Category: InDesign

Adobe InDesign topics

Learn how to use InDesign’s Liquid Layout rules to simplify cross-platform design

When you live in the modern-day design world, it’s not often that you design a piece destined for print that won’t eventually be found online. To truly create a piece that can live in both worlds, you have to format the file to work in print, as well as multiple mobile screen sizes. This is where Adobe InDesign’s Alternate & Liquid Layout features can help.

I offer you two great articles over at CreativePro that cover the use of InDesign’s Alternate/Liquid Layouts.

Part 1 here.
Part 2 here.

Alternate Layouts lets you have multiple layouts—of different sizes and orientations—all contained in one single document. What’s that you say…you don’t create digital publications? Not to fear! Alternate Layouts are a great way to create multiple layouts—destined for print or digital or a little of each—that share the same text and images. Maybe you have a campaign that includes posters, postcards, table tents, and door hangers that all share common elements. Or maybe you have a print version and a digital version of your client’s novel and you want to avoid having to maintain two documents when the editorial changes start rolling in. This is a job for Alternate Layouts!

Moving stylized text from Word to InDesign

Creative Pro writer, Jamie McKee, shares the ins-and-outs of getting stylized text from MS Word to Adobe InDesign without a lot of fuss.*

We all get MS Word files from a client for placement in a brochure, booklet, newsletter, or magazine. We end up having to reformat the text by hand more often than not. But there is a better way, which Jamie goes into.

MS Word to InDesign conversion

*That being said, I find Jamie’s solution to be more trouble than it’s worth by an order of magnitude. The problems with his methods are:
A) you have to go through the trouble of setting up the style sheets in word, being careful to name them the same as the ones you’re using in InDesign.
B) you have to do that for every Word file, because…
C) your client isn’t going to bother using your stupid Word file anyway

Now don’t get me wrong, his solution will work if you have a technically savvy client, or you work in an in-house design shop such as a magazine, etc. But the real-world realities are that it’s rare that you’ll find a client that will not make a mess out of this otherwise simple process.

But take a look at the article, because it’s quite informative. Even if your client refuses to use your perfectly stylized Word file, it’ll show you how to at least take some of the work out of the manual stylizing process.

Create color themes for use in all your Adobe CC apps

Adobe Color Themes

The Adobe Creative Cloud apps have a (fairly) new panel called Adobe Color Themes, which allows you to browse, create, save and use color themes in all your Adobe apps. Formerly known as Kuler, Color Themes allows you to browse a wide selection of pre-made color themes, or create your own using the Panel’s color mixer. Once you’re happy with your color theme, you can save it to your Creative Cloud account so the theme is available in InDesign, Illustrator or Photoshop.

You can find the Adobe Color Themes Panel under the Window menu. It’s fairly easy to figure out how to use just by playing around with it, so I won’t bother going into details here. It’s much more fun to just play around with it, but if you feel the need you can view a video tutorial here.

I don’t know how I missed this feature when it was introduced, but I’ve been using it for a while now and it’s a real time saver, and a great color inspiration tool.

How to deal with disappearing white text & objects when printing

White overprint

Your design is done and you’re printing your file. Then you see it. Some white object or text simply refuses to print. You’ve tried printing directly from Adobe Illustrator, you’ve placed the object into InDesign and printing from there, and you’ve even tried saving it as a PDF. But no luck, that object still won’t print. I’ve seen this happen a ton of times. In almost every case, it’s an object created in Adobe Illustrator—usually a logo.

More often than not, the problem is simply that the object is set to overprint in Illustrator. To fix the problem, select the object in Illustrator, open the Attributes Panel, and make sure the Overprint Fill (and/or Overprint Stroke) checkbox is NOT ticked.

Overprint fill checkbox

It happens for a variety of reasons, and it’s easily missed. If you’re working in Adobe Illustrator or InDesign, you can check to see if you’ll have the problem by turning on the Preview Overprint feature found under the View menu in both apps.

Master bullet and numbered lists in Adobe InDesign

InDesign's bullet list feature

Maybe it’s just a sign of our shortening attention spans, but these days we seem to want more and more of our information in quickly-digestible bullet points. And then there’s our insatiable need to quantify. We absolutely love lists: the Top Ten this, the 100 Greatest that, 50 ways to leave your lover, and so on.

So with all these lists to work with, we can be thankful that InDesign has robust tools for creating bulleted and numbered lists. If you’re not familiar with using bullet and numbered lists in Adobe InDesign, this article from CreativePro will make you a “list-master” in short order.

Free Adobe InDesign templates

Free InDesign template downloads

Sometimes you just don’t know where to start on a new project. Particularly newsletters or magazine layouts. Inspiration is everywhere, but often times having a pre-made template is a great way to start your layouts.

BestInDesignTemplates has several Adobe InDesign templates you can download and use for free, including: flyers, newsletters, catalogs, and a 20-page magazine layout. Obviously you would want to use these as a starting-point, rather than a finished design.

Building the ultimate contact sheet using InDesign

InDesign contact sheet

There are lots of ways to build a contact sheet of a folder full of images. Despite what many people think, you can still use Adobe Bridge, but it requires downloading and installing an older add-on. Instead, you can use Adobe InDesign’s built-in ImageCatalog script to build thumbnails of a folder full of images, including the file name, image dimensions, and more.

InDesignSecrets has a great walk-through showing you how to build the ultimate contact sheet. I’ve always used Bridge, which you can still do after downloading and installing the old Output Module. But when I came across this old post detailing how to do it using InDesign, I immediately fell in love with the method because it offers a little more flexibility, and the ability to edit it after the fact.