Adobe InDesign’s keyboard shortcut to create crosshair Guides (a vertical and horizontal guide) is so obvious that it’s easy to miss.
Unfortunately, it does not appear that InDesign offers the new darker interface found in Illustrator and Photoshop CS6.
A friend recently asked what happened to the ability to export color separations from Adobe InDesign CS5 to a PDF using custom page sizes. I’ve never heard of or had the need to do this, so I was of little help. But for whatever reason, I was able to do it because I still had the generic Postscript PPD installed. The only thing I could think of was that I still had CS4 installed on my Mac, and the ability to do it remained in CS5 because of that.
In any case, my friend discovered the work around, and shared with me where he found it. Russell Viers offers the solution, that requires little more than a quick PPD download and install. Again, I’m not sure why you would want to do this because your printer generally handles this in-RIP at their printing facility. You really need to know what you’re doing when you enter the settings.
Even with a 30″ LCD screen, I prefer to not have any of InDesign’s panels open than is necessary. One panel I use often, but don’t keep open is the Text Wrap panel, which offers a few icons in the main Tools panel across the top of the Adobe InDesign application frame.
Rather than keep the Text Wrap panel open or (worse yet) keep opening and closing it as needed via the menubar, you can simply Option + Click the icon in the Tools panel. This will pop the panel open so you can access more of the Wrap features.
Unfortunately, this capability isn’t automatic, and Bridge won’t build a preview of the document on its own. You have to set InDesign’s preferences to do so.
Visit the InDesign Preferences (Command + K) and choose File Handling from the list on the left. Under the section titled Saving InDesign Files. Make sure you tick the Always Save Preview Images with Documents checkbox. You can then choose to save a Small, Medium, Large or Extra Large preview image. If you’re using InDesign CS5, you can also choose to save previews of one, two, five, ten or all the pages in your document.
I have InDesign set to save a large preview of the first two pages; it’s usually enough to tell me if I have the right file. It’s important to know that saving preview images of your InDesign document will add to the file size. It’s not much, but depending on the number of pages in the document, it can add up quickly.
The Align & Distribute panel in Adobe InDesign is a handy tool for lining-up objects and distributing them equally in a specified space. But in order to distribute objects, you have to set the left-most and right-most objects exactly where you want them before using the Distribute icons in the panel.
If you would rather “eyeball it,” you can do so simply by selecting your objects, grabbing one of the selection handles on one of the objects and hold the space bar down as you drag the handle. Rather than resizing your objects, the space between the objects will increase or decrease accordingly.
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.
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.
If 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!
One 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.
By 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.