The new Properties panel in Adobe InDesign CC 2019 provides access to common properties for the currently selected element. This is a welcome change to the existing situation where objects and text frames each have multiple panels, as well as the Options Bar for setting properties.
The Properties panel is context sensitive which means that it changes to display settings for the item you’re currently working with. For example, if you select a paragraph of text, the new Properties panel with display the most useful character and paragraph controls. We’ve been using the new Properties panel for a little while and find that it consistently provides all the settings you’ll regularly need from InDesign CC.
It is still possible to use the old InDesign panels to adjust settings, so there is no need to worry about having to change your workflow – but Adobe have added what seems to be a very useful way to edit your documents.
When nothing is selected, the new InDesign Properties panel shows settings for the current document page. We no longer have to select File > Document Setup to adjust the document dimensions, facing pages, size of margins or the rulers and guides. The page Properties panel also provides a Quick Action section which provides a button to Import Files – this is the same as File > Place.
The text properties are the ones that will be most useful to regular InDesign users. Instead of switching the Options Bar between character and paragraph view – or keeping the Character and Paragraph Panels open – the new Properties panel collects the common settings into a single panel.
Right at the top of the text properties is a toggle between Paragraph and Character styles and the ability to apply and create new styles. From experience, this isn’t faster than keeping the Paragraph Styles panel open, but it’s great if you have limited screen space and want to keep fewer panels open.
The character controls, include font, size leading, kerning and tracking. Paragraph controls initially show text alignment options, but can be expanded to include all the other settings from the paragraph controls – including the new Space Between option.
To expand the visible properties, simply click on the three dot icon at the bottom right corner of each of the sections in the Properties panel. Currently the Panel does not remember the open state of the view, but hopefully this will be fixed in an update.
Properties for Other Content
Vector shapes, images (linked or embedded), tables each have a context sensitive Properties panel. The image properties have been especially useful for scaling content to fit frames (frame fitting), while working with vectors gives you fill and stroke control without needing to open three separate panels. Good job, Adobe!
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