InDesign The Tools Palette – Part 6

The Eyedropper and Measure Tools

By default InDesign will show you the Eyedropper Tool in the Tools Palette. However you will see that tool as another tool hidden in its flyout–The Measure Tool. We will take up the Eyedropper Tool first.

The Eyedropper Tool

Especially if you have used Photoshop, you will be used to the fact that with the Eyedropper Tool you can sample and copy colours so that you can apply them to various objects. In InDesign the Eyedropper Tool does much more than that: it can copy character attributes, stroke, fills, etc. You can double click on the Eyedropper Tool to see a list of things that eyedropper can copy.

If you have never used Photoshop or other desktop publishing programs before, you might not be familiar with Eyedropper at all. So let’s take a step back for a moment and let’s have a look closely.

Set your colours to default (press D). Draw two rectangles and apply a colour for fill and stroke to one rectangle, then go to the Control Palette and make the stroke 4pt thick. Leave the other box untouched. Now click on your Eyedropper Tool. Your mouse cursor will change into an empty eyedropper. Click on the rectangle where you changed colour and stroke attributes just now. Your eyedropper icon will convert to a loaded eyedropper. Now click on the rectangle with no colour. It should now have the same attributes of the other rectangle.

As I mentioned earlier, you can use the Eyedropper tool to also copy character attributes. There are two ways of doing this:

  1. With the Eyedropper selected, click on text to copy its attributes (you can also select text that is in another InDesign document). Your Eyedropper icon will change to a full Eyedropper. Now, still with your Eyedropper, select the word, words, or sentence, etc. to which you want to apply the attributes you just copied. That’s it, your text’s attributes are now changed.
  2. This second way can only be applied to text in the same InDesign’s document – in other words with this method you can only copy character attributes from the InDesign document you are currently working on. First with the Type Tool select the text which you want to change. Then select the Eyedropper tool and click on the text where you want to copy the attributes from (not the selected text). You Eyedropper will load. Now your selected text will have the attributes of the text you clicked on with the Eyedropper.

The Measure Tool

The Measure Tool allows to measure the distance between two points in your work area and more. The simplest way to use it is by dragging it across the area you want to measure. Once you drag it, if your Info palette wasn’t already open, it will automatically open up and show you the distance of the two points you have measured.

You can also measure angles by doing the following:

  1. To measure an angle from the x axis, drag the tool.
  2. To measure a custom angle, drag to create the first line of the angle. Then double-click or press Alt (Windows) or Option (Mac OS) while you click the start or end point of the measure line and drag to create the second line of the angle.

By measuring an angle as in point 2, you will also be able to see in the Info palette, the length of the first line (D1) and of the second line (D2) which you traced with your Measure tool.

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