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Adobe InDesign CS3

The InDesign Toolbox

The InDesign Toolbox contains all of the selection, drawing, and viewing tools for creating and manipulating text and objects. This document will familiarize you with the tools in the Toolbox.

return to topDisplaying the Toolbox

To maximize your work space, you can toggle between a hidden and visible Toolbox.

  1. From the Window menu, select Tools
    NOTE: A check mark will appear next to Tools when the Toolbox is displayed.
    Toolbox: Annotated

return to topAccessing Hidden Tools

Many tools are hidden beneath others on the Toolbox. Any button displaying a small arrow in the bottom right corner contains hidden tools.

  1. To access hidden tools, click and hold the mouse button over a tool
    The button's hidden tools menu appears.
    Hidden Tools example

  2. Select the tool you want to use
    The selected tool becomes the active tool and is displayed in the Toolbox.

return to topThe InDesign Toolbox

This table describes each available tool and its function.


Function Description
Selection Tool icon Selection Tool Selects lines, shapes, graphics, and text boxes. Selected objects can be moved, resized, and have their attributes changed.
Direct Selection Tool icon Direct Selection Tool Selects objects within objects, such as individual points on a path and objects inside groups or inside other objects.
Position Tool icon Position Tool Allows you to easily slide an image within a frame to crop it. Accessed through the Direct Selection Tool.
Pen Tool icon Pen Tool Creates precise, smooth lines using anchor points.
Add Anchor Point Tool icon Add Anchor Point Tool Adds anchor points to an existing pen selection. Accessed through the Pen Tool.
Delect Anchor Point Tool icon Delete Anchor Point Tool Deletes anchor points from an existing pen selection. Accessed through the Pen Tool.
Convert Direction Point Tool icon Convert Direction Point Tool Toggles the direction point on an existing pen selection (corner point or curve point). Accessed through the Pen Tool.
Type Tool icon Type Tool Selects text or designates insertion point for adding text.
Type on a Path Tool icon Type on a Path Tool Enters and edits text on a path. Accessed through the Type Tool.
Pencil Tool icon Pencil Tool Draws hard-edged freehand strokes on an image.
Smooth Tool icon Smooth Tool Progressively smoothes a path with each pass. Accessed through the Pencil Tool.
Erase Tool icon Erase Tool Erases line segments and points. Accessed through the Pencil Tool.
Line Tool icon Line Tool Creates straight lines.
Rectangle Frame Tool icon Rectangle Frame Tool Creates an empty rectangular placeholder.
Ellipse Frame Tool icon Ellipse Frame Tool Creates an empty elliptical placeholder. Accessed through the Rectangle Frame Tool.
Polygon Frame Tool icon Polygon Frame Tool Creates an empty polygonal placeholder. Accessed through the Rectangle Frame Tool.
Rectangle Tool icon Rectangle Tool Draws a rectangle.
Ellipse Tool icon Ellipse Tool Draws an ellipse.
Accessed through the Rectangle Tool.
Polygon Tool icon Polygon Tool Draws a polygon. Accessed through the Rectangle Tool.
Button Tool icon Button Tool Creates buttons.
Scissors Tool icon Scissors Tool Cuts paths or points.
Rotate Tool icon Rotate Tool Rotates objects to the specified angle.
Scale Tool icon Scale Tool Resizes an object.
Shear Tool icon Shear Tool Skews an object. Accessed through the Scale Tool.
Gradient Tool icon Gradient Tool Applies or changes the gradient (a gradual transition between two colors).
Gradient Feather Tool icon Gradient Feather Tool Changes the gradient so that it gradually softens in the specified direction. Accessed through the Gradient Tool.
Free Transform Tool icon Free Transform Tool Allows you to drag an object to alter its scale, rotation, and location.
Note Tool icon Note Tool Applies a note to a specified area of the document. This is particularly useful for comments during the editing process.
Eyedropper Tool icon Eyedropper Tool Samples formatting attributes from one area and allows you to apply them to another.
Measure Tool icon Measure Tool Calculates the distance between any two points in the work area. Accessed through the Eyedropper Tool.
Hand Tool icon Hand Tool (Panning) Repositions a page on-screen for optimal view.
Zoom Tool icon Zoom Tool Magnifies or reduces the area of the page on-screen.
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