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Placing a multi-component article in multiple frames using Smart Connection for InDesign

Placing a multi-component article in multiple frames using Smart Connection for InDesign

In this variation of placing an article in InDesign, multiple components of an article are placed on multiple frames in a single action.

A typical scenario is where multiple placeholder frames on the layout are automatically filled with multiple components of an article plus a separate image.

Info: The information presented here applies to the following versions of Smart Connection:

  • Smart Connection 9
  • Smart Connection for Adobe CC
  • Smart Connection for Adobe CC 2014

The concept

To make this feature work, Smart Connection needs to know which frames on the layout all belong to the same article. This is done by combining all these frames into an InDesign Article.

Next, Smart Connection needs to know which article component should be placed into which frame. This is done by assigning Element Labels to the components in the article and to the frames on the layout while making sure that the label of a frame matches the label of the article component that it is going to hold.

For example: If the article component that holds the header has the Element Label 'header' assigned, the text frame on the layout that is going to hold the header should also be assigned the Element Label 'header'.

Example of an InDesign Article

Figure: Example of text frames turned into an InDesign Article and filled with the components of an article plus a separate image. Here, 3 text frames and 1 graphic frame have been added to an InDesign Article by using the Articles panel. The Element Label of each frame indicates the type of content that the frame holds and matches the labels of the article component.

With the correct setup, placeholder frames can be quickly filled, as demonstrated in this short video:

Setting up the InDesign Article

Step 1. Select all frames on the layout that belong to the same article.

Step 2. Access the Articles panel (Window > Articles).

Step 3. Drag the frames onto the Articles panel or click the + button in the panel.

Step 4. Assign Element Labels to each frame or — when these have already been assigned — make sure that the correct labels have been assigned.. Each frame should have the label assigned that corresponds to the content that it is going to hold, such as 'head', 'intro', 'body' and so on. For more information, see Working with Element Labels in Smart Connection.

Placing the article

When an article is placed onto an InDesign Article, the frames of the 2 articles are compared to see if the number of frames and their assigned Element Labels match.

Whether or not some or all of the article components are placed automatically depends on the outcome of the comparison and on which frame the article is dropped.

For those scenarios where no match can be found, you are asked which of the components should be placed:

The dialog box for selecting the article component to place

To place a multi-component article onto an InDesign Article, follow these steps:

Step 1. On the layout, select one of the frames of the InDesign Article.

Step 2. Place the article using the regular methods of double-clicking it in a panel, right-clicking it and choosing 'Place', or by dragging it onto a frame.

Example scenarios

Example 1: The number of frames match and the assigned Element Labels match:

  • Article that is placed: “head”, “intro”, “body”
  • InDesign Article: “head”, “intro”, “body”

Action: Placing the article onto any of the frames of the InDesign Article.

Outcome: All components of the placed article are placed into the corresponding frames of the InDesign Article.

Example 2: The number of frames match but the assigned Element Labels do not match:

  • Article that is placed: “head”, “intro”, “body”
  • InDesign Article: “head”, “body”, “body”

Action: Placing the article onto the “head” frame.

Outcome: Only the “head” component is placed. The “intro” component is not placed because no frame exists in the InDesign Article with the same Element Label. The “body” component is also not placed because multiple frames exist in the InDesign Article with the same Element Label.

Example 3: The number of frames match but the assigned Element Labels do not match:

  • Article that is placed: “head”, “body”, “body”
  • InDesign Article: “head”, “intro”, “body”

Action #1: placing the article onto the “head” frame.

Outcome: only the “head” component is placed. The “body” component is not placed because multiple frames exist in the article with the same Element Label.

Action #2: placing the article onto the “body” frame.

Outcome: the “Select Component to Place” dialog box is shown because multiple components exist in the article that is placed that are labeled “body”.

Example 4: The number of frames match but the assigned Element Labels do not match:

  • Article that is placed: “head”, “intro”, “body”
  • InDesign Article: “head”, “body”, “body”

Action: Placing the article onto a “body” frame.

Outcome: The “Select Component to Place” dialog box is shown because multiple frames exist in the InDesign Article that are labeled “body”.

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