Floating Elements are Adobe InDesign objects that are placed outside the main story. For example, use a Floating Element for a figure where the text flows, or "floats", around it. Compared to Inline and Fixed Elements, Floating Elements provide the most versatility in placement options.
A single Floating Element can be applied to multiple design alternatives, called Element variants. For example, a figure Element may have three variants: a 1-column, 2-column, and 3-column version. Each variant has its own set of layout rules, which decide how it will be aligned on a page and which position is prioritised.
During the automated page composition process, the variant you specify in the input file is placed into the generated layout. If you do not specify a variant, then Typefi automatically chooses a variant for you. When Typefi chooses a variant, it tests each variant and picks the one that best fulfils the layout rules. For example, if you have two variants—one set to align with the top, the other with the bottom—Typefi picks the variant that can be placed as close as possible to the specified position. If both variants can be placed in the exact desired position, Typefi picks the one closer to the Anchor.
NOTE The layout rules are applied during the page composition process. They are not considered when you are manually editing an Adobe InDesign Document.
Creating a Floating Element involves four key steps and two optional steps:
- Create the artwork.
- Create the Element.
- Apply the Element to the artwork.
- Specify the layout rules.
- (Optional) Create additional Element variants.
- (Optional) Specify the Element variant options.
Step 1: Create the artwork
- Create the Element artwork in InDesign.
The artwork may consist of one or more Typefi Frames (Element Content, Element Image, Element Audio, or Element Video), Typefi Fields, lines and shaped objects, and any other boilerplate text and objects that remain the same in each Element instance. If you plan to create additional Element variants, set up the artwork for each design alternative as well.
- Place the Element artwork on a master page this is not assigned to a Typefi Section.
Do not place the artwork on a document (non-master) page because Typefi removes document pages from the template during the automated page composition process. Do not place the artwork on a master page that is assigned to a Typefi Section because an unwanted duplicate of the Element appears when that Section is inserted into a layout.
- (Optional) Use the Typefi AutoFit tool to link objects into parent-child relationships, and the AutoFit panel to automatically resize text frames when content is added to them.
- Group the frames and apply a text wrap to the group so that the main story text flows around the Element when placed in a layout.
Step 2: Create the Element
To create a new Floating Element:
- Open the Typefi Elements panel (Window → Typefi → Elements).
- Click the Create new element icon at the bottom of the panel, or choose New Typefi Element from the panel menu.
In the Typefi Element Options dialogue:
- Enter a unique Element Name.
To optimise your publishing workflow for multi-format publishing, specify Element names that only contain alphanumeric characters, dashes, and underscores. Symbols and spaces are not supported in EPUB and HTML.
- From the Element Type pop-up menu, choose Floating.
- Choose an option from the Default Paragraph Style pop-up menu to specify which style will be applied to the Element text when the Element is inserted into a Microsoft Word document, using Typefi Writer.
The default paragraph style can be overridden with another style in Word.
- Select Keep Floats in Order so that the order of Floating Elements (as specified in the input file) is retained during page composition.
Deselect to allow the order of the Floating Elements to change, if necessary, to provide a better placement option.
- In the Fields tab, specify which Element Fields are required in the Element.
- Enter a unique Element Name.
The new Element appears in the panel, identified with a position icon ().
Step 3: Apply the Element
After creating the Floating Element, the next step is to apply it to the Element artwork you set up in Step 1.
To apply a Floating Element:
Select and group the Typefi Frames and any other objects that form the Element.
For example, a figure Element may contain two grouped Frames: an Element Image Frame for the graphic, and an Element Content Frame for the caption.
In the Typefi Elements panel, select the Floating Element and click the Apply selected element icon at the bottom of the panel, or choose Apply Element from the panel menu.
An Element variant is automatically created and applied to the selected frame(s). The variants are automatically numbered , , , and so on as they are created.
A frame border (light blue by default) is applied to the master Element. If you applied the Element to a single Typefi Frame, then the original border colour is preserved. TIP You can change the border colour in the Typefi preferences. The name of the Element is displayed at the bottom-left corner, followed by the variant name in brackets.
Step 4: Specify the layout rules
Each Element variant has its own set of layout rules, which decide where it will be placed on a page during the automated page composition process.
These layout rules make it possible to position Floating Elements anywhere on a page—relative to the page edges, page margins, column edges, text frame, their anchor in the text, or their original master page location.
When a Floating Element is placed into a layout, a corresponding Typefi Anchor is inserted in the text where the Element is referenced in the input file. The variant is positioned based on the proximity to its corresponding Typefi Anchor and the alignment options you specify. A non-printing line indicates the relationship between a variant and its anchor in the text.
NOTE Typefi Anchors are displayed when View → Typefi Extras → Show Element Anchors and View → Screen Mode → Normal are both enabled.
To specify the layout rules:
Click on an Element variant in the Typefi Elements panel. The layout rules associated with the selected variant appear at the bottom half of the panel. You may need to drag the horizontal divider bar (located above the Layout Rules section) to view all the settings.
Click on one of the Align with… rules to configure it.
The first three rules, Align with top of..., Align with middle of..., and Align with bottom of... enable you to position a variant relative to the page edges, page margins, column edges, text frame, or its original master page location. The Align with... of anchor rule enables you to position a variant relative to the location of its corresponding Typefi Anchor in the text.
In the Rule Options dialogue, configure the vertical and horizontal alignment settings to specify how you want the variant to be positioned.
The settings are different depending on which Align with… rule you configure.
The Align with… rule is updated to reflect the settings you specified. For example, if you updated the Align with top of… rule to align the variant to the top of the page margin, then the name of the rule is called Align with top of page margin.
Repeat Steps 2–4 until all the necessary Align with… rules have been configured for the selected variant.
Assign the priority for each Align with.. rule: click on a priority bar to specify its level of importance, ranging from 0–4.
For example, to specify a priority level of 3, click the third priority bar. To specify a priority level of 0, leave the bars unselected; or click to the left of the first priority bar if one has already been specified.
Specify which page side the Element variant can be placed on.
Select Can appear on left pages to allow the variant to be placed on left-hand pages, and select Can appear on right pages to allow the variant to be placed on right-hand pages. Select both to allow the variant to be placed on both left-hand and right-hand pages.
Step 5: Create additional Element variants (optional)
A Floating Element must have at least one Element variant, but it may also have multiple variants. For example, a figure Element may have two variants: one that only appears on left-hand pages and another that only appears on right-hand pages.
To create an additional Element variant:
Select the artwork that forms the Element.
In the Typefi Elements panel, select the Floating Element name you want to apply and then click the Apply selected element icon at the bottom of the panel, or choose Apply Element from the panel menu.
A new Element variant is created and applied to the selected frame(s). The variants are automatically numbered , , , and so on as they are created.
NOTE Make sure the Element name, not any of its variants, is selected. If you apply a variant to the selected artwork, another instance of the variant is created (green border by default), rather than an additional variant (blue border by default).
Specify the layout rules for each variant.
Step 6: Specify the Element variant options (optional)
After creating an Element variant, you can give it a unique name, specify which layer it should appear on, and decide how far away from other Floating Elements it should be positioned.
When you name a variant, you can specify it by name to make sure that it is used in a layout. Different variants of the same Floating Element should have unique names, so they are easily specified. For example, if one variant is for portrait layouts, and one is for landscape layouts, name the variants "portrait" and "landscape".
For XML-based workflows, specify a variant with
context@variant in an input XML file (see Content XML 3.2 → Elements); for example,
<context variant="my-variant">. If you are using Typefi Writer, specify a variant when you insert a Floating Element.
You cannot specify unnamed variants or variants that share the same name. If you do not specify a variant, Typefi automatically chooses the most suitable variant by testing each variant and choosing the one that can be placed as close as possible to the specified position. If both variants can be placed in the exact desired position, Typefi picks the one closer to the Anchor.
To set the Element variant options:
In the Typefi Elements panel, double-click an Element variant; or select a variant and choose Element Options from the panel menu.
In the Typefi Element Variant Options dialogue:
- Enter a Variant Name.
The name should only contain alphanumeric characters, dashes, and underscores. Symbols and spaces are not supported in EPUB and HTML.
- Choose an option from the Layer pop-up menu to specify which layer the Element variant should be placed on.
NOTE Place it on a separate layer at the top of the Layers panel to make sure the Element appears in front of the main story text (see Adobe InDesign → Tutorials → Organize content with layers).
- Select Float Spacing to prevent multiple Floating Elements on a page from overlapping each other.
- If Float Spacing is selected, set the Top Offset , Bottom Offset , Left Offset , and Right Offset .
The offset values specify the minimum space required. These settings are applied during the page composition process. NOTE The offset spacing is not added together when two Floating Elements are next to each other. For example, if the offset is 2 pixels all around, and two Floating Elements are next to each other, the space between them is 2 pixels, not 4 pixels. If the two values are different, the larger value is used to decide the spacing.
- Click OK.
If you entered a variant name, it is updated in the Typefi Elements panel, and it is displayed at the bottom-left corner of the element within parenthesis.
- Enter a Variant Name.
If you have any questions about creating a Floating Element and its variants, please contact us. We're here to help.