Adding Layers

Adding Layers

Layers are like transparent sheets that are stacked on top of one another. If you add layers to your drawings, you can create the appearance that graphics are stacked on top of one another. The Layers palette allows you to create new layers, delete layers you don’t need, or even rearrange them to change the stacking order. Here’s how you work with layers in InDesign:

  1. Open the Layers palette by choosing Window®Layers.

    The Layers palette opens, as shown in Figure. This palette allows you to create, delete, and arrange layers in the publication.

    Click To expand
    Figure: The Layers palette.

  2. Draw a shape on the page using a shape tool.

    Create the shape anywhere on the page. Create it large enough so that you can easily stack another shape on top of part of it.

  3. Create a new layer by clicking the Create New Layer button in the Layers palette.

    A new layer is added in the Layers palette. The new layer is stacked on top of the currently selected layer and becomes the active layer.


    Make sure that the layer you want to create content on is selected before you start modifying the layer. You can tell what layer is selected because the selected layer is always highlighted in the Layers palette. It is very easy to accidentally add content to the incorrect layer if you don’t check this palette frequently. If you add an item to the wrong layer, you can always cut and paste items to the correct layer.


    You can delete a layer by selecting it and clicking the Delete Selected Layers button (it looks like a trash can). Click the Eye icon to make the layer invisible. You can lock a layer by clicking the empty box next to the Eye (visibility or show) icon.

  4. Make sure a shape tool is still selected, and then create a shape on the new layer by dragging the cursor so that part of the new shape covers the shape you created in Step 2.

    The new shape is stacked on top of the shape you created earlier. This is because the new shape is on a layer that is higher in the stacking order. Your layered shapes should look similar to what’s shown in Figure.

    Click To expand
    Figure: Two shapes are layered on top of each other.

Stacking layers on top of each other allows you to create images that overlap. This can help you add a feeling of depth and height to your drawing in InDesign. Not only can you stack drawing objects, but you can also layer and arrange imported images and text. We cover this in more detail in Chapter 12 of this minibook. Layers are also used to help group similar objects in one place, making it easier to work with your publication files.

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