The AutoFit tool is used to define parent-child relationships between objects, so that when the 'parent' object is moved or resized, its 'child' objects automatically adjust by the same amount. With AutoFit, you can create dynamic page elements that respond automatically as content changes.
On this page
- What are AutoFit relationships?
- Which objects can have AutoFit relationships?
- Create an AutoFit relationship between two objects
- Create complex AutoFit relationships
- Create an AutoFit relationship to an image within a frame
- See also
What are AutoFit relationships? ↩
An AutoFit parent-child relationship links two objects such that any resizing of the first object (parent) is transmitted and also applied to a second object (child).
AutoFit relationships are defined between the bounding boxes of parent and child objects. Each bounding box has nine handles, one in the centre and eight along its perimeter. Each handle can serve as a parent or as a child—enabling you to create simple to complex relationships between objects.
For example, you could create an AutoFit relationship between the bottom-middle handle of a placeholder graphics frame and the centre handle of a placeholder text frame, so that when content fills the parent graphics frame, the child text frame moves accordingly.
AutoFit relationships can also be created between multiple frame handles. For example, you could link the bottom-left, bottom-middle, and bottom-right handles of a parent graphics frame with the middle-left, centre, and middle-right handles of a child text frame, so that when the image frame is moved or resized, the caption frame moves accordingly.
When planning AutoFit relationships, think about how the parent object could change in size and position, and what effect that change would have on the child object. Should the child move with the parent, always keeping the same distance between them? Would the child grow or shrink, depending on how much space the parent takes? Once you know how the parent and child will work in relation to one another, you will be able to determine the best way to set it up, using the fewest relationships necessary.
TIP You can create relationships between objects that are placed on different layers, and even between individual objects within a group, but not between groups or inline objects.
Which objects can have AutoFit relationships? ↩
Relationships can be set between objects on master pages, and also within Typefi Elements.
When designing a template, you won't necessarily know how much text will fill a particular frame, or how large an image might be when running various jobs. If a frame can change size depending on what content is in it, then it is a candidate to become the parent object in an AutoFit relationship. If there is another object on that master page or within that Typefi Element that will change size or position depending on what happens with the parent frame, then that other frame is a candidate to become the child object in the relationship.
An easy way to tell if a relationship is needed is to create the master page or Element artwork, then resize the parent frame as if the content or an image were being placed in it. If another frame or line on the page or in the Element needs to resize or move, then you'll need an AutoFit relationship between them.
Create an AutoFit relationship between two objects ↩
- From the InDesign Tools panel (Window → Tools), select the AutoFit tool .
The cursor changes to the AutoFit parent icon .
- Click on a frame handle of the first object you want to define as the parent.
After you click a frame handle, the cursor then changes to the AutoFit child icon .
- Click on a frame handle of the second object you want to define as the child. See Frame handles and AutoFit relationships to see how different handles affect the AutoFit relationship.
- The two frame handles are linked to a parent-child relationship. The black icon represents the parent handle, and the white icon represents the child handle.
Resizing or moving the parent handle will now apply the same resizing or movement to the child handle.
Create complex AutoFit relationships ↩
You can create complex AutoFit relationships by linking:
- A parent object to multiple children (one-to-many relationship),
- Multiple parent objects to one child (many-to-one relationship), or
- Both a parent-to-child and child-to-parent relationship between two objects (bi-directional relationship), or
- Multiple objects together in sequence (multi-generational relationship).
One-to-many relationship ↩
In a one-to-many relationship, one parent object is linked to multiple child objects. Moving or resizing the parent object will move or resize all the child objects simultaneously, depending upon which handles are linked.
Many-to-one relationship ↩
In a many-to-one relationship, multiple parent objects are linked to one child object. Moving or resizing either one of the parent frames causes the child frame to move or resize accordingly, depending upon which handles are linked.
Bi-directional relationship ↩
In a bi-directional relationship, both a parent-to-child and child-to-parent relationship are established between two objects. Moving or resizing either object causes the other one to move accordingly, depending upon which handles are linked.
Multi-generational relationship ↩
In a multi-generational relationship, multiple objects are linked together in sequence. Moving or resizing a parent object will move or resize all of the objects in its hierarchy.
Create an AutoFit relationship to an image within a frame ↩
Both parent-to-child and child-to-parent relationships can be defined between a graphics frame and its image. To enable this feature, choose Edit → Preferences → Typefi → AutoFit (Windows) or InDesign → Preferences → Typefi → AutoFit (macOS) and select Allow Relationships to Images within Frames.
Frame-to-image relationship ↩
When you link a graphics frame to its image, the image (child) scales with the graphics frame (parent) as it is resized, depending upon which handles are linked.
Image-to-frame relationship ↩
When you link an image to its graphics frame, the graphics frame (child) scales with the image (parent) as it is resized, depending upon which handles are linked.
See also ↩
- Frame handles and AutoFit relationships
- Specify a reference point
- Auto-size your text frames
- Set the minimum and maximum frame size