InDesign offers several different ways to repurpose graphics and text.
Ways to reuse graphics and text
A snippet is a file that contains objects and describes their location relative to one another on a page or spread. (See Use snippets.)
An object library provides a convenient place to store items such as logos, sidebars, pull-quotes, and other repeating items. (See Use object libraries.)
A template is a document that includes placeholder text and graphics. (See Use document templates.)
A snippet is a file that holds objects and describes their location relative to one another on a page or page spread. Use snippets to conveniently reuse and position page objects. Create a snippet by saving objects in a snippet file, which has the .IDMS extension. (Previous InDesign versions use the .INDS extension.) When you place the snippet file in InDesign, you can determine whether the objects land in their original positions or where you click. You can store snippets in the Object library and in Adobe Bridge as well as on your hard disk.
Snippets contents retain their layer associations when you place them. When a snippet contains resource definitions and these definitions are also present in the document to which it is copied, the snippet uses the resource definitions in the document.
Snippets you create in InDesign CS5 can be opened in InDesign CS4 but not in any other previous version of InDesign.
Using a selection tool, select one or more objects, and then choose File > Export. From the Save As Type (Windows) or Format (Mac OS) menu, choose InDesign Snippet. Type a name for the file and click Save.
Using a selection tool, select one or more objects, and then drag the selection to your desktop. A snippet file is created. Rename the file.
Select one or more objects, and then drag the selection to the Mini Bridge panel. A snippet file is created. Rename the file.
Drag an item from Structure View to your desktop.
You can drag a snippet file from your desktop into the InDesign document and click where you want the upper-left corner of the snippet to be.
Rather than place snippet objects according to where you click on a page, you can place them in their original locations. For example, a text frame that appeared in the middle of a page when it was made part of a snippet can appear in the same location when you place it as a snippet.
You can press Alt (Windows) or Option (Mac) to override the Position setting you selected for handling snippets. For example, if you selected Position At Cursor Location but you want to place snippet objects in their original locations, hold down the Alt/Option key when you click the loaded snippet cursor on the page.
Use object libraries
Object libraries help you organize the graphics, text, and pages you use most often. You can also add ruler guides, grids, drawn shapes, and grouped images to a library. You can create as many libraries as you need—for example, you can create different object libraries for varied projects or clients.
During a work session, you can open as many libraries as system memory will allow. Object libraries can be shared across servers, and across platforms, but only one person can have the library open at a time. If an object library includes text files, make sure that the file’s fonts are available and active on all systems that will access the library.
When you add a page element, such as a graphic, to an object library, InDesign preserves all attributes that were imported or applied. For example, if you add a graphic from an InDesign document to a library, the library copy will duplicate the original, including the original’s link information, so that you can update the graphic when the file on disk changes.
If you delete the object from the InDesign document, the object’s thumbnail will still appear in the Library panel, and all of the link information will remain intact. If you move or delete the original object, a missing link icon will appear next to the object’s name in the Links panel the next time you place it in your document from the Library panel.
Within each object library, you can identify and search for an item by title, by the date it was added to the library, or by keywords. You can also simplify the view of an object library by sorting the library items and displaying their subsets. For example, you can hide all items except EPS files.
A. Object thumbnail and name B. Library Item Information button C. Show Library Subset button D. New Library Item button E. Delete Library Item button
When adding an item to an object library, InDesign saves all page, text, and image attributes, and maintains interrelationships among library objects and other page elements in the following ways:
Elements grouped in an InDesign document when dragged to the Library panel stay grouped when dragged out of the Library panel.
Text retains its formatting.
Paragraph styles, character styles, and object styles that have the same name as styles used in the destination document are converted to the destination document’s styles; those that have different names are added to the document.
The original layers of an object are preserved when the Paste Remembers Layers option is selected in the Layers panel menu.
An object library exists as a named file on disk. When you create an object library, you specify where to store it. When you open a library, it appears as a panel that you can group with any other panel; the object library’s file name appears in its panel tab. Closing an object library removes it from the current session, but doesn’t delete its file.
You can add or remove objects, selected page elements, or an entire page of elements to or from an object library. You can also add or move library objects from one library to another.
In the CC Libraries dialog, you can choose to continue using InDesign's object libraries or you can use CC Libraries to organize, browse, and access all your creative assets. For more details, see Creative Cloud libraries - collaborate, sync, and share assets.
If you’ve already opened a library in the current session (and haven’t closed it), choose the library file in the Window menu.
If you have not opened a library, choose File > Open, and select one or more libraries. In Windows, library files use the INDL extension. InDesign converts newly opened libraries from previous versions of the program to the new library format; you are asked to save these libraries under a new name.
Drag one or more objects from a document window to an active Object Library panel.
Select one or more objects in a document window, and click the New Library Item button in the Object Library panel.
Select one or more objects in a document window, and choose Add Item in the Object Library panel menu.
Choose Add Items On Page [number] As Separate Objects in the Object Library panel menu to add all the objects as separate library objects.
Choose Add Items On Page [number] in the Object Library panel menu to add all the objects as one library object.
Drag an element from the Structure pane to an active Object Library panel.
If you hold down Alt (Windows) or Option (Mac OS) while you perform any of the above commands, the Item Information dialog box appears as the item is added to the library.
Drag an object from the Object Library panel to a document window.
In the Object Library panel, select an object, and choose Place Item(s) in the Object Library panel menu. This method places the object at its original X,Y coordinates.
Drag an XML element to a parent element in the Structure pane or to the page.
The object library displays objects as thumbnails or as a text list. You can sort the thumbnails or list by object name, age, or type. The list view and sorting options work best if you’ve cataloged the objects.
With large or numerous object libraries, library information can be cataloged using the display objects’ names, by type of object, or words in a description.
When you search for objects, all objects except the results of your search are hidden from view. You can also use the search feature to show and hide specific categories of objects. For example, you can display only object items with the word “star” in their names.
To show all objects again, choose Show All in the Object Library panel menu.
Creative Cloud Libraries help you organize, browse, and access creative assets. In InDesign, you can use CC Libraries as an alternative to object libraries.
InDesign continues to support object libraries.
For more details on CC Libraries, see Creative Cloud libraries - collaborate, sync, and share assets.