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How to put text frame callouts on an anchored image?

Explorer ,
Nov 08, 2022 Nov 08, 2022

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Hi everyone, novice user here.

I have an image in an anchored frame, so that it moves with the text if there are edits in the story above it.

I'd like to put multiple small text frames on top of the image - as callouts to describe different parts of the image. (I need to do it in InDesign, rather than Illustrator, as translation is needed.)

I am unable to add text frames to the page and then group them with the anchored image, and I can see no way to attach text frames to the anchored image.

One way that I can do this is to add anchored text frames to same anchor point as the anchored image and then drag them over the image (custom positioning)?

Is this acceptable practice or is there a better way?

Thanks for your help and guidance.

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Community Expert , Nov 08, 2022 Nov 08, 2022

I am unable to add text frames to the page and then group them with the anchored image, and I can see no way to attach text frames to the anchored image.

You need to “unanchor” the image frame, group the image frame and the callout text frames, then anchor the group.

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Community Expert ,
Nov 08, 2022 Nov 08, 2022

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I am unable to add text frames to the page and then group them with the anchored image, and I can see no way to attach text frames to the anchored image.

You need to “unanchor” the image frame, group the image frame and the callout text frames, then anchor the group.

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Community Expert ,
Nov 08, 2022 Nov 08, 2022

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Cut out the image first - then add 1 text frame and group it.

You can then anchor the group.

 

Once you have anchored the Group -  you add more text frames by dragging them into group from the Layers Panel

 

EugeneTyson_0-1667914078834.png

 

 

But it needs to be an Image + Text frame already as a group before starting.

 

 

If that's not an option

Then there's no problem adding as many acnors as you like to the text frame containing the image that is already anchored

 

EugeneTyson_1-1667914273469.png

 

 

 

 

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Community Expert ,
Nov 08, 2022 Nov 08, 2022

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I'd like to put multiple small text frames on top of the image - as callouts to describe different parts of the image. (I need to do it in InDesign, rather than Illustrator, as translation is needed.)

 

I don't know how you are doing that translation, but if you're handing the finalized doc off to someone else to handle that translation, it may be worth knowing that quite a few translation tools can't capture the text from anchored images. That might not apply to you, but I imagine it'd be frustrating if you were to laboriously un-anchor, caption, group, and re-anchor your images, then send it off to your language service provider, and then get it back with your captions still in your source language. Or, if your LSP is staffed by more competent folks, then you might likewise be frustrated by high DTP costs, as their DTP operators would have to do all those anchored captions manually.  This might not be the case for you at all, but it'd be worth asking some questions before doing all that work yourself, or paying for someone else to do it.

 

Additionally, if the layout and positioning of the captions atop your image has to be precise, and you are required to use some sort of translation provider where it's not easy for you to communicate such questions or concerns to them, here's a technique I've used in the past: it is possible to place one InDesign file into another. The placed INDD file behaves just like any other image. So it might be worth  your time to rebuild your anchored diagrams as INDD files - which offers more reliable caption positioning than using either anchored groups or multiple anchored frames. Then you place 'em and anchor 'em into your parent document. Then, you (or your LSP, or you translator) can export IDML from your captioned anchored INDD files, offering the fastest translation workflow with the smallest amount of manual work necessary.  

 

 

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Guide ,
Nov 08, 2022 Nov 08, 2022

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Good idea - but I would rather place PDF exported from the INDD file instead of the INDD file itself... Much safer and won't slow down main document. 

 

ID-Tasker - most powerful tool ever created for InDesign

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Community Expert ,
Nov 08, 2022 Nov 08, 2022

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That's actually a good idea for the final product. But for the translation process, I'd rather give the translation service provider IDML (which is consumed readily by basically all contemporary translation evironments) as opposed to PDF, which to my mind is a container format not well suited to translation workflows. 

 

If it's a large project, with a very large number of captions, you know what I'd do? I'd automate the process of replacing placed anchored INDD with identically named PDFs... with a few lines of JS. That way, you get the ease of translatability with INDD callouts, yet your final product isn't bogged down by trying to e.g. read and render forty-five placed INDDs.

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Community Expert ,
Nov 08, 2022 Nov 08, 2022

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You know what, actually, there's probably no point in placing INDDs at all, right? Better to supply the LSP with the INDDs used to create the anchored PDFs. 

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Guide ,
Nov 08, 2022 Nov 08, 2022

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That was my idea from the start 😉 you work on small INDDs, place PDFs - but supply INDD / IDML files for translation - then regenerate PDFs.

 

ID-Tasker - most powerful tool ever created for InDesign

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Guide ,
Nov 08, 2022 Nov 08, 2022

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quote

That way, you get the ease of translatability with INDD callouts, yet your final product isn't bogged down by trying to e.g. read and render forty-five placed INDDs.


By @Joel Cherney

 

Exactly my point 😉 

 

I've created recently tool to build catalogs - user imports data from a database and builds products as separate INDD files (way more advanced than DataMerge 😉 ), then PDFs are automatically generated and placed as AnchoredObjects in a Story - that way when user needs to insert new product - or move them around - it's as simple as placing new PDF somewhere in the thread. And when user resizes PDF to better fit on the page - my tool will automatically open associated INDD file, rebuild its contents, re-generate PDF and update the preview in the catalog.

 

ID-Tasker - most powerful tool ever created for InDesign

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Explorer ,
Nov 09, 2022 Nov 09, 2022

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Hi all, thank you very much for the detailed replies 🙂 I have used the unanchor > group > re-anchor technique as suggested 👍

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Community Expert ,
Nov 09, 2022 Nov 09, 2022

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Don't forget you can add to this group too when it's anchored - by dragging the icon in the layers panel into the group as per my earlier screengrabs.

Good luck!

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Explorer ,
Mar 19, 2023 Mar 19, 2023

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Hi Eugene, sorry missed your reply. Great tip, thanks! 

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