Paste in Place: Moving Objects with Power


paste-in-place-idd Most computer users are familiar with the “Paste” command. You copy an object, then place it somewhere else via “Paste”: go to the Edit drop-down menu and select it there or use the keyboard shortcut CMMD-V (Mac) / CNTRL-V (PC). Why “V” for “Paste”, you might ask? “P” is used for “Print”, that’s why!

There is another, more powerful method of placing objects in InDesign, Photoshop, and Illustrator: “Paste in Place”. It was added to the Creative Suite tool chest beginning with CS5 (at least that’s when I first noticed it). You do the usual copy of an object (or group of objects) in file or page #1, which puts the data into an invisible file called the “clipboard”. Then, you open file or page #2 and select the “Paste in Place” option in the Edit drop-down menu. The keyboard shortcut is SHIFT-CMMD-V (Mac) / SHIFT-CNTRL-V (PC). This option preserves the x/y coordinates and places the object in the exact same location in file or page #2 as the original object in file or page #1.

Useful in Many Situations
  • One of the more common situations where “Paste in Place” is useful is in InDesign, while constructing Master Pages for multi-page documents. Sometimes it’s easier to create a design on a regular document page. You figure out the styling of running heads and footers, the column/grid layout, major head placement, image configuration, etc. Once the design is finished, you’re ready to create Master Pages that contain recurring items. Simply copy what you need from the regular document page and “Paste in Place” on the Master Page.
  • Related to the above situation is the reverse scenario, where you might have inadvertently placed objects on the Master Page that really don’t belong there and should only be on a regular document page.
  • A colleague gives you a rough layout or dummy file, which you need to rebuild for final production. Sometimes it’s just easier and cleaner to start with a fresh file, copy the item(s) that you need, and use “Paste in Place”. This is especially useful with image placement.
  • In Photoshop, you can copy a section of an image and “Paste in Place” on another layer to do some special effects. The command is found under Edit -> Paste Special in Photoshop.
  • In Illustrator, there’s an added bonus. You can select “Paste On All Artboards” for pasting objects in the same coordinates on each artboard!

I find “Paste in Place” a nifty, time-saving feature. I’m sure I’ve only scratched the surface with the suggestions mentioned, so please send your ideas and we’ll share them!

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