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Repetition Methods Made Easy in Adobe InDesign

Updated: Apr 6, 2019

Repetition. Repetition. Repetition.

As graphic designers, we constantly find ourselves incorporating this crucial visual element into our work.

Seasoned creatives will know shortcuts and how to save time when when repeating a process in InDesign — or any #Adobe software for that matter.

In this tutorial, I will walk you through two simple steps I use quite frequently when using repetition in any page layout.

Two built-in features in InDesign that I take advantage of is the Duplicate and Step and Repeat tools — both found under the Edit dropdown menu.

I used these two essential tools in a recent print design project that incorporated repetition on a booklet cover. I needed to repeat the word "Detroit" various times and instead of copying/pasting and then placing where I want, I used the Duplicate feature.


Here are the steps on how to use Duplicate:

  1. With your shape or text frame selected, hold down Option (Mac) or Alt (PC) and drag another copy

  2. Align and distribute to your desired preference and rather than dragging another copy, go to Edit > Duplicate. This will repeat your last action and will create equal space between your content.

Step and Repeat is similar to Duplicate, only it quickly allows you to make multiple versions of elements while preserving the spacing with one simple step.

Using the example above, let's say I wanted to take the row of Detroit text frames and repeat them horizontally down the page.

Here are the steps on how to use Step and Repeat:

  1. With your Selection Tool, drag and collect the objects you want to repeat

  2. Go to Object > Group to group your elements together. Another option is right clicking and selecting Group — or even better, use the shortcut Command (Mac) or Control (PC) and G.

  3. Again, while holding Option or Alt, drag a copy below and then go up to Edit > Select and Repeat

  4. A dialog box will appear on your screen. In the Count field, type in the amount of times you want that specific grouped object to appear.


Incorporating these two useful tools into your workflow will save you time when working on bigger projects that involves extensive repetition throughout.

Some examples of that would be in print design, such as branding applications or even posters and flyers. Whatever the project, remember Duplicate and Step and Repeat will assist you with repetition!


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