Category: InDesign

Adobe InDesign topics

Advice: When to use Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator or InDesign

I belong to a lot of design forums and Facebook Groups and the question I see more often than I care to think about is “which app should I use to do X?” Should I design a logo in Photoshop, build an ad in Illustrator or InDesign, etc.

If you’re new in the graphic design field, or just never used Adobe’s Creative Cloud applications, take a look at this 30-minute video from Adobe Evangelist Terry White.

There are always exceptions to every rule, but in general:

  • Photoshop is for photo editing.
  • Illustrator is for logo design & custom illustration.
  • All the pieces should be brought into InDesign for layout and export to Acrobat PDF files.

The ONLY design rule that (in my opinion) has absolutely no exception: Design your logo in Illustrator. You’ll thank me later.

InDesign CC 2017 update + tips

InDesign CC 2017Adobe released an update to InDesign on Friday, and though it’s not a major update, it contain some changes worth noting.

The long-and-short of it for me is: mehhh. The first thing I did was turn on the Use Legacy “New Dialog” in the General tab of the preferences so I can avoid the highly annoying New Document dialog box that cuts off the Margins & Bleed entry areas to make room for giant useless icons for standard documents that used to live in a tidy little drop-down menu.

The new “Spectrum UI” is a huge leap backwards. You used to be able to adjust the brightness of the entire interface with a slider in the prefs; tweaking it just to your liking. Now you have four options: Dark (too dark for me, and too much contrast), Medium Dark (can’t decide if it wants to be dark or light and fails at both), Medium Light (which has no contrast at all and makes the entire interface look like a giant gray box), and Light (which is bright but useable).

I like the “flatter” interface, but it’s nothing to write home about.

Since David Blatner did a whole lot of work writing it up, I’ll point you to his review at InDesignSecrets.

Since you’re heading over to InDesignSecrets, take a look at these tips while you’re there:
Adding Alt Text to Images With Object Export Options
Naming Items in the Layers Panel

It’s nice to see Adobe updating InDesign regularly, but I’m starting to feel a bit neglected with the lack of new features, bug fixes and overall speed increases.

Find the missing font in Adobe InDesign

InDesign font info panel
Most designers know that InDesign offers a find fonts feature to change fonts or locate missing fonts in your document. It’s located in the menubar under Type>Find Font… However most designers never go past the “Replace With” font feature.

The problem is if you have a document with numerous pages and lots of colorful imagery, even when InDesign highlights the missing font (or the one you want to substitute) it can be hard to see.

The simple way to find the pesky hidden font is to hit the More Info button in the Find Font dialog box. The dialog box will expand with a list of font statistics, at the bottom of which will tell you what page(s) the reticular font is on—even if it’s on the pasteboard.

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.