Category: InDesign

Adobe InDesign topics

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.

The evil Adobe empire

Evil Adobe Empire

I came across this article the other day and paused for a few moments to think about the Adobe empire. The discussion in the article is all-too-familiar, and becoming a real trend. Even I have a difficult time defending Adobe.

I’ve spent years defending Adobe’s business model and applications. I still feel they’re the best tools on the market for content creators. And I don’t feel like $50 per month is the outrageous amount people make it out to be.

But I’m done defending Adobe. Because I can’t anymore.

Without going into a whole lot of detail, the logos and images for the last three freelance jobs I’ve worked on, and the graphics for this site’s last several posts were edited with an app not named Photoshop or Illustrator.

I guess what I’m saying is, the little things I mentioned a few days ago are piling up. And there are finally real options out there. By the end of this year, they’ll be a competitive alternative to Adobe’s print-related suite of apps. All of them. And I’m going to give them a serious consideration.

Adobe’s unwelcome Welcome screen

Adobe welcome screen

Hey Adobe, see that button down there in the lower right corner of your highly-annoying Welcome screen that pops up every time I launch InDesign CC 2015—the one that says “Don’t Show Welcome Screen Again?” How about you fix whatever bug that tells the app to ignore the fact that I clicked that button the last time I launched the app, EVERY TIME I LAUNCH THE APP!!!

When you do manage to fix the bug, please share your findings with the Illustrator team, because it happens every time I launch that app as well.

To be fair, this only happens on two out of the three Macs I use on a regular basis. But all three Macs have exactly the same software installed, and are running the same OS versions.

Are you using Adobe Creative Cloud Libraries?

Creative Cloud Libraries

Adobe Creative Cloud’s Libraries feature allows you to access, organize and share assets between your desktop and mobile apps, as well as other Creative Cloud users.

Libraries allows you to collect Character Styles, Color Swatches, Brushes, Graphics, Text, and other objects in one or multiple libraries (see the Illustrator Libraries panel in the image above). The Panel is accessed under the Window menu in Photoshop, InDesign and Illustrator. The assets you collect are synced via the cloud, and made available not only to your other apps, but you can share them with other members of your creative team, or make them publicly available via a link.

That alone would be really handy, but Adobe went a step further by offering the option of placing graphics in your Library as a linked file. That means when you update the original graphic, it gets updated in your Library, as well as any document you’ve placed the graphic in via the Libraries panel.

For the most part, you simply drag items into and out of the Libraries panel. Some icons across the bottom of the panel also allow you to add items.

Using the Libraries feature can save you a lot of time, especially if you use the same graphics, text styles and colors in most of your design work. In particular, publication designers will find Libraries to be a real game changer, especially if you share the design duties with other graphic artists on the staff.