In Step with InDesign: Blazing trails with the Pathfinder tool

Written by Jamie Chambers

InDesign 5.0 and 5.5 offer a few basic shapes such as rectangles, circles and polygons. But you can use the Pathfinder tool to combine these objects with type and an image to create new shapes for unlimited design options.

1. Within your document, create a rectangle using the Rectangle tool.

2. With the Type tool, add some text. Change the text to outlines by selecting Create Outlines under the Type drop-down menu.

In Step text image

3. With the text graphics and the rectangle selected, go to the Pathfinder Tool, found in Objects & Layouts under the Window drop-down menu. Select the Add button. Now all the elements have been combined into one object.

patherfinder add tool

4. Select the object and paste an image you have chosen inside the graphic by selecting Place from the File drop-down menu.

In Step group image

5. Since the graphic is one object, you can also add touches such as a stroke or drop shadow, and it will be applied to the entire graphic.

In Step menu

Try the other buttons – Subtract, Intersect, Exclude Overlap and Minus Back – to create different objects using the same graphics.

Jamie Chambers
Jamie Chambers

Jamie Chambers faced two career path choices in college, and lucky for Walsworth he chose art over accounting. He has been a creative influence for Walsworth for 17 years, currently as Design & Creative Concepting Supervisor in the Marketing Department. For 10 years, as an artist and supervisor for the Creative Services Department, Jamie traveled to workshops to collaborate with yearbook staffs to develop their covers and theme packages.