Using InDesign layers is one of the best ways to get the most out of the program. Because book page and cover layouts can be complex, most designers like to keep all the different elements under control as much as possible.
This section from Book Design Made Simple will get you started. Feel free to watch our corresponding video tutorial called Using layers, too.
Using InDesign layers for shapes
Using the InDesign Layers panel will help you keep all the elements on your pages or cover organized. You can easily arrange elements so that some are in front of others (such as text being in front of a shape). You can also lock layers to keep some things in place while you move others around. And you can turn layers on and off to control what you see and/or print.
The layer itself is transparent; the objects on the layer are not. You can shuffle the stack of layers anytime, and you can move objects from one layer to another.
It’s useful to have two layers for your pages if you’re adding shapes: one for text and one for shapes. The Shapes layer includes all your elements that are behind everything else. And the Text layer is in front of all other layers, and includes all your text frames.
How to set up InDesign layers
To set up your InDesign layers, open your Layers panel at the right of your screen or by clicking Window>Layers. You’ll see there is one layer, called Layer 1. Select any text frame with your Selection Tool and its outline will be the same color as shown for Layer 1. To change the name of Layer 1 to “Text,” double-click Layer 1 to open your Layer Options dialog box, change the name to Text, then click OK.
These instructions continue on the next page of the book. Once you catch on to using InDesign layers (and it’s not hard at all), you’ll wonder how you ever got along without them.
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