Category: InDesign

Adobe InDesign topics

How to use InDesign’s Span and Split Columns feature

Nothing drives me crazy like working on a file that another designer created that doesn’t know about InDesign’s Span or Split Columns feature. There’s just no need to create a separate Text Box just to have the headline go across the top of two columns of text. It’s a pain in the behind. Span Columns to the rescue!
InDesign's Span Columns
Following close behind is when a designer wants to have two, three or more columns of bullet points in the middle of their text flow and doesn’t realize that you don’t have to create a separate multi-column text box in the middle of the text flow and then use multiple carriage returns to leave space for it. Edit the text above that separate text box and you have to move the text box with the bullets every time. Such a pain. Simply use the Split Column feature.
InDesign's Split Columns
If you don’t know how to use them, Erica Gamet has a great how-to article at CreativePro on how to use Span and Split Columns feature.

Getting more from InDesign’s Eyedropper tool

InDesign Eyedropper Options
Most designers new to InDesign think the Eyedropper tool exists solely to choose a color from an image or other object on the page. More experienced users know just how powerful it can be, and much easier it can make things.

Not only can you choose colors, but you can apply fonts, styles, colors, transparency and more to other objects with simple clicks.

Take a look at InDesign Eyedropper Tool Tips over at CreativePro for a look at this highly useful tool.

Don’t apply Baseline Shift to move a paragraph up or down in Adobe InDesign

Adobe InDesign’s Baseline Shift feature is designed for moving a character up or down a little bit—and it’s great for when a bullet is too low, or a trademark symbol needs to move down, or something like that. But it was not designed for setting the vertical position of a whole line or paragraph!

David Blatner has a great run-through at InDesign Secrets on how and when to properly adjust the Baseline of your text.

Ever wonder what new features were added to every version of InDesign?

InDesign New Feature Guide
I was fortunate enough back in 1997 to be part of a team of Adobe beta testers for an app called K2, which would later become InDesign 1.0. Even having come from Pagemaker, then years of Quark use, and a buggy as hell K2 beta, I could see even then that InDesign was going to thoroughly destroy the competition and take over the industry in short order. It ended up doing just that—despite its lack of features in version 1.0.

James Wamser, an Adobe Certified Instructor, has put together a list of features Adobe has added to InDesign since… well, since ever. I’m not sure how useful his PDF will be to you, but it’s possible that you read through and find out about a feature you weren’t even aware of that’s been there for years.

Download the InDesign New Feature Guide, a 1.5MB PDF, for free.

Quickly preview your color images in grayscale without leaving InDesign

Grayscale image preview in Adobe InDesign

When you’re working in a full color document in Adobe InDesign, you may occasionally want to see how the image looks in grayscale rather than full color. Normally this would require you to convert the image to grayscale in your favorite image editor. But you can quickly get an idea of how it will look without even leaving InDesign. Here’s how you do it: (more…)

Should you outline your fonts before output?

InDesign Outline Fonts
InDesign offers the ability to outline your fonts before output, much the same way as Illustrator. Outlining the fonts (sometimes known as converting to paths) prevents the potential for missing font errors and a host of other issues. But it’s not without a catch. There was a time when service bureaus and printers wouldn’t accept your files unless the fonts were outlined, but for the most part, that time has long since passed.

InDesignSecrets has the definitive guide to outlining fonts that offers a new way to outline your fonts in Acrobat DC, preventing that gotcha when you do it in InDesign.

Create a grid of InDesign frames from a single existing frame

Adobe InDesign has a built-in way to create a user-definable grid of frames from a single existing frame in your document. Why you might want to do this, you ask? Think of what a pain it would be to place the same image in a grid of frames to make it look like a single large image. Or, maybe you just need a grid of text frames made in the exact space that an existing graphic frame resides in.

InDesign frame grid

Open the Scripts Panel from the menubar under Window/Utilities. In the panel, navigate to Application>Javascript and double-click MakeGrid.jsx. The dialog box that pops up is self-explanatory. You choose how many columns and rows you want to transform the frame into, and how much space to place between them. Finally, you have the option of automatically placing the original image into the frames and adjusting their coordinates to look like it’s one large image. You can see the image above for the results.

How to export InDesign layers as a layered PSD file

InDesign to PSD

InDesign Secrets shared this excellent InDesign script that converts your layered InDesign file to a layered Photoshop file. Mike Rankin takes you through the simple steps in the article, but I’ll tell you from experience that this is the sort of thing that is best left to designers who are obsessive about details like naming and organizing their layers, regardless of what program they’re working in. And as Mike points out, this is something that is best left as the “final” step—as you won’t know (or have a whole lot of control over) what remains editable after the conversion.