Free Video on the Useful but Slightly Mysterious Content Collector Tools Back

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    Some call it a “Clipboard on Steroids.” Adobe’s John Nack called it “the kind of thing we were trying to enable many years ago with the mini/floating mode of Bridge.” I kind of think of it as “Power Place Command.” However you envision it, the Content Collector toolset in InDesign CS6 is a convenient way to share content (images, text boxes, etc) across multiple pages or even multiple documents.

    In a recent episode from Anne-Marie and David’s InDesign Secrets course at lynda.com, Anne-Marie revealed how the Content Collector tools could be particularly useful with regard to creating sets.

     As you can discern from Anne-Marie’s video, the Content Collector tools are really three parts in one; here are my pithy nicknames for keeping things straight:

    The Content Collector (aka “The Sucker-Upper”) allows you to grab any object in your layout by simply clicking on it.

    The Content Collector allows you to grab items in your layout and put them in the Conveyor for transport.

    The Content Conveyor (aka “The Serving Platter”) is that gray rectangular receptacle that appears when you’re in Content Collector mode, in which you can see all the things you’ve gathered for moving to another document or page.

    The Content Placer (aka “The Spewer Outer”) is the form the toolset takes when you want to place the items you’ve collected.

    The Content Placer allows you to place your collected items from the Conveyor into your layout.

    The Content Placer allows you to place your collected items from the Conveyor into your layout.

    After watching Anne-Marie’s video, and playing with the toolset, I came up with the following observations:

    • You’ll do yourself a favor by remembering that when you are in Content Collector mode (which you achieve by pressing the B key or selecting the tool from the toolbox), you are in another mode. Things like drag-and-drop and selections aren’t going to work the same way as they do in InDesign Proper.
    • Despite the slight disorientation caused by the interface, when I showed the feature to my partner in crime (Deke McClelland—with whom I have suffered through the writing, editing, and layout of many books) he just kind of stared at it and said, “Wow, we could really use this.”
    • It seems to me this feature could be very useful for making design-conscious changes to layouts of different sizes (as opposed to giving over completely to the robots.)
    • Anne-Marie’s video is really helpful in understanding the navigation of sets vs. groups. Sets are sub-collections of content that you can later place en masse, even with all the relative positioning intact. (If there are other new features for CS6 that you haven’t caught up with you can see more in InDesign CS6 New Featuresat lynda.com.)
    • For members of lynda.com, David’s video on “Collecting, Conveying, and Placing Content” from Chapter 11 of InDesign CS6 Essential Training has another perspective and some great tips for placement of collected items.

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