Learn the basics of using layers in Adobe InDesign, including how to create, edit, and organize content.
Explore how to change the order of content using arrange commands.
When you add content to your InDesign documents, one object is stacked on top of another. When those objects overlap, you can see how those objects are stacked. Using the content in this flyer, you'll explore stacking content and you'll us Arrange commands to change objects stacking order. If you want to follow along, you can open this file from the practice files for this tutorial. Now off the left edge of the page, there is a series of three colored frames, each one stacked on top of another. You'll arrange them to see how stacking order works. With the Selection tool selected, click to select this green frame. You can use Arrange commands to bring content on top of or behind other content. To bring the green frame on top of the other frames, click the Arrange button at the bottom of the Properties panel and choose Bring to Front from the menu. You'll see a series of commands in here you can use. the green frame is brought to the front of all the other content on this page, not just the other two colored frames. Now to send it behind everything again, click the Arrange button again and this time choose Send to Back. The green frame is sent behind all other content in the pitch. Click the Arrange button one more time and notice the Bring Forward and Send Backward commands. The Bring Forward command moves the selected content on top of the next object in the stacking order. The Send Backward command sends the selected content behind the next object in the stacking order. Choose Bring Forward to bring the green frame in front of the red frame. Now you get some practice arranging content to complete this flyer. This 'Berry Life' text is behind this image when it should actually be in front. Also, for this example, we'll say that the image of the spoon would look better on top of the image of the bowl. With the Selection tool selected in the Tools panel, click in the 'Berry Life' text to select its frame. Now to arrange it to the top, click the Arrange button in the Properties panel and choose Bring to Front to bring this text on top of all other content in the document. Now like I said, this spoon image should be on top of this bowl image, but it still needs to be behind the 'Berry Life' text. So, click in the image of the spoon but not in the center. If you click in the center of the image, you'll click the content grabber, this circle, which will select the image within the frame and not the frame. To arrange content, you need to select the frame. So, with the frame selected, click the Arrange button and choose Bring to Front. Unfortunately, the image is also now on top of the text again. It needs to be behind this text but on top of the image of the bowl. To do that, click the Arrange button and choose Send Backward to send the spoon image behind the text but still in front of the bowl image. Then click away from the content to deselect it all. Arranging content will definitely make it easier to work with your designs allowing you to stack objects in the order you choose. Now you can arrange different types of content in your own projects.
What you learned: Arrange content in a document
Content you add to an InDesign document is stacked one object on top of another as you add it.
Arrange commands, found in the Arrange menu of the Properties panel, allow you to select content and change its order in the stack.
Different arrange commands bring content on top of or behind other content.
Discover what layers are and why we use them in Adobe InDesign.
In this video, you'll be introduced to layers in InDesign. You'll learn what layers are, you'll tour the Layers panel and understand why we use layers. If you'd like to follow along, you can open this file from the downloadable practice files for this tutorial. When you have enough content in your InDesign document, you'll most likely need a way to organize it, so you can more easily find hidden content, lock content, select content and a lot more. Layers are a great way to manage content in your documents. Now to see layers for a document, you can open the Layers panel. To do that, choose Window, Layers. The Layers panel should appear on the right over here. Layers are like clear folders that can contain any type of content it can be arranged so that all the content on one layer is above or below the content for another layer in the document. Each new document you create starts with a single layer, named Layer 1. All content in your document is on that layer to start. You can create new layers based on what you need. In this document, there are actually three layers. These layers were created to help organize the content in this brochure by content type: Text, Graphic elements and Background. Because the content is organized into layers, you can do things like hide part of the content. In the Layers panel, click the eye to the left of the Text layer name to hide all of it. This can make it easier to focus on part of the artwork, like the image in the background without affecting the text. Click in the blank area where the eye was in the Layers panel to show that text again. Now the Layers panel can also be useful for selecting content in the document. Click the small box to the far right of the Graphic elements layer to select all of the content on that layer in the document. And to see a listing of the content on a layer in the Layers panel, Click the arrow to the left of a layer name, like Graphic elements. All the content in that layer will now be shown in the panel. You can see that there's only one frame on this layer. To hide the content again, you can click the arrow again. On the document, click in a blank area to deselect the rectangle. Now the layers in the document can also be reordered. For instance, if you drag this Text layer by its name, straight down, when you see a line appear below the Graphic elements layer, release the mouse to reorder the content in the document. The order of the layers in the Layers panel determines the order of the content in your document. So, the top most layer content is on top of all the other content and the bottom most layer content is behind all other content in the document. To hide the Graphic elements layer, click the eye icon to the left of the layer name and you can see the Text layer content now. Click in the blank area where the eye was for the Graphic elements layer in the Layers panel to show the black frame. To reorder the content again, drag this Text layer above the Graphic elements layer in the Layers panel. When a line appears above the Graphic elements layer, release the mouse button. You'll also notice the color of each layer: Red, blue and green. A layer's color is useful when selecting content in the document. For instance, move the pointer over the image in the background of the page and you'll see a green outline around it appear. The color of the bounding box that surrounds the content tells you which layer that content is on, the layer with the green color. Layers in InDesign help you organize, select and hide content among a lot of other things. Not that you have a general understanding of layers and the Layers panel, explore documents you create or some you already have to see how the content could be organized in the Layers panel.
What you learned: Understand layers
Layers are like transparent containers for managing content. You can find a document’s layers in the Layers panel (Window > Layers).
Layers contain the graphics, text, or other content that make up a layered file.
Layers are arranged in a stack in the Layers panel. In the document, content on the layers at the top of the Layers panel appears in front of content on layers that are lower in the panel.
Layers allow you to move, edit, hide, lock, and work with content on one layer without affecting content on other layers.
- To hide a layer, click the eye icon in the Layers panel. Click where the eye icon was to make the layer visible.
Learn how to create new layers in the Layers panel for organizing content in your documents.
Layers can play an important role in managing the content in your documents. In order to organize and more easily select content in this brochure, you'll first learn how to create a new layer then you'll add content to that new layer, and finally you'll change layer properties like layer name. You can open this file from the downloadable practice files for this tutorial if you'd like to follow along. Now to see the layers in the document, you'll open the Layers panel. Choose Window, Layers. In the Layers panel that opens, you should see the default layer, named Layer 1, it's currently the only layer and it contains all of the existing content in this document. There may be times in certain documents when you may not find it necessary to work with layers in the Layers panel. Maybe there are only a few elements in a business card you're working on for instance. In the case of this brochure, it would be helpful to organize the content into layers since there will be a lot. You'll create a new layer and place an image on that layer in the background to start. Now, to rename a layer like Layer 1 so you can better keep track of them, double click the layer name Layer 1. In the dialog box that appears, change the name to Text. There are a lot of options for working with your layers that you can explore. But for now, simply click OK to change the name. You can name your layers anything that makes sense to you or even leave the default naming. Changing the names of your layers will be beneficial in a document with a lot of content and a lot of layers to more easily keep track of the content you have. Now you'll place an image in the background of the brochure to add more interest. First, you'll create a new layer so that the background image can be hidden or selected more easily. At the bottom of the Layers panel, click the Create New Layer button to create a new layer. The new layer is added above the default layer in the Layers panel and named something generic, like Layer 2. To change the name, double click right on the layer name and change the name to Background, then click OK. With the layer selected, you can tell it's selected because it has this highlight, you add content to the new layer. Selecting a layer in the Layers panel tells InDesign to place new content you add onto that layer. Now you'll place an image. To zoom out a little first, choose View, Zoom Out. Then, to place the image, choose File, Place... Navigate to the folder of practice files you downloaded for this tutorial and in the Links folder, choose the image named background.jpg. Click Open, then to place the image, click in the upper left corner of the page. With the image selected, look in the Layers panel. You can see that the new image is on the Background layer that was selected. This small red box means the selected content is on this layer. Now the image needs to be behind the other brochure content, so you can see the other content. To do that, you'll reorder the layers in the Layers panel. Drag the Background layer down in the Layers panel. When you see a line appear below the Text layer, release the mouse button to reorder the layers and the content on the page. So, you can deselect the content, click in a blank area of the document window. In the Layers panel, click the blank area to the right of the eye icon in the Background layer. This locks the layer, so you can't select the content on that layer. This will help to focus on editing the artwork on the Text layer for instance without accidentally moving the background image. In the Layers panel, click the arrow to the left of the Text layer and you'll see all the content on that layer. Now you'll move to another page in the document. In the lower left corner, below the document window, choose 5 from the menu to see page 5. If you look in the Layers panel now, you'll see the same named layers, but that content for the Text layer is different. In InDesign, the layers are shared across the entire document, but only the content for the active page or spread is shown in the Layers panel. Now if you need to delete a layer that you're not using maybe, you can click the Delete selected layers button. Know that if you delete a layer, you will also delete the content on that layer for every page. Now that you know how to add and rename layers in your documents in InDesign, you can start to organize artwork in projects you create.
What you learned: Create and manage layers
- Choose Window > Layers to open the Layers panel. Each new document starts with a single layer named Layer 1.
- To rename a layer, double-click the layer name in the Layers panel, type in the new name, and click OK.
- To create a new layer, click the Create New Layer button at the bottom of the Layers panel.
- To select a layer, select it in the Layers panel. Drag the layer up or down in the Layers panel to change the order of layered objects in the document.
- To lock a layer, click the blank area to the right of the eye icon in the Layers panel.