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Adobe FrameMaker: Gravity

by Barb Binder

Gravity is one of the least understood commands in the Graphics menu. This is partially because none of us do a lot of drawing in Frame, but also because it doesn’t work as expected. It sits above the more commonly-used Snap command-which allows you to snap objects to grid settings defined in View > Options. You enable Gravity when you want to make it easier for one object to touch another.

When Gravity is first activated via Graphics > Gravity, most of my FrameMaker students assume that when they try to move one object near another, Gravity will simply pull the object in and allow easy alignment.

Wrinkled brows normally follow as I watch their faces. Gravity does exert a pull between objects, but… gravity has no effect when you move objects. Wait, what? Read that sentence again. So when does Gravity work? In a nutshell, Gravity works when you are:

  • drawing a new object near an existing object;
  • resizing an object near an existing object; and
  • reshaping a path near an existing object

Here are a few more parameters to understand if you determine that Gravity will help you solve a need:

  • Objects have Gravity along their paths and at their corners;
  • Rectangles and ovals also have Gravity at their centers;
  • Some points on an object exert a greater pull than others. For example, the corners of a triangle attract the pointer more than its sides do; and
  • If Gravity and Snap are both selected in the Graphics menu, Gravity takes precedence.

As Adobe proudly declares in the FrameMaker Help System, “Gravity ensures perfect alignment.” Sure, but just make sure you understand that it works only when drawing or resizing, and not when trying to simply move existing objects so that they can touch each other.

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