Frame and shape tools in InDesign

Contents
  1. Draw rectangles, ellipses, and polygons with various tools in Adobe InDesign
  2. Indesign Frame tools vs. shape tools
  3. Using the Crop tool
  4. Placing an image in a frame
  5. Resize a frame or resize an image inside a frame
  6. Change the size of the frame with text
  7. Using the shape tools

Draw rectangles, ellipses, and polygons with various tools in Adobe InDesign

By default, Adobe InDesign CC displays the Rectangular Box tool and the Rectangular Shape tool in the toolbar, which is usually located to the left of the workspace. Both tools have a pop-up menu indicated by a small arrow in the lower right corner of the tool. The drop-down list groups the Ellipse Frame tool and the Polygon Frame tool with the Rectangle Frame tool, and groups the Ellipse tool and Polygon tool with the Rectangle tool. Switch between the three tools by hovering over a tool in the toolbar and then clicking to open the pop-up menu.

Indesign Frame tools vs. shape tools

All tools work the same way, but they draw different shapes. Do not confuse the framing tools with the Rectangle, Ellipse, and Polygon shape tools. The Frame tools create borders (or frames) for images, while the Rectangle, Ellipse, and Polygon tools draw shapes that can be filled or outlined with color.

Shortcut for frames f † Shape shortcuts – m

Using the Crop tool

To use any of the framing tools, click the framing tool on the toolbar, then click the work area and drag to draw the shape. Holding down the Shift key while dragging limits the Crop tool in the following ways:

  • Press and hold a key Shift as you draw with the Rectangular Box Tool to create a perfectly square box.

  • Press and hold a key Shift as you draw with the Ellipse Box Tool to create a circular box.

  • Press and hold a key Shift while drawing with the polygonal box tool to create a shape with all sides the same length.

Frames created with a rectangular frame, elliptical frame, or polygonal frame can contain text or images. Use the text tool to turn the frame into a text frame.

Placing an image in a frame

Frame the picture in one of the following ways:

Draw a frame and place the image:

  1. Draw a frame by clicking the frame tool and dragging the mouse to the workspace.

  2. Select the frame you just drew.

  3. Go to File > Place.

  4. Select an image and click Okay

Select an image and click for automatic placement.

  1. Go to File > Place without drawing frames.

  2. Select an image and click Okay

  3. Click anywhere in the workspace and the image will automatically fit into a rectangular frame that matches the size of the image.

Resize a frame or resize an image inside a frame

When you click a framed image with the tool Choise , you see the bounding box of the rectangular frame of the image. If you click on the same image with the tool Direct selection instead of selecting the box containing the picture, select the picture in the box and you will see a dotted bounding box, which is the box of the picture itself.

  • Resize only the frame, not the placed image, by selecting the tool Choise and dragging a corner or frame handle.

  • Resize only the image by dragging the handles with the tool Direct selection

  • Resize the image and frame by selecting and choosing the frame Autofit i on the control panel, or select and hold the angle of the frame Shift † down as you drag to resize the image and frame proportionally.

Change the size of the frame with text

Frames can also contain text. To resize a text frame:

  • Select a frame of text and double-click a handle to automatically shrink or expand the frame to fit the text.

  • If the frame is too large for the text it contains, double-click the marker to anchor the frame at the end of the text.

  • If the frame is too small to display all of the text, double-click the marker to expand the frame until all text is displayed.

Using the shape tools

Shape tools are often confused with framing tools. Press and hold Rectangle Tool to open the pop-up menu to access the Ellipse and Polygon tools. These tools are for drawing shapes to fill or stroke with color. You draw them the same way you draw frames. Select a tool, click on the work area and drag to shape a shape. As with the framing tools, the shape tools can be limited to:

  • Press and hold a key Shift as you draw with the Rectangle tool to create a square.

  • Press and hold a key Shift while drawing with the Ellipse Tool to create a circle.

  • Press and hold a key Shift while drawing with the Polygon tool to create a shape with all sides the same length.

Fill the shape with color or apply a stroke to outline it.

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