Group or ungroup objects

You can combine several objects into a group so that they are treated as a single unit. You can then move or transform the objects without affecting their individual positions or attributes. For example, you might group the objects in a logo design so that you can move and scale the logo as one unit.

Groups can also be nested—grouped into subgroups within larger groups. Use the Selection, Direct Selection, and Group Selection tools to select different levels of a nested group’s hierarchy.

If you’re working with a stack of overlapping objects, and you group some objects that aren’t adjacent in the stacking order, the selected objects will be pulled together in the stacking order, right behind the frontmost selected object. (For example, when objects are stacked as A, B, C, D from front to back, and you group B and D together, the stacking order becomes A, B, D, C.) If you group objects that exist on different named layers, all of the objects move to the frontmost layer on which you selected an object. Also, the objects you select must either be all locked or all unlocked.

Grouped object
Grouped object

  1. Select multiple objects to be grouped or ungrouped.

    If your selection includes part of an object (for example, an anchor point), the group or ungroup operation will group or ungroup the entire object.

  2. To group the selected objects, choose Object > Group.

    To ungroup the selected objects, Object > Ungroup.

Note:

If you’re not sure if an object is part of a group, select it using the Selection tool and look at the Object menu. If the Object > Ungroup command is available, you’ve selected a group.

Group and ungroup objects on different layers

You can also use the Layers panel to group objects that are placed on different layers of a document. For more details on layers, click here.

When you group objects on different layers, InDesign groups the objects on the topmost layer containing at least one object in the group. However, InDesign remembers the layers to which each object belongs. This implies that, by default, if you then ungroup the objects, all the objects are restored back to their original layers.

You can also choose to leave the ungrouped objects on the topmost layer. To do this, uncheck the Ungroup Remembers Layers option in the Layers panel flyout menu.

Note:

This option is an application-level setting. This implies that this option is applied to all documents.

Lock or unlock objects

You can use the Lock command to specify that you don’t want certain objects to move in your document. Locked objects stay locked when a document is saved, closed, and then reopened.

As long as an object is locked, it cannot be moved. However, you can select locked objects if you turn off the Prevent Selection Of Locked Objects option in General preferences. When you select a locked object, you can change attributes such as color.

  1. Select the object or objects that you want to lock in place.
  2. Do any of the following:
    • To lock the objects, choose Object > Lock.

    • To unlock an object, click the lock icon.

    • To unlock the objects on the current spread, choose Object > Unlock All On Spread.

Note:

You can also use the Layers panel to lock or unlock both objects and layers. When you lock a layer, the positions of all objects on a layer are locked, and the objects cannot be selected. See Layers.

Hide objects

Hidden objects are not printed or exported, and they cannot be selected.

  • Do any of the following:

    • To hide an object, select it and choose Object > Hide.

    • To show hidden objects, choose Object > Show All On Spread.

Duplicate objects

You can duplicate objects using a number of different methods.

Duplicate an object using the Duplicate command

Use the Duplicate command to replicate a selected object instantly. The new copy appears on the layout slightly offset down and to the right from the original.

  • Select an object or objects, and choose Edit > Duplicate.

Duplicate a selected object as you transform

You can duplicate an object each time you change its position, orientation, or proportions. For example, you can create a flower by drawing one petal, setting its reference point at the base of the petal, and repeatedly rotating at incremental angles, simultaneously duplicating to leave behind a new copy of the petal at each angle.

  • During a transformation, do one of the following:

    • If you’re dragging the Selection tool , the Rotate tool , the Scale tool , or the Shear tool , start dragging, and then hold down Alt (Windows) or Option (Mac OS) after you begin dragging. To constrain the duplicate’s transformation, Alt+Shift-drag (Windows) or Option+Shift-drag (Mac OS).

    • If you’re specifying a value in the Transform or Control panel, press Alt+Enter (Windows) or Option+Return (Mac OS) after you’ve typed the value.

    • If you’re pressing arrow keys to move objects, hold down Alt (Windows) or Option (Mac OS) as you press the keys.

Use Step and Repeat to duplicate objects

Use the Step and Repeat command to instantly create rows or columns of duplicates. For example, you can fill a page with evenly spaced duplicates of a single business card design.

  1. Select the object or objects you want to duplicate.

  2. Choose Edit > Step and Repeat.

  3. For Repeat Count, specify how many duplicates you want to make, not counting the original.

  4. For Horizontal Offset and Vertical Offset, specify how far to shift the position of each new duplicate from the previous duplicate along the  x and y axes, respectively, and click OK.

Note:

To create a page full of duplicates, first use Step and Repeat with Vertical Offset set to 0 (zero); this will create one row of duplicates. Then select the entire row and use Step and Repeat with Horizontal Offset set to 0; this will repeat the row down the page.

Duplicate objects into a grid

By dragging and using modifier keys, you can create a grid of object identical to the object being duplicated.

  1. Select an object.

  2. Using the Selection tool, hold down Alt (Windows) or Option (Mac OS) and begin dragging.

  3. While still dragging, release the Alt or Option key. Press the Left Arrow and Right Arrow keys to change the number of columns. Press the Up Arrow and Down Arrow keys to change the number of rows. Drag a rectangle to specify the size of the grid.

  4. Release the mouse button.

Create nonprinting objects

You might want to create objects that appear onscreen, but will not be printed or appear in portable versions of the document.

Note:

You can also use layers to selectively hide or show elements in a document, and you can assign layers a non-printing status.

  1. Select the object or text frame that you don’t want to be printed.
  2. Open the Attributes panel (Window > Output > Attributes).
  3. In the Attributes panel, select Nonprinting.

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