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How to Clip Paths and Text Wrap in Adobe InDesign CS5

Subject Descriptors: InDesign CS5, Clipping, Paths, Text, Wrap, Image, Pen, Path, Frame Application (Version): Adobe InDesign CS5 - Windows Task Description: This lesson will show you how to clip paths and create text wrap in Adobe InDesign Tutorial Date: 29 May 2009, by Virinia Smith. Updated 29 June 2010.

Open an Image in Photoshop

Open an image in Photoshop, preferably something that won't take you too long to trace with the Pen tool.

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Trace the Image with the Pen Tool

Once you have the image open, select the Pen tool from the toolbox and trace the subject in your photo that you want to separate from the background. Be sure to close the path by clicking on the first point that you created with the Pen tool.

Name Your Path

Now bring up the Paths palette (Window>Paths) and double-click on the Work Path that you just created. You can give a descriptive name so you will know what it refers to once you get to InDesign. ** In workflows of the past, an image could only have one clipping path. However, since InDesign supports Photoshop paths directly, you can have more than one path in your image. To Create a Second Path: Click below the path you just created in the Paths palette to deselect it. Now use the Pen tool to create a second path around another subject in the photo. After tracing the second subject in your photo, double-click on the new Work Path to give it a descriptive name and then click OK.

Save Your Image

You can create as many paths as you have subjects in your photo and save each path with a name. The reason we're having you do this is so that in InDesign you'll be able to use the one file and pick and choose which subject you want to show from that photo. Of course, this could be accomplished with layers in Photoshop and turning them on and off in InDesign CS3; however, this method allows you to work with a smaller flattened file that can either be PSD, TIFF, or EPS. Save your photo as a PSD or TIFF file.

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Open InDesign

Open or create a new InDesign document.

Create a Large Frame

As a good test to see just how effective your path work will be, use the Rectangle Frame tool (F) to create a large frame on the page and fill it with a color of your choice. We're going to use a light-blue color.

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Create a Type Frame and Enter Text

Now use the Type tool (T) and create a text frame that will go on top of the frame that we created in the previous step. Be sure not to click the Type tool on the existing colored frame because InDesign will assume that you want to put text into that frame. It's okay to create the text frame on the pasteboard and then drag it over to position it on the colored frame. Once you have the frame you can either type or place text into it, or use the Fill with Placeholder Text command from the Type menu.

Create a Third frame

Now create another frame on top of your text to contain your picture that you traced in Photoshop. Don't worry that it covers your text. We'll use the Text Wrap command to fix it.

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Place Your Image

Place (File>Place) your PSD or TIFF file that you created earlier into this frame and choose Object>Fitting>Fit Content Proportionally to make it fit properly in the frame. At this point you should have a picture on top of your text, which is on top of your colored frame.

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Choose Your First Path

Choose Clipping Path from the Object menu.

By default it will be set to None for Type. Choose Photoshop Path from the pop-up menu. Your first path should pop up automatically. Make sure the Preview checkbox is turned on so that you can see the results, then click OK.

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Wrap Text around the Image

Now bring up the Text Wrap palette from the Window menu.

Click the Wrap around Object Shape option (third icon on the top of the palette) and your text should wrap around the object using the path you created. You should also note that if it doesn't wrap perfectly, you can adjust the path here in InDesign with the Direct Selection tool (A).

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Explore Other Options

There are a couple more options that you should know about. The first is that because your image has multiple paths, you can go back to the Clipping Path dialog and choose one of the other paths and, because Text Wrap is on, it will automatically show that portion of the image and wrap the text. Also, if your object was on a fairly solid background, you may be able to get away with InDesign's Detect Edges feature in the Clipping Path options, which will allow you to knock out the background in InDesign without creating a path first!

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How to Clip Paths and Text Wrap in Adobe InDesign CS5