InDesign Secrets: Setting an exact space between objects or frames

Published by | Thursday, July 19th, 2012

With all the alignment, guideline, gap, and measurement tools in InDesign, you’d think spacing two objects a specific distance—say 1cm—apart would be straightforward. But as David Blatner reveals in this week’s InDesign Secrets, there are some tricks to getting that space exact.

Example photo visualizing two objects spaced 1cm apart.

One option is to use math. InDesign math, that is. In other words, you measure the Y value of the bottom edge of the upper object, then set the top edge of the lower object to that value +1cm. InDesign makes this easy. You can type the math bit directly into the Y value field.

Another option, and one that allows for much more efficiency, is to use a (potentially) hidden part of the Align panel, the Distribute Spacing feature. As David reveals, there’s a numerical field right in the panel where you can tell InDesign how much space you want between two distributed objects.


As a bonus secret, David also shows you how to use the Text Frame Options dialog box to set the edge of one object a specific distance from the baseline of the first line of text in a frame beneath it.

The Baseline setting in the InDesign Text Frame Options dialog box.

The Baseline settings in the Text Frame Options dialog box allow you to set the first baseline of text a specific distance from the top of the frame.

Whew, that’s a lot of secrets in under six minutes!

Meanwhile, David’s partner in InDesign secrecy has an exclusive episode this week for members of lynda.com on fixing last lines of text that are too short.

David and Anne-Marie will be back in two weeks with more InDesign Secrets!

Interested in more?
• The entire InDesign Secrets bi-weekly series
• Courses by David Blatner and Anne-Marie Concepción on lynda.com
• All lynda.com InDesign courses

Suggested courses to watch next:
• InDesign CS6 New Features
 InDesign CS6 Essential Training
InDesign CS6: Interactive Documents

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2 Responses to “InDesign Secrets: Setting an exact space between objects or frames”

  1. Lucy says:

    The video on this page: http://blog.lynda.com/2012/07/19/indesign-secrets-setting-an-exact-space-between-objects-or-frames/ looks exactly what I am looking for, but it comes up as ‘this video is private’ – is this my settings or is the video really private??

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