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Quick Tip: Using and Sharing Files With the InDesign Library

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Read Time: 3 min

In this Quick Tip tutorial you will learn how affective the InDesign Library palette can be for storing and reusing objects. Once a library has been established it is independent of InDesign documents and saved objects are stored in one place. Using a library is a convenient way of accessing these objects quickly for reference, using and sharing.

Step 1

To create a library go to File > New > Library. Name and save it to your preferred location. I normally save directly to the desktop.

Step 2

To add an object to the library hold down the Option Key (Alt) and drag the object into the library panel. By holding down the Option Key a dialog box will appear by default. Here you can name an object, define the type and add a description.

If more than one object is selected when adding to the library, the library will add it as a complete object. If it is not your intention to add a group of objects go to the library palettes drop down menu and select "Add items on page 1 as Separate Objects" without the need for dragging and dropping.

Step 3

To place an object you can either drag and drop onto the document, which will place the object wherever you release the the mouse. Or by going to the library drop down menu you can add an object by selecting 'Place Item(s)'. By using this option the object will be place in the exact position as where it was originally saved from (Note: Placing in the exact place will only work if the document size / attributes are identical to where the object was saved from).

Step 4

Eventually your library will increase in size. Providing that you have been naming and labeling the objects correctly the easier it will be to search and find. To do this go to the library palettes drop down Menu > Show Subset. Select how you would like to search, I have chosen by Object Type and Item Name from the parameters section. Hit OK. The library will now narrow the search to objects that match your criteria. To cancel the search results select "Show Al"' from the library palette menu.

Step 5

Once you have a library saved you can share this file with colleagues within your design team. It is possible to have one library shared over a server however only one user at a time can access the library for editing. To allow multi accessing simply lock the library by opening the info panel by clicking once on the library document and hitting (Command + I). This will give privilege to users for placing existing objects but not adding or editing.

Step 6

One final feature to mention is the saving of external files (eps, jpeg, PDF etc) within a library. These files still rely on linking back to the source file. If a file is deleted the thumbnail will still show in the library, but when placed into the document it wont display. However all vectors and text created within InDesign don't rely on linking to a source file and remain in the library until deleted.


As you can see, by learning to properly name and manage assets you can save time for both you and your team. I hope you've enjoyed this Quick Tip.

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