Category: InDesign

Viewing overset text in your InDesign document

When you’re entering or placing text in a text frame in your document, InDesign lets you know when you have more text than it is able to display in the frame by adding a tiny red + icon in the lower right corner of the frame indicating overset text. For obvious reasons, you might want to know how much text is overset, but expanding the frame to see how much text is overset is, well, overkill.

Overset Text

InDesign can display exactly what text is overset in a text frame

Instead, you can view exactly what text is overset by simply hitting Command + Y with the text frame selected. This brings up a small window called the Story Editor.

At the bottom, you’ll see a red bar along the side, as well as a gray divider line showing exactly how much text is overset. To save time, you can edit your text right in the Story Editor until it all fits in the frame, if that’s what you choose to do.

Turn off multiple InDesign document layers with a single click

InDesign CS5If you have several layers in your InDesign document, and wish to work with no visual distraction on only one layer, you can turn all the others off quickly by holding down the Option key and clicking the eye icon of the layer you wish to keep visible in the Layers panel. I’ve used this same tip in Photoshop for quite a while, and finally realized it worked in InDesign as well. If you make use of layers, it’s quite handy!

Save space and never open the InDesign Swatches panel again

InDesign Swatches panel via Control panelOne unfortunate fact of using Adobe InDesign is the plethora of panels that most designers have to keep open and accessible at all times in order to be productive. It doesn’t leave a lot of space to view your document.

Fortunately, InDesign CS5‘s Control panel includes a full version of the color Swatches panel, so you can save yourself some screen real estate by using it instead of keeping the Swatches panel open on the screen at all times. The bonus of using the Swatches panel this way is that it scoots out of the way automatically when you’re done applying a color swatch to a fill or stroke to your object or text. You also have access to the Swatches panel fly-out menu.

Adjust your InDesign Pages panel view for a clearer picture

InDesign Pages panel optionsBy default, Adobe InDesign’s Pages panel displays Master Pages and Document Pages in a top-down vertical view. This is fine for a single page document, but for a document with dozens of pages and multiple Master Pages, it get pretty annoying scrolling up and down in the Pages Panel.

By visiting the flyout menu in the upper right of the Pages panel, and selecting Panel Options… at the bottom of the list, you can adjust your Master Pages and Document Pages to display horizontally by unchecking the Show Vertically check boxes. Setting the Sizes drop-downs to Small also helps in displaying more pages in a small space – perfect for users working on a laptop with smaller screens.

As you can see in the bottom half of the image, you’ll get a better view of your document pages in the Pages panel doing this than you would by default in the top half of the image.

Selecting cells with the keyboard in your InDesign table

Selecting InDesign Table Cells

Selecting individual InDesign Table cells, and the content in them, is easy with the keyboard

If you use Tables in your InDesign document, selecting individual cells with the mouse can make your fingers sore. Instead, use the Tab and/or Arrow keys to move between them. Maybe you already knew that. But did you know that you can click the cell you wish to work with and hit the ESC key to select the entire cell (perhaps to fill the cell with a color) and hit ESC a second time to select the content inside the cell (to change the font, for example).

Give your InDesign text a “highlighted” appearance

Ever want to give your text in Adobe InDesign a highlighted appearance but not want to bother with creating a separate piece of artwork to overlay? It’s a simple effect to create, with the added benefit that it sticks with the text when it gets reflowed.

Highlight effect in your InDesign text

Adding a highlight effect in your InDesign document text doesn't require separate artwork

To create the effect, take note of the point size of your text (you’ll need to know that later). Now select the word(s) you want to highlight, click the fly-out menu of the Character Panel and choose Underline Options…. In the dialog box that pops-up, click the Underline On and Preview check boxes so you can view the effect in your document as you make adjustments.

To customize your highlight choose the line type from the drop-down menu, most likely you’ll want a solid line. Now choose a color (any color in your Color Panel) is available to use. You’ll want to do these steps first so you can see the results as you customize further.

Now adjust the Weight of the underline to be a few points thicker than the point size of your text – in the case of the sample image above, my text was 12pts, so I made the underline 14pts. Now adjust your Offset amount by a few negative points so that it overlaps your text – in my sample, -3 was just the right amount. Finally, click the Overprint check box to give it a more realistic effect (overprint will really show if your text is a lighter color). Now just hit OK button to apply the effect.

Highlighted text sampleYou could stop here, but you’ll notice that the highlight begins and ends exactly at the edges of the first and last letter of your highlighted word(s) – as you see in the top of the image at the right. While this isn’t that big of a deal, it’s not quite as realistic as it could be. To extend the highlight effect to just a tiny bit before and after the text as you see in the bottom half of the image, add a space before and after the word and reduce the Tracking amount of each space. I used -140 for the sample image to show how this adjustment affects the highlighting, but you may want to reduce the space even further to avoid unsightly gaps.

If you want to apply this effect to more text in your document, you may want to save the effect as a Character Style.

Mac OS X Lion and Adobe Creative Suite: what you need to know

Lion and Adobe CS

The question of the day: Will Adobe CS apps choke on Lion fur?

I received several emails since yesterday morning asking why I hadn’t posted an extensive review of Mac OS X Lion. I’ve already stopped replying to those emails, and thought it better to update everyone on the most common subjects.

Why no review of Lion on The Graphic Mac?

If you go through the archives here, you’ll find that I’ve never really reviewed the latest Mac OS X upgrades. The reason is simple. Everyone else already has it covered. Seriously, if you really want to read re-hashed press releases from Apple you don’t need me to do it. The features found in Lion are awesome. The updated interface is awesome. The new Mail is awesome. And for the most part, everything works just as before.

Just buy it, it’s only $30 and it’s awesome.

I’m running Adobe Creative Suite version X, will it work with Lion?

I run Adobe Creative Suite 5, so that’s the only version I can comment on with first-hand knowledge. In short, it works just as it did in Snow Leopard. And I mean that literally. Adobe CS apps don’t take advantage of any of Lion’s new features like Versions, Full Screen, Restore, and some multi-touch gestures.

There are a few issues with CS apps running under OS X 10.7, which Adobe has outlined in this Knowledge Base article, but for the most part they are minor.

Do the Adobe CS apps run faster or slower in Lion?

See comments above. They run just about the same as they did in Snow Leopard – whether you consider that fast or slow is a matter of opinion.

When will Adobe update their apps to work with Lion?

I work for an ad agency, not Adobe.

Is it hard to get used to running iOS on a desktop Mac?

No. But that’s because the idea that Lion is iOS for the Mac is way overblown. Apple has implemented a few features from iOS, ALL of which can be turned off or simply ignored. Other than the interface colors, and a few other minor tweaks, it’s not a whole lot different than running Snow Leopard.

That being said, if you’re unhappy with the direction Lion has taken, you’re going to really hate the next few years. If you buy a new mouse for your Mac today, it’s not far-fetched to say it’s probably the last one you’ll ever use (if it’s a decently made one, anyway). That spaghetti string of cables behind your desk is probably going to get a lot smaller in the coming years. Everything is going wireless – including the charging of your iPhones, iPods and other small devices.

I believe we’re on the front doorstep of a new revolution of change in the technology industry. In closing, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet!

How to turn on or off InDesign stroke scaling

InDesign stroke scaling settings

Adjusting your stroke weight scaling setting can save lots of frustration

When you’re scaling objects in Adobe InDesign that contain a stroke, you may have been frustrated by the fact that the stroke scales with it – or maybe you wish it did.

InDesign offers a somewhat hidden feature that allows you to customize the stroke when scaling. In the flyout menu of the Transform panel, simply check or uncheck Adjust Stroke Weight when Scaling to adjust the behavior accordingly.

Setting your preferred measurement units in Adobe InDesign

InDesign CS5Ever wonder why certain Adobe InDesign documents open with Inches as the measurement unit, and other open with points, or some other unit? InDesign is smart enough to remember what measurement unit the document was saved with.

You can quickly change the unit of measure in a document by right-clicking anywhere in the document rulers and selecting your preferred unit of measure.

If you’re annoyed when you open a new InDesign document and the unit of measure is not what you prefer, you can set the preferences to always create new documents using inches (or any other unit you prefer). Simply close all InDesign documents and set your preferred unit of measure in Preferences>Units & Increments. From that point forward, all new documents will use that unit of measure by default.

Don’t fear the white lines in your PDFs created by InDesign

InDesign CS5You’re working on a brochure under a tight deadline, and upon opening the PDF you just exported from Adobe InDesign, you notice thin white lines around certain objects. Don’t miss your deadline spending too much time troubleshooting the InDesign file. More often than not, those white lines are simply a display glitch in the PDF caused by transparency flattening in the export process.

If you’re concerned, you can check your file in two ways. The first method is to simply open the PDF and zoom in and out – if the thin white line disappears when you zoom in and out, it’s just a display glitch.

The second method is to just run InDesign‘s Package command (Command + Option + Shift + P); when the report dialog appears, make sure you have no RGB images in use. When RGB images overlay CMYK images, transparency flattening problems can occur. If this is the case, then you definitely should convert those RGB images to CMYK before exporting your file as PDF.