Category: InDesign

The iMac 27″ for graphic designers: part 2

27" Apple iMac

In part one of The iMac 27″ for graphic designers, I covered the reasons for choosing the late 2012 iMac 27” to replace my 2006 Mac Pro. As a graphic designer who works in Adobe Creative Suite apps all day long, with file sizes pushing the 1GB range, power is important. But as I found out with my MacBook Air, the Mac Pro just isn’t necessary anymore. Not only does the iMac have all the power you need, but it’s a much more elegant hardware solution, and significantly easier on the pocketbook. I also listed some of the pros and cons of the iMac.

Now I’m going to talk a bit about my experience actually using the iMac for the last two months. (more…)

InDesign color-related keyboard shortcuts

InDesign CS6Most designers know that hitting the X key switches between stroke and fill active states, and the / (slash) key fills the currently selected object with the color None in Adobe InDesign. There are a few other color-related shortcuts that, if you burn into your brain, can save you a good bit of time and mousing around on screen.

  • The , (comma) key will fill or stroke an object with whatever the current color is
  • The . (period) key will fill or stroke an object with the current gradient
  • The D key will fill an object with None and stroke it with black.
  • Hitting Shift + X will reverse the fill and stroke colors of the currently selected object. This is by far the most useful shortcut for me, because I’m constantly applying a color to the stroke when I wanted to apply it to fill

How to use the new Content Conveyer in Adobe InDesign CS6

InDesign CS6A new feature in InDesign CS6 is the Content Conveyor that lets you collect elements from a layout and reuse them quickly and easily. Unlike a library that must be created in advance and then opened within your layout, the Content Conveyor lets you collect elements as you go along. It represents a more spontaneous, on-the-fly way to work with design elements that will be reused and repurposed. Think of it as copy-and-paste on steroids.

CreativePro has a great walk-through of the Content Conveyer. At first I didn’t understand how it would fit into my workflow, but after using it a few times, I’ve found it to be quite handy. (more…)

Fit gradient to text in Adobe InDesign

One of the cool new features of Adobe InDesign CS6 is the auto-size feature for text boxes. It’s useful for those of us who prefer to keep our layouts neat & tidy. But it also has another very functional feature; ensuring gradients applied to text appear the way you expect them to.

As InDesignSecrets points out: when you apply a gradient to text, the gradient is actually applied to the frame itself, it just appears to be applied to the text inside the frame. So the gradient can appear to extend beyond the text.

Gradient fit to text

In the example above, I have the same black-to-green gradient applied to the text in all three text frames. But as you can see, only the bottom one shows the full gradient. That’s because the frame itself is set to auto-size to fit the text it contains. The two frames above it are larger, and the gradient adjusts to the size of the frame itself, rather than just the text.

So the moral of the story is: if you apply a gradient to text, make sure the text frame itself is sized to fit.

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).

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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!