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Building a Photo Book with Object Styles

InDesign Magazine Issue 126 coverThis article appeared in Issue 126 of InDesign Magazine.

David Blatner shows how object styles can make designing layouts incredibly fast and fun.

For all the many things that InDesign does really well, there are some areas of design and layout that it handles terribly! For example, laying out a photo book (such as a wedding album or a collection of photographs from your vacation) can be very frustrating because InDesign lacks some basic abilities, such as:

  • Switching the location of two photos
  • Putting all the photos on a page into a grid
  • One-click repositioning of photos

Sure, you can do all these things in InDesign, but not quickly, easily, or elegantly.

Here’s a great example: Let’s say you have two pictures on your page and you want to switch them. Here’s the basic process: double-click on one to select the image inside the frame, cut it to the clipboard, paste it elsewhere on the page temporarily, double-click the other frame to select the picture, cut the image… and I’m not even going to finish this sentence, because this whole thing is already way too long and annoying. When you think that InDesign has been around for over 20 years, doesn’t it seem crazy that this basic task should take more than one or two clicks?

Fortunately, there are some solutions that can help you lay out photo book pages quickly. (And these techniques are not only for photo books! You’ll find yourself using these for all kinds of documents.)

In this article, I’m going to focus on how you can use object styles in an unconventional way to build pages faster than ever before. The result is “one-click repositioning” for your photos.

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David Blatner is the co-founder of the Creative Publishing Network, InDesign Magazine, and the author or co-author of 15 books, including Real World InDesign. His InDesign videos at LinkedIn Learning ( are among the most watched InDesign training in the world. You can find more about David at