Type any measurement unit and let InDesign do math for you

InDesign is very smart software and knows math by the way. It performs mathematical operations much faster then me (and probably you) without mistake. In particular InDesign allows you to add, subtract, divide or multiply any measurement unit on control panel when working with size, percent or position of shape, frame, text.

Type any measurement unit W,H,X or Y fields in control panel

Lets go to practical example. I have Rectangle 144 mm wide and 97 mm in height but I need to enlarge it for 10% in width only. For this particular case with rectangle selected I will break chain which means constrain proportions on the right side of W and H fields in control panel to ensure that width and height are not connected or in other words if I change width height wont change. I will type + 10% (plus 10 percent) after 144 mm to change shape width for 10% without to calculate how much is that. After typing mathematical operation (+, -, *, / ), number (1, 2, 5, 10, 120 ) and unit (mm, cm, px, % ) always after existing number and unit (144 mm, 2 in, 500 px for example) in X,Y,W or H text fields in control panel operation must be confirmed with Enter key or with Tab to confirm and move to the next field.
Type any measurement unit in InDesign preceded with math operation sign
Type any measurement unit in InDesign preceded with math operation sign

So with rectangle selected my W text field looks like this 144 mm + 10%, when confirmed with Enter key rectangle changed its width to 158.4 mm what is exactly what I want - to change width for 10%. I could type and for example 144 mm + 50px.
Confirm with Enter key and InDesign will perform math operation and apply changes to selected object
Confirm with Enter key and InDesign will perform math operation and apply changes to selected object

You can use InDesign math knowledge to work with size or position of any selected object (placed image or graphic, text frame, image within frame, graphic frame, rectangle, circle, oval..) or even with selected type while editing text if you want. When working with size in percentage (third option in control panel after W and H) use only percentages to add or subtract or type divide or multiple signs ( /, * ) followed with number. Other option is to delete percentages and type exact size in any unit like 500 px.

InDesign / Rulers and measurement units

Product used in this tutorial: Adobe InDesign CS5


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