The Gridify feature introduced in InDesign CS5 is an extremely handy tool that can rapidly generate grids, which will help speed up you work flow, saving you time when producing layouts. There are multiple ways in which Gridify can be used, which I will cover in this post.
Splitting a Frame
1) Create a new InDesign document and select the Rectangle Frame Tool on the side toolbar or simply press F.
2) Click on one of the page’s margin corner and drag out the box to the opposite corner to cover the entire margin area, but make sure to not release the mouse button yet.
3) Now while you’ve got the mouse button held down, press the Right Arrow Key to split the frame into columns. If you keep pressing the right arrow key, it will split the frame into more columns. Pressing the Left Arrow Key will decrease the number of columns in the frame. But don’t release the mouse button just yet!
4) Pressing the Up Arrow Key will increase the number of rows while pressing the Down Arrow Key will decrease the number of rows. When you’re satisfied with the grid arrangement, then let go of the mouse to have the grid set.
Using Gridify to Quickly Create Text Columns
Gridify can also divide text boxes in a grid and while having the all the text boxes automatically threaded together.
1) Select the Type Tool from the side toolbar or simply press T. Then before like with the Frame Tool, drag out a box that covers the inside of the page margin, but keep the mouse button held down for the next step.
2) Press the Right Arrow Key twice to create a 3-column grid and release the mouse.
3) To see the new columns in action, select the Type Tool and click into the first column. Go on the top menu a select Type > Fill with Placeholder Text. You will see that the text will automatically flow into the other two columns.
Creating an Array of Objects
As well as dividing shapes up and splitting them into sections, Gridify can also clone an array of an object in InDesign, which is useful for making many copies at once.
1) First draw an object. In this example I’ve created a red circle with the Ellipse Tool which you can find on the side toolbar or by pressing L.
2) With the Selection Tool, click onto the circle while holding down option/alt and drag the shape in a diagonal direction. While holding the mouse button down, press either the Up Arrow Key OR the Right Arrow Key a few times, but not both. If you move the mouse around, you will see that the multiple shape outlines will follow the mouse cursor.
3) When you release the mouse button you will see a the circle has been cloned a number of times:
4) Delete all the cloned circles by selecting them with the Selection Tool and hitting the Backspace Key. Now click on the original circle while holding down option/alt and drag out.
5) While the mouse button is held down, press the Up Arrow Key twice and the Right Arrow Key twice to create a bunch of circle clones in a grid-formation.
6) Releasing the mouse will generate and place the clones in place:
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