Category: InDesign

Get to know the Fill and Stroke shortcuts for Adobe InDesign

InDesign CS6I’m a huge fan of keyboard shortcuts, particularly in Adobe apps like Photoshop and InDesign. They not only save time, but they tend to not interrupt your creative ‘flow’ while you’re working once you get used to using them on a regular basis. Here are a few simple ones to work with the Fill & Stroke tools in the Tools panel.
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  • X = Swaps the active state of Fill and Stroke in the Tools panel
  • / = Sets the Fill or Stroke (whichever is active) color to None
  • , (comma) = Applies the selected object with the last color used
  • Shift + X = Swaps the Fill and Stroke of the selected object in your document (if you have a box filled with red and no stroke, hitting Shift + X will fill the box with none and stroke the box with red).


Adobe InDesign offers JPG export of individual items

InDesign JPG selection export
When exporting as JPG from Adobe InDesign, most users export an entire page, then do any cropping necessary in Photoshop. But there’s an easily missed feature that allows you to export only what you want.

Simply select the object(s) on your InDesign page that you want to export before hitting Command + E (File>Export) and choosing JPG from the drop-down menu. When the JPG Export dialog box appears, tick the Selection button at the top before setting your other JPG options. InDesign will export a flattened JPG the size of your object(s) at your specified resolution and color mode.

InDesign’s Paste In Place works across multiple documents

InDesign CS6When you want to copy an object, or group of objects from one page of your Adobe InDesign document, and paste it in the exact same spot on another page, you simply hit Command + C to copy, and Command + Option + Shift + V to paste it in the exact same spot. Most people know about this function, but did you know it works in other open documents? As long as both (all) your documents are exactly the same dimensions, Paste In Place will work between documents.

Creating percentage-based paragraph styles in Adobe InDesign

When you’re setting your paragraph styles in Adobe InDesign you must specify a font size. If you want to shrink your entire layout by 20%, you have to go to each style and manually alter it. Such a pain!

Percentage-based paragraph styles

InDesignSecrets has a wonderfully clever solution to this problem which involves creating a paragraph style based on percentages of your already existing paragraph styles. Check out this cool InDesign paragraph style tutorial!

InDesign CS6 offers text frame auto-size feature

Adobe InDesign CS6 allows you to have text frames auto-size to fit the text you’re typing or placing into them. This can be a real time-saver, and it’s easy to set.

To turn Auto-Size on, right + click on a text frame and select Text Frame Options, or simply hit Command + B. In the dialog window, click the Auto-Size tab at the top right and choose your settings.

InDesign text frame auto-size

In the Auto-Size tab, you can set your text frames to automatically grow in specified directions, and by minimum amounts if you choose.

If you’re placing a long text document, the frame will grow to the bottom of the pasteboard.

InDesign CS6 adds link indicator badges for easy troubleshooting

InDesign link indicator badgeAdobe InDesign CS6 added a great feature to help designers quickly located missing or edited images and other placed objects without the need to visit the Links panel.

When you’re working in a document and an image or placed graphic is missing or has been edited but not updated, InDesign places a small colored badge at the top of the object to indicate its status. In the case of my missing logo in the screenshot, InDesign has placed the red alert badge on the object box.

This method of badging is handy because most designers probably don’t think about the status of their placed objects until the project is finished. If an object has changed enough, it can mess-up the overall layout. With these new badges, you can see problems on the fly with no interaction necessary.

iStockPhoto plugin for Adobe Creative Suite apps makes image searching easy

iStockPhoto pluginI spend a lot of time searching for stock photography. One of the sites I spend the most time on is iStockPhoto due to its large selection of images and relatively low cost. Switching between my InDesign layout and Safari to compare the images on the website to the layout to see if the image is appropriate can be tedious – especially when you consider the time to download and place the comp images.

It would be so great if you could do it right inside InDesign, Photoshop or Illustrator without using a browser. Thankfully, you can with this nifty plugin.

iStockPhoto has released the iStockPhoto Plugin for InDesign, Photoshop and Illustrator that adds a Panel to all three apps which allows you to search for images, view the images, create and view light boxes, and place a comp image directly into your file, and purchase the image – all without ever leaving the Adobe application.

Installation is simple, as the plugin is installed for all three apps via the Adobe Extension Manager. The plugin is free. You can search for images and add comp images to your layout, but you must have an iStockPhoto account to use lightboxes and purchase images.

Adobe Creative Suite 6 Design Premium: First look at speed

Adobe CS6With every release of the Adobe Creative Suite apps, one of the first questions always seems to be “is it faster?” Whether you use Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator or Flash, you probably crave improved speed almost as much as new features.

With all the major Adobe Creative Suite apps being fairly mature in their lifecycle, new marquee features have taken a back seat to minor tweaks, small feature additions, bug fixes, and speed improvements. Creative Suite 6 follows that trend for the most part, and that makes it a bit easier to compare the speed of the apps between CS5 and CS6.

I’ve been using Creative Suite Design Premium for a few weeks now, and have collected my thoughts and observations about CS6 regarding speed. It should be noted that, with the exception of the launch-time chart below, these are my opinions based on very unscientific testing. I’ve not run any benchmarks or other timed processes, just real-world “eye-ball” tests.

Test Macs

All my observations are based off the results of running Adobe CS6 (and CS5) on two Macs, both running OS X Lion 10.7.4:
Mac Pro 2006 (MP): 2.66 GHz Dual-Core Xeon, 11GB RAM, 7200 RPM internal HD
MacBook Air 2011 (MBA): 1.7 GHz Core i5, 4GB RAM, SSD


I chose the download option for CS6, rather than the boxed DVD collection. So I installed CS6 from the mounted disc image on my hard drive. This is important to remember, and you’ll see why below. (more…)