Adobe InDesign: Understanding Panels

There are so many settings in a document that you may want to access quickly, InDesign provides you with a vast number of panels that you can display in the document window.

A panel will display as a group of related settings, such as a list of colours that you have selected for a particular document. This article is going to talk about how they are categorised and how they are used.

If you are interested in learning more about panels and the other ways that you can speed up your work in InDesign both our introduction and advanced certified InDesign courses contain plenty of tips.


A panel is a collection of controls, settings, commands or options that apply to a particular aspect of a document. The panel will take the form of a window and may or may not include a menu, if it does you will see a button in to right hand corner of the panel and will have a little arrow pointing down next to some horizontal lines. Every default panel will have a menu button. You might find that sometimes panels will also get called pallets.


Panel States

Panels can appear on the InDesign document window in various states. It may appear as a window or a tab, depending upon the settings chosen for each panel and how the panels appear by default. The Panel states include:
Full – this is the normal view that you see and all commands and options are visible.
Docked – The panel dock is defaulted to be on the right hand side of the screen, this means that effectively they are attached to the side of the window. Docked panels can be displayed in full or collapsed icons.
Example for Full and Docked Panels, to put them into full mode you can click on the double arrow button on the top right hand corner of the panel dock:

Floating – The panel appears as a floating window somewhere on the screen.
Example of a floating panel, to make a panel floating are you need to do is to drag and drop it out of the dock:

Collapsed – none of the commands are visible and only the title of the panel shows.
As default the panels will already be collapsed and here is an example of them:

Abbreviated – Only a few rows are visible because the size has been made smaller.
Example of an Abbreviated panel, to make it abbreviated all you have to do is go to the bottom of the panel and drag up to make it smaller:



Available Panels

There are a lot of panels to work with, each of which as many setting and options. Below I have made a list of all the panels you can choose from the window menu. Some of the panels are grouped by function for example Animation, Bookmarks and Hyperlinks are all grouped under interactive panels.

The panels you can have are:
• Articles
• Colour
• Control
• Editorial
      Track Changes
• Effects
• Extensions
• Folio Builder
• Info
• Interactive
      Buttons and Fonts
      Liquid Layout
      Object States
      Page Transitions
• Layers
• Links
• Mini Bridge

• Object & Layout
• Output
     Flattener Preview
     Separations Preview
      Trap Presets
• Pages
• Stroke
    Object Styles
• Styles
    Cell Styles
      Character Styles
      Table Styles
• Text Wrap
• Tools
• Type & Tables
      Conditional Text
• Utilities
    Background Tasks
      Data Merge
      Script Label
      Tool Hints

If you want to learn more about InDesign, then take a look here for details of our courses in London, Guildford and across the South of England.

To find out how to add margins in InDesign click here.

To find out how to change the bullet character on bulleted paragraphs click here.

Looking to learn about spell checking your text? See our article How to Spell check in InDesign.