Learning Paths

Generating Live Captions with inDesign CC

I love using Live Captions, theres no two ways about it, I just love em. If you’ve never tried them for yourself then try this little tutorial out for yourself. I know that your going to end up loving them as well, just not as much as me!

Start off by creating at least one Frame on a document (if you make a few you can keep practicing this). Here I’ve added a few frames to act as image placeholders for now, with a bit of Fill Text for good measure.


Select one of (or the) frame and choose Object > Captions > Caption Set-up


You see the principle of a Live Caption is to create a small text frame that is placed alongside an image frame, in which will reside a text variable. This variable will await some detail of Meta Data from the image you later place into the image frame, which it will then display inside the Live Caption text frame. This can save a huge amount of time and effort, I’d say at least 18-24 months of your working career (not scientifically measured in any way what so ever, in fact this statistic is entirely made up….however may illustrate my point quite well).


Before you can go ahead and create a Live Caption you must set the parameters for the caption.


For this example I’ve decided to set the Caption to illustrate the copyright info for any images used. Using the “Meta” option (which sets which Meta Data field to display) I’ve chosen “Caption”.I also included a © glyph before the info. This will display on screen as “© Photographer Name”.

It’s also worthwhile considering how this text is going to look in terms of the overall style of the document you’re producing. You can create and then choose a Paragraph Style to be used on each and any Live Caption you generate. I went for a small italic San-serif font coloured Black at 80% tint (so, Grey then).

I also prefer to place the caption underneath the Image Frame, as I think it’s the normal convention and in-case I choose to adjust the layout. It can save me a lot of hassle if I also choose the Group the Caption with the Image.


Next you’re ready to add the caption to your frame(s). Select a Frame and choose Object > Captions > Generate Live Caption. A text frame with your chosen Paragraph Style applied will appear. The text should read “© <No intersecting link>”. This is because there is no associated Meta Data available in the image, because there is no image…yet.

Lets have a look at this Meta Data first, pop over to Photoshop-land and open the image you’re planning to place. Choose File > File info. In the various data fields, note the data contained in the Copyright Notice field. If it has a name, great. If not add one, there should always be some relevant data here in any professional image.

Pop back over to inDesign and select the Frame that includes the Caption. Press Command – D/Control – D and Place your Image into the frame, fit it however you see best.

Now if you look at the Caption text frame, the text will have changes to whatever was in the Copyright Notice Meta Data field you looked at earlier.

The “Live” part of the Live Caption means that should you re-link this image to a different one, with different Copyright Info (or whatever other Meta Data you might decide to try in future) the Variable Text (<No intersecting link>) will change automatically to that images data instead.

See, a HUGE time saver (18-24 months I heard). Try a few more, you won’t go back.