Category: InDesign

Adobe InDesign topics

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.

Advice: Building the best graphic design toolbox

There is no perfect set of tools for graphic designers. We’re all unique, we all work in different ways, and budgets always come in to play. I’ve put together a breakdown of major factors when building the best graphic design hardware and software toolbox based on my experience. Consider the following as a guide, rather than a set of absolute rules.
Design Toolbox

Keep it simple

I’ve been a graphic designer for 30 years, using the Macintosh the entire time to produce work for some great clients. I’ve worked for ad agencies large and small, a design firm, printing companies, and I’ve freelanced full and part time. Over the years I’ve learned a few short rules as it pertains to building my design toolbox and getting things done—and it has held true everywhere I’ve worked. Those rules are: keep it simple no matter the cost, don’t get caught up in software trends and gimmicks, buy a little more than you think you need, because you will grow into it. The following is more specific advice for building your design toolbox. (more…)

Setting InDesign default fonts and colors

InDesign default colorsSetting default fonts and colors seems trivial, but can be a considerable time-savings if you work for an in-house design department where you’re always using the same corporate font and colors for virtually everything you do.

The ability to set default fonts and colors in new Adobe InDesign documents has been covered before, but I still see people asking about it, so I thought it worth mentioning here again.

To set the default colors:

  1. Open InDesign, but do NOT create or open a document
  2. Delete any colors from the Swatches panel you don’t want
  3. Create any amount of new colors in the Swatches panel

Any NEW documents you create will automatically have the new default font and colors already set. Unfortunately, existing documents will still use whatever default font and colors that were set when the document was created.

To set the default font:

  1. Open InDesign, but do NOT create or open a document
  2. Select the Text tool
  3. In the Control Bar across the top, select the Font drop-down menu and choose your default font. You could also use the Character panel if you choose.

Fit frames to content easily in Adobe InDesign

If you’re a digital neat freak like I am (You’ll know, because you always name your Photoshop layers. Always!), then you’ve likely performed this task manually countless times. You draw out an object container in Adobe InDesign—such as a text box or image box—place the content in it and resize the content. Next you have to manually resize the object container so it’s only large enough to hold the content within it. Otherwise you end up with a ton of overlapping object frames, making it difficult to select just the right one.
InDesign frame resize shortcut
Fortunately, you can make it easy on yourself with this quick shortcut… (more…)

Font management with Suitcase Fusion & Adobe Creative Cloud

Font Management Webinar
A reader asked me if a downloadable version of the webcast was available for a recent font management webinar from Extensis.

At the time, I was not aware of one. Fortunately, Extensis has made that webinar available for viewing by everyone.

View this recorded webcast to learn proven techniques to help you focus on design rather than font management. You’ll learn how Suitcase Fusion 5 takes the work out of managing your fonts in Adobe Creative Cloud to improve your creativity.

Learn how to:

• Remove corrupt fonts from your workflow
• Dispel the dreaded “missing font” dialog box in Creative Cloud apps
• Efficiently organize your font collection
• Speed font prototyping
• Remove font duplicates
• Clean font caches
• And more…

My favorite new InDesign CC 2014 features

Adobe Creative Cloud 2014

If you’re a graphic designer, you no doubt know that Adobe released new versions of the major apps in their Creative Cloud subscription this past week.

I’ve been using InDesign CC 2014 the last few days, and had no troubles at all with the software. While Adobe focused on specific features for all the apps, it’s often the case that the little things make all the difference. For me, this is definitely the case with the latest InDesign. There are two new features that make a world of difference for me. (more…)

Extension compatibility with Adobe Creative Cloud 2014 apps

Adobe Creative Cloud 2014

If you’re an Adobe Creative Cloud subscriber, you’ve no doubt downloaded and installed the latest versions of the CC apps. Adobe has smartly opted to install the apps beside existing CC apps, so you now have two versions of the main apps. This is important because many extensions and plug-ins are not yet compatible with the latest versions of InDesign, Photoshop and Illustrator.

Extensis has announced that Suitcase Fusion 5 font auto-activation plug-in updates are on the way (they currently don’t work in CC 2014) and will be free.

One of my favorite Photoshop plugins, GuideGuide, has been updated to work in PS CC 2014. AlienSkin’s EyeCandy, BlowUp and Bokeh (no longer sold) plugins appear to work fine simply by copying the plug-ins from the old PS CC plugins folder into the new version’s plugin folder.

I’m still waiting on an update for the incredibly useful FlatIcons extension to be updated.

If you rely on an extension or plug-in that hasn’t been updated to work with the new Creative Cloud 2014 versions, you can still use them in the older CC versions of the apps which are still installed on your hard drive – unless you un-installed them.

Aligning punctuation in Numbered Lists in Adobe InDesign

I come across files all the time where the designer used multiple blank spaces, or even separate text boxes to align the period after the numbers in a numbered list in their InDesign document. It’s a royal pain in the ass to fix, and it actually is a lot more difficult to do than just doing it the proper way to begin with.

InDesign numbered lists

To align the punctuation in numbered lists, the first thing you do is NOT type numbers. Simply select the items in your list and click the Numbered List icon in the Control Bar (see image above). This will add the numbers for you.

To align the punctuation, Option + Click the same Numbered List icon in the Control Bar and adjust the Alignment of your list to Right Justified.

InDesign numbered list alignment

Next, click the Preview checkbox in the lower left corner of the dialog box so you can see your adjustments updated live, and adjust the Left Indent amount until there is a sufficient amount of space after the numbers and before the text of the list.

Finally, adjust the First Line Indent amount by a negative number until your satisfied with the look of the list. The amounts in the screenshot above is what I used to achieve the fixed list on the right.

The beauty of doing it this way is that you can go back later and make adjustments to all your lists at once, no hitting the space bar multiple times, no setting multiple tabs, no hassle!