If you’ve created the “quick & dirty” duotones in Quark XPress by placing a grayscale image and coloring it in QX, then this InDesign tip is for you. You can do the same thing in Adobe InDesign by selecting the picture frame with the Selection tool (solid arrow tool) containing your grayscale image (warning: this tip will convert your spot color image to CMYK) and choosing a color to fill the box with from the Swatches palette. Then, click on the image again with the Direct Select tool (the hollow arrow tool) and choose Darken in the mode drop down menu in the Transparency palette.
Did you know you can change fonts, font sizes, leading and more in Adobe InDesign using the arrow keys? Simply click in the field you want and use the arrow keys to increase measurements, select the next or previous font, etc.. Perfect for making small adjustments.
In this previous tip I reminded you that hitting Command + J and typing a page number and Enter will take you to that page. But in the event that you have special page number options set, it won’t work without a little more effort. Lets say you have an 8 page booklet you’re working on in Adobe InDesign and you want the page numbers to start on document page 3 (because document page 1 is the cover and page 2 is the inside cover). You would right (Control) click on document page 3 in the Pages palette and select Numbering & Section Options and click the Start Numbering Pages At button and type “3”. This now makes document page 3 be page number 1. The problem is that now when you hit Command + J to jump to a page, you can’t because you’re using Section options. The way around it is to use the standard Command + J, but instead of typing just “3” you must use +3 instead. The + (plus key) tells ID that you want to go to the absolute document page 3… which is actually page 1 in your page numbering scheme. This is somewhat confusing, and quite frankly, I find it very unintuitive, but once you get used to doing it, it’s still faster than going to the pages palette and scrolling through a long document to get to the page you want.
When you have content placed in a frame in Adobe InDesign, you can press Command + Option + C to resize the frame to the size of its contents – text or graphics. You can also hit Command + Option + E to stretch a graphic to fill a frame. If you want to keep the graphic scale proportional, add the Shift key. Once your graphics are placed in a content frame and sized to your liking, you can center the graphic in the frame by pressing Command + Shift + E. These commands may seem obvious, because they’re in the menus and in the manual, but I’ve found that many designers and production artists are so used to Quark’s key commands that they forget to learn new ones.
When you’re in Adobe InDesign and you have a text block that you have carefully set right-aligned tabs for using the tab bar, you’re somewhat stuck with the tab setting if you need to resize the frame. The tab setting stays where it is regardless of any width adjustments you make to the text frame. You can make it much easier on yourself simply by hitting Shift + Tab. This will automatically put the text after the tab to the far right point of the text frame regardless of the width of the text frame. This of course makes it much easier on you if you need to make that frame a bit thinner or wider.
When using Adobe InDesign, you can send any item to the back of a layer by pressing Command + Shift + [. To bring the item to the front, use the ] key instead. Take the Shift key out and you’ll move the item up and down in the layer order one at a time.
Getting control of the Font menu can be a daunting task if you have a lot of fonts activated. Adobe has made their apps somewhat easy in that they group fonts by family, but it can still be a long list to scroll through. When you’re working in Adobe InDesign, you can click in the font field in either the Character palette or Control bar and type a letter of the font you’re looking for, which will automatically select the first font using that letter. So if you type the letter “T” you will most likely end up at a font named Tahoma. Once you have the first font by that letter in the menu, you can click the font popup menu and select the actual font you want. Another way is to simply start typing the font you are looking for and InDesign will select the font as you type.
Did you know that you can select all the objects on a specific layer on the active page by Option-clicking the layer’s name in the Layer palette?
To select objects hidden behind other objects or simply below a larger object, Command + Click until the object you want is selected. Each click selects the object below the previous top object. When you reach the object you want, you can move the object by dragging it while the mouse button is still held down, or drag it from the object’s center point. This is a handy tip, but I’ve found it easier, and more beneficial to make heavy use of Layers. I put text on one layer, borders on another, photos on yet another… it makes it MUCH easier to change things later if I need to.
Following up on the previous tip on how to free up RAM in Photoshop, if you work in Adobe InDesign all day like I do, you may notice that it gets very sluggish after a few hours. You’ll be doing yourself a huge favor if you simply quit InDesign every once in a while and re-launch it. InDesign will fly along at full speed once you do. The problem is that InDesign suffers from some sort of “memory leak” and it slowly but surely keeps things stored in RAM that it should have purged by itself. Over time, this leads to a slow down that is especially noticeable when scrolling pages with images, scaling images, etc… Quit and relaunch and the RAM gets set free!