Templates and the Contact Sheet for InDesign Script

January 8th, 2009

The Contact Sheet for InDesign Bridge script has the ability to use InDesign templates. This posting is an example of how to create and use an InDesign template that will make your contact sheets into things of beauty.


If you open the template in InDesign, the first thing you’ll notice is the background stuff. All of that content on the page is contained on the Master Page. To edit the master page, open the “Pages” palette (Window->Pages), and double click on the “A-Master” page at the top. You can now customize the master page to fit your needs. Anything contained on the master page (or master spread if you are using facing pages) will appear on every page.

Next, let’s look at Object Styles. Select the Object Style palette (Window->Object Styles). There are twp object styles, one for captions named “captions”, and one for images named “images”. By creating and setting these styles, you have complete control over the appearance of the frames. In the case of the images object style, I feathered the content.

Finally there is the paragraph style for the captions. Select the Paragraph Styles palette (Window->Type & Tables->Paragraph Styles). The style in question is “labels”. Yes, the name should be “captions”, but it’s a throwback to the first release. I don’t want to break anyone’s templates. But I digress…

Whatever you set this paragraph style to will be what you see in the output.

That’s pretty much it on how to get a template going for you. There are a couple of notes on this version of the script:

1. The size of the image rectangles is determined by the page dimensions (specifically the area inside the page margins) and the number of rows and columns you specify. To get a decent aspect ratio for the images, you need to be careful in how many rows and columns you specify. 1 column by 42 rows will make for very wide, extremely short rectangles, with pretty darned poor results. Since most cameras are taking images in the 4×3, 3×2, 4×6 or 8×10 aspect ratios, you should make your columns and rows reflect the aspect ratio reasonably closely.

2. In this version of the script, all pages are based on a single master, with a single set of margins. You can not have the first page be one size, and subsequent page be another. The next release of the contact sheet script will allow the ability for multiple master pages.

On a “what’s in the future” note: I decided to create and release this script when I was fairly well inundated with questions as to why Adobe did not include a CS4 version. The frank answer is that I don’t know. Meanwhile, I decided to forgo any significant upgrades to capability in order to get a CS4 version out as quickly as possible. The only real changes in the first release are performance and being able to save custom page sizes.

In the next month or so, I will be making another release that takes into account multiple master pages (solve note 2 above). It will also have an option to set the image sizes by aspect ratio. In that case, the number of rows and columns are determined by usable page dimensions, the selected aspect ratio, and an image width setting. I am also adding back (by popular request) the original “Files” feature that allowed users to filter the bridge selection, include subfolders, etc.

Entry Filed under: CS4

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