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Whether you are an avid InDesign user or a beginner still trying to figure it all out, please take the time to read this, especially if you use the University brand templates.

One important difference between InDesign CS4 and CS5 is that the newer version has introduced a preference to lock objects.

This preference – Prevent selection of a locked object – comes automatically selected when you open CS5, so I strongly recommend de-selecting it.

The reason for doing this is that previously if you had text on a layout with a locked position you could select the text and change it, but it couldn’t be moved. Now, however, if you open a template, you won’t be able to edit any locked text, unless you unlock the objects manually.

This may seem a trivial issue at first, but given the amount of design templates we use at the University of Sydney to remain brand compliant, this is quite an important step to eliminate.

To do this, go to your InDesign preferences (top left; InDesign>Preferences>General) and de-select Object Editing > Prevent Selection of Locked Objects.


This is a key step for all staff who use our brand templates in CS5, as a lot of the text included in these has been locked to prevent movement in the templates.

Once you have unchecked this option you should be able to select text on your page, even if it is locked in a master page.

As shown below, InDesign CS5 has brought the layers panel more into line with the layers in Illustrator, meaning all the objects on your page – text frames, logos and shapes – are now separated within the layers.


This means you can arrange the layers into groups, and within those groups shuffle the stacking order depending on which element you want above the other.

You can view each item by clicking on the triangle to the left of the layer name on the Layers panel. After that you can click on the padlock to lock/unlock individual objects on your layout.

Should you need to both unlock the position of the object and edit it, there are numerous ways:

Command + Option + L (Mac)
Alt + Ctrl + L (Windows)

Go to the top menu bar and select:
Object > Unlock all on spread

Master Pages
Occasionally if certain objects are locked within a Master page, you will need to go that Master page and unlock it from there (Window > Pages). The Master pages are in the top half of the pages panel and generally have a name beginning with a letter. For example ‘A-Master’. Once you have double clicked on the Master page in question, go back to the Layers panel to unlock the object.

If all else fails and you just can’t understand why InDesign is not being your friend, you can always turn to Adobe Support:



Failing that, simply google your issue using a few keywords and you are bound to find countless help forums covering your issue. Chances are, if you are having problems, someone else in the world is too, and the more you explore, the more you will gain insights into the ever-improving world of InDesign.