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Creating Snippets in Adobe InDesign

Snippets are reusable content similar to libraries but with two key differences. First, whereas libraries collect multiple objects into a single list, snippets are new external assets not gathered together into a panel. Second, library objects do not remember positioning data, but snippets do. A snippet is an encapsulated segment of XML code, but don’t let that put you off—after finishing this sentence, you need never again consider the words snippet and XML together. What is important, and the reason I mention it, is that XML can contain text, path data, imagery, attributes— all the structural data and everything InDesign needs to re-create a container, its content, and their attributes. Snippets even remember their relative location on the page and the layer(s) on which they originated. In the simplest terms, a snippet is a piece of an InDesign page externalized.
Snippets may be passed around and traded like baseball cards.
Create a snippet by selecting one or more objects with the Selection tool, and then drag the object(s) out of InDesign to drop on your desktop. An INDS file will be created, which is like any other file and can be managed through the file system, Bridge, or what have you. If the idea of dragging something out of an application onto the desktop gives you the heebie-jeebies, use File > Export; in the Export dialog, set Save As Type to InDesign Snippet. Placing snippets in documents is just as easy—through File ?Place or by dragging from the desktop into InDesign. Upon dropping (or placing), the object(s) dragged to the desktop will instantly appear with all formatting and appearance intact and on the layer(s) from which they originated.
By default in InDesign CS3, snippets will drop at the cursor location rather than at the position on the page from which they originated. Changing that behavior is a toggle. In Preferences, on the File Handling pane, change the Snippet Import option. Position at Original Location will place the snippet in exactly the same place on the page as the original set of objects from which the snippet was created. Position at Cursor Location will place the snippet content wherever a loaded place cursor is clicked or where a snippet dragged from the desktop is dropped.


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