Adobe InDesign: The Frames and Shapes tool

Frames and Shapes are used to create objects that appear in your InDesign document. Frames are designed to hold graphics or text that you want to appear in your document. They are basically containers or placeholders. Shapes can also hold text or graphics, but are usually used to create graphic elements. Shapes and frames are identical except for their appearance.

These tools are covered in our introduction to Adobe InDesign courses that run in London and Guildford. See here for full course details.

Frame and Shape Tools.

Depending on what tool you select from the tool bar depends on what frame or shape you create. To select a different tool you can click and hold on the down on the tool icon and drop down menu will appear with the different tools on it. You can draw a perfect frame or shape by holding down the shift key as you create the shape.



This is the Rectangle Frame tool


This is the Ellipse Frame tool.


This is the Polygon Frame tool.


This is the Rectangle Shape tool.


This is the Ellipse Shape tool


This is the Polygon Shape tool


Feature of Frames and shapes.

From the icons you might see that there is a little visual difference between the frames and the shapes. You will see that the frames have a cross going through the middle of it. This feature makes it better for when you want to place graphics or text as you can see at a glance where text and graphics have been left out. Shapes should be used in conjunction with frames to provide a structure for the document. The polygon shape is special as it can create stars which the others cant.




To create a star all you need to do is to select the polygon shape tool and click on you document anywhere and you will get this menu pop up. Here you can select how many sides the star will have and how big it will be and how big the points will be of the star when you’re happy press ok.




When you click ok you should have something which looks like this.





If you want to learn more about InDesign then take a look the series of InDesign classes we run monthly in both London and Guildford.


Other Useful InDesign Articles:

Understanding Panels In InDesign

Understanding The InDesign Workspace

Guide To Master Pages In InDesign

Guide To Page Numbering In InDesign