deleted.
Next, the plugin starts. Keyboard Shortcuts and in the line is entered insert anchored. We will see two possible commands that the plugin has sorted.

Keyboard Shortcuts Plugin

A suitable shortcut for creating a keyboard shortcut is the command Text and Tables: Insert Anchored Object ... I picked up the keyboard shortcut Ctrl + /. You can assign your own.
Now you need to configure the insertion options for the attached objects. To do this, go to the menu: Object> Anchored Object> Insert (Defaults). (If this item is not available, then you have something highlighted on the strip). Set the content type to Text, we’ll set the text style and object style we created earlier, as well as the required sizes.

Further in this window you need to check that the parameters below are the same as when creating the object style.
After that, it is already possible to begin arranging and filling in the attached objects. Tim Cole recommends placing text for anchored objects on the pasteboard, assigning it a style, and opening it in the Story Editor. Then arrange the windows vertically (Windows> Arrange> Tile vertically) and, inserting a new anchored object using the created keyboard shortcut, immediately fill it by dragging the text with drag and drop from Story editor and ending by pressing Ctrl + Alt + C (Fit Frame to Content). In order to drag and drop text, you must have the appropriate options enabled in Preferences.
It only remains to be regretted that anchored text frames cannot be interconnected. This would make them easier to fill in when starting a paragraph in a new frame.

Method for adding frames using Search and replace

Perhaps you sometimes had to make up ads for the purchase / sale of cars or real estate, where each of them was accompanied by a photograph. Or you were dealing with a directory similar to the one shown in the figure below.

In such cases, you also have to deal with related frames. Quickly put them all in the right places will help this method.
First of all, set the options for the attached objects: menu Object> Anchored object> Options

Attached Object Options

Set the parameter there Position Customcheck the box Relative to spine, if you want the picture on the left page to be on the left and on the right to the right. The remaining parameters should be similar to those shown in the figure. Ticking a fad Prewiew You will immediately observe the changes by entering your parameter values.
Next, delete the picture from the frame (so that only the frame remains) and create an object style for the frame. When creating a style, it’s important to make sure that Anchored Object options has the same parameters as we set now through the menu.

Creating an Object Style

If desired, you can go to the Frame Fitting Option parameter block, set the Reference Point in the center and set the desired Fitting value. This subsequently can facilitate the placement of pictures in frames during their import.
Untie the frame from the text: right-click> Anchored object> Release.
Apply the created style to the frame.
Copy the frame into memory.
Select the text frame with the black arrow.
Run the search and replace function (Ctrl + F) and go to the GREP tab.

Search and replace window

Let's move on to the field Find what. We will search for the beginning of the paragraph.

Find the beginning of a paragraph for the Find what field

In order to bind the frame copied to the memory to a specific paragraph in the future, select the style in the field Find format. In my example, this is the head style that decorates album names.

Defining a style for a search

Thus, we give the task of "search at the beginning of a paragraph in the head style."
To complete the search query, we indicate that you need to search for any character.

To replace, select any character (Any Character)

Let's move on to the field Change to. Select the formatted content of the clipboard.

Select formatted clipboard content

We set the range of the search and replace: select from the list Search: Story.

Search and replace range

After that, click on the most important button Change all and evaluate the result.


Anchor objects in InDesign (Computer image of Laurent Davein from

Open your InDesign document and find the text next to the chart or sidebar. Drag the ruler guide just below the baseline of the text in which you want to anchor the object.

Position the object on the platform. This should not be perfectly aligned with the anchor text. Cut it to the clipboard.

Place the cursor at the beginning of the paragraph that you will use to snap. Select "Paste" in the "Object" menu in the "Linked Object" submenu. The Insert Attached Object dialog box opens.

Configure the parameters of your object. Define your anchor points, choose what type of object you want to insert (text or graphic). Do not worry if you do not take the right ones. Close the dialog box.

Place the cursor on a new blank frame. Paste the clipboard object in the docked frame.

Adjust the object using the tab to align the text. Select “Options” in the “Snap Object” submenu and adjust waypoints and offsets. Check the “Preview” to see the changes before closing the dialog.

About linked objects

Snap objects are elements, such as images or text fields, that are attached or tied to some text. As text is re-arranged throughout the document, the anchored object moves with the anchor. Snapping allows you to attach any objects to certain lines or blocks of text, for example: frames, footnotes, pictures or icons associated with a given word.

An anchored object can be created by inserting or inserting an object or frame into the text using the Text tool or the Insert Linked Object command. When you place an object, Adobe InDesign CS4 adds a marker of the attached object to the insertion point. Attached objects inherit the tilt and rotation attributes of the text frame to which they are attached, even if located outside of it. These attributes can be changed by selecting the object.

Linked objects can be created in one of the following positioning modes.

Aligns anchored objects to the baseline of the insertion point. The offset of the object along the Y axis relative to the baseline can be adjusted. This type of bound object is selected by default. In previous versions of InDesign, these objects were called attached images.

Places the attached object above the line, aligning it in one of the following ways: “Left”, “Center”, “Right”, “To the spine”, “From the spine” and “(Paragraph settings)”. “Paragraph settings” is an alignment mode applied to a paragraph that contains a marker for the attached object.

Puts the anchored object at the position specified by the user in the dialog box “Attached Object Parameters” dialog box. An object can be placed anywhere inside or outside the text frame.

Objects with text along a path can be placed with positioning in a line or above a line (see the section Adding anchored objects to text along a path).

Tim Cole provides a keyboard shortcut for inserting anchored frames: Anchored Frames Productivity Shortcut.

Create an anchored object

If there is no object for the room (for example, the text of the frame has not yet been written), then you can create an empty anchored frame that will serve as a template for the content that will be added later. The size of the attached frame can be changed at any time, while updating the parameters of its position will occur automatically.

To add an anchored object, use the Text tool to place the insertion point in the anchor, and then place or paste the object itself from the clipboard.

If the frame for the object is located higher than the line of text in which it is located, then either the text will overlap the imported image or the interval over the line will increase. Try to choose a different position for the attached object, insert a soft or hard line break, resize the nested object, or change the leading of the surrounding lines.

To snap an existing object, select it and choose Edit> Cut. Then use the Text tool to set the insertion point to where the object should be placed, and choose Edit> Paste. By default, the anchored object is located in a row.

To add a template frame for an object that does not exist yet (for example, for text that has not yet been written for the side margin), use the Text tool to set the insertion point to the object’s anchor point, and then choose Object> Snap Object> Insert. "

Text characters can be attached by creating curves for them. When performing this operation, each character of the text is automatically converted to an attached object in a string.

To skip the dialog box “Linked object”, use the key combination “Insert anchored object / Go to marker of the attached object”. You may need to specify it in the keyboard shortcut editor (it is available in the "Text and Tables" area). Pressing this key combination again deselects the object and moves the cursor back to the main text. (See Using Keyboard Shortcuts.)

Parameters of inserted anchored objects

When you insert a template element for the linked object, the following content settings can be specified.

Defines the type of object that the template frame will contain.

If you select the value “Text”, the entry point will appear in the text frame, and if “Graphics” or “Not assigned”, then InDesign will select the frame.

Defines the style that must be applied to format the object. If the object styles were previously defined and saved, they will be listed in this menu.

Defines the paragraph style that you must apply to format the object. If paragraph styles were previously defined and saved, they will be listed in this menu.

If a paragraph style is specified for an object style, a different style is selected in the "Paragraph Style" menu, or the position parameters of the linked object are changed for a given style, then a plus sign (+) appears in the "Object Style" menu, indicating that the parameters changed.

Height and width

Set the dimensions of the template frame.

Placement options in a line or above a line

If you select the item “In or above a line” in the “Attached object parameters” dialog box of the “Position” menu, then the following parameters will be available to configure the placement of the attached object (they are also available in the “Insert attached object” dialog box).

Aligns the bottom edge of the anchored object with a baseline. Moving nested objects along the axis Y It is associated with certain restrictions: the upper edge of the object cannot be lower than the lower edge of the leading service field, and the lower edge of the object cannot be higher than the upper edge of the leading service field.

Adjusts the position relative to the baseline. You can also use a mouse to vertically move an object across a page.

Aligns the object above the line of text that contains the marker of the attached object, but below the line preceding it.

Select one of the following options.

“Left”, “Center”, “Right”.

Performs alignment within the column. These options ignore the indentation values ​​applied to the paragraph and align the object within the entire column.

“To the Spine” and “From the Spine”

Aligns the object to the right or left edge, depending on the side of the spread. These options ignore the indentation values ​​applied to the paragraph and align the object within the entire column.

Aligns the object based on the alignment type specified for the paragraph. When this option is selected, the alignment value of the paragraph is used when aligning the object.

Sets the position of the object relative to the lower edge of the leading service field in the previous line of text. Positive values ​​shift down both the object itself and the text below it. Negative values ​​shift the text below the object upward (towards the object). The maximum negative value is equal to the height of the object.

Sets the position of the object relative to the height of the capital letters of the first character in the line below it. If the value is zero, the lower edge of the object is aligned with the height of the capital letters. Positive values ​​move the text below the object downward (from the bottom of the object). Negative values ​​shift the text below the object upward (towards the object).

Bound objects in the Above Row mode are always next to the row containing the anchor point. The text will not be arranged so that the object is at the bottom of one page, and the line with the marker of the attached object is at the top of the next page.

Custom placement options

In the custom placement mode of the attached object, the following options are available. They are set in the Insert Bound Object dialog box or the Bound Object Parameters dialog box. For step-by-step instructions for using these parameters, see the section Selecting the Custom Position of the Tied Object.

Determines whether the object can be aligned with the spine of the document. If this option is selected, then the screen representation “Control point of the attached object” is displayed as a spread. These two pages are mirror images of each other. If this option is selected, objects located on one side of the spread (for example, on an external field) remain on the external field, even if the text is rearranged to the opposite page.

If, after selecting the “Relative to Spine” parameter, the horizontal shift value is changed, then the direction of the object’s displacement can change. This is due to the fact that the direction of the displacement also depends on which side of the turn the object is located.

Anchored Object: Control Point

Sets the point on the object that needs to be aligned with some point on the page (set by the position of the control point of the attached object). For example, if you want to align the right side of an object with a page element, such as a text frame, click the far right point on the screen view. For more information on using this breakpoint, see Selecting the Custom Position of an Associated Object.

Attached Object Position: Checkpoint

Specifies the place on the page (determined by the "Reference (X) and (Y)" parameters), relative to which you want to align the object. For example, if you select “Text Frame” for the “Reference (X)” parameter and “String (baseline)” for the “Reference (Y)” parameter, then the screen representation will consist of a horizontal area of ​​the text frame and The vertical area of ​​the line of text containing the marker of the anchored object. If you click the leftmost point on this screen representation, the control point of the object will be aligned with the left edge of the text frame and the baseline of the text.

Depending on the values ​​of the parameters “Reference point (X)” and “Reference point (Y)”, the screen representation “Position of the control point of the attached object” displays either three or nine positions. Параметры строки (например, «Строка (базовая линия)») отображают всего три параметра: слева по центру, по центру и справа по центру, поскольку вертикальное позиционирование задается маркером привязанного объекта в тексте.

Начало отсчета (Х)

Определяет объект, который необходимо использовать в качестве основы для выравнивания по горизонтали. For example, the Text Frame option allows you to align the object in the center, on the right or left side of the text frame. The horizontal alignment depends on the location of the control points and the offset specified by the “X-axis shift” parameter.

For example, if you want the object to appear on the page margin with the right edge captured by the page margin, select “Page margin” for the “Reference point (X)” parameter and set the right endpoint in the “Reference point of the linked object” screen display and the left extreme point in the screen representation "Position of the control point of the attached object."

BUT. Align the right side of the object with the left side of the text frame, B. Align the right side of the object with the left side of the page margin

Moves an object left or right. The direction of travel depends on the control point. When centered on a page element, a positive value moves the object to the right. The direction of travel also depends on whether the “Relative to Spine” option is selected.

Reference point (Y)

Specifies the object to use as the basis for vertical alignment. For example, the Page Edge option allows you to use the edge of the page as the basis when aligning an object to the center, top or bottom of the page. The position of the control point of the anchored object determines whether the object will be centered, at the top or bottom edge of this page element. If the line mode is selected (for example, “Line (baseline)”), then in the field “Position of the control point of the attached object” only the middle horizontal line of points is displayed.

Moves an object up or down. If the value is positive, the object moves down.

Hold in column height

Holds an object inside a column of text if the rearranged text can cause the object to move outside the column. In such cases, either the lower edge of the object is aligned with the lower indentation, or the upper edge of the object with the upper indentation. For example, the attached object extends beyond the line and looks good in the middle of the column. However, if this option is not selected and when linking the marker of the attached object has moved to the bottom of the column, the object may go over the edge of the column or even go beyond the page. If this option is selected, then the object cannot be moved above or below the column borders. When resizing an object, if necessary, it will be aligned again with the upper or lower border of the column. This option is only available if the line mode (for example, “Line (baseline)” is selected for “Reference (Y)”).

When InDesign changes the position of the object, fitting it to the borders of the column, the specified offset value along the Y axis is displayed in the dialog box with a plus sign (+).

Exclude manual positioning

Ensures that the anchored object cannot be moved on the page by dragging or dragging.

Shows changes in the positioning of elements on the page after they are completed.

Selecting the position of the attached object

When using the “Attached Object Parameters” dialog box to select the ordered position of the attached object, you need to pay attention to the following points.

The parameters of the ordered position include four main points: Two on-screen representations of the control point and two menus - “Reference (X)” and “Reference (Y)”. Together, these parameters determine the position of the object. For example, “Reference (X)” and “Reference (Y)” define the meaning of the value represented by the “Position of the control point of the attached object” parameters. This can be a text frame, a line of text in a column, or an entire page. The following figure shows how to change the position of an object by selecting various control points with constant values ​​for the “Reference (X)” and “Reference (Y)” parameters.

BUT.In the “Tied object” screen view, the lower right point is selected, and in the “Tied object position” screen view, the left center point is selected. B. Move the screen point of the anchored object to the upper left corner and save the location of the screen point in the center left. AT. Saving the screen point of the anchored object in the upper left and moving the point of the anchored object to the center on the right

To create an anchored object that, when rearranging the text, keeps its position on the page unchanged (for example, in the upper left corner) and changes it only if the text is transferred to another page, attach the object to the field or edge of the page. For example, set “Reference (X)” and “Reference (Y)” for “Page Field”, click the upper left control point for the object and the upper left control point for the page element. When you rearrange the text, the object will remain in the upper left corner of the page margins. Only when the line of text containing the anchor point is re-arranged on another page, will the object be moved to the upper left corner of the next page.

A. Move the object using the Page Margin or Page Edge options relative to the X and Y axes B. When reflowing text, an object follows text only when text moves to another page

To align the object with the specified line of text during rearrangement, select the Line option in the Start of Reference (Y) menu.

Select the “Text frame” option from the “Reference (X)” menu to save the object within the text frame, but not aligned with the specified line of text when it is re-arranged.

Select the Relative to Spine option to align the object with the field, for example, to create a frame that remains in the external field when the text is rearranged from page to page.