Using Placeholder Text

Using placeholder or dummy text when mocking up a page or spread is a time-honored tradition in the world of page layout. Back in the day, folks used a text file called Lorem Ipsum, which looked like Latin but actually was mumbo jumbo with word and sentence lengths approximating those of an "average" article. Today this feature is built into InDesign: Just place the Type Tool in a text frame, or click and drag with the Type Tool to create one, then select Type>Fill with Placeholder Text and that frame (or frames if you have a series of linked text frames) is filled with dummy text.

Tip: Create your Own "Dummy" Text

Tired of using pigeon Latin for your placeholder text? You can create custom placeholder text by making a text file with the text you want to use and naming it 'placeholder.txt.' Save the file in the InDesign CS2 application folder and thereafter this is what you'll get when you choose Fill with Placeholder Text.

Rectangles and Rectangle Frames: What's the Difference?

There are two tools that do essentially the same thing: the Rectangle Tool (and its associated tools Ellipse and Polygon) and the Rectangle Frame Tool (along with the Ellipse Frame and the Polygon Frame). What's the difference? Essentially there is none. Shapes drawn with the Frame tools appear with an "X" inside them. Presumably you are going to put content into them. If you use Rectangle, Frame or Polygon, there's no "X" and they are intended as graphic elements in their own right. That said, there's nothing stopping you from putting text or a graphic inside a rectangle (just insert the Type tool in the frame and it is designated a text frame). Likewise there's nothing stopping you from using the frames as standalone elements. There's no reason, at least none I can think of, why these two sets of tools can't be merged into one. I suspect they exist as discreet tools to appeal to Quark users who are conditioned to draw boxes for their content.

If you need to change the shape of any object, for example from a rectangle to an ellipse or visa versa, choose Object>Convert Shape.

Figure 2.9. Empty Text frames threaded together and filled with placeholder text. Text Threads are shown.

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