Category: Adobe Apps

Auto-distribute InDesign objects with a keyboard shortcut

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.

Auto distribute objects

A simple keyboard shortcut allows you to "eyeball" the distribution of objects

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.

It’s important to note that the objects don’t distribute EVENLY automatically using this shortcut. In other words, if you have a quarter inch between the first and second object, and a half inch between the second and third, it won’t re-distribute the objects giving them equal space between them, it will only adjust the spacing already there proportionately.

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 your Photoshop images into comics

Comics action

Simple to use Photoshop action to turn your images into comics

Photoshop actions can save you lots of time by automating tasks. Aside from productivity, they can also be used to create some really cool effects. This action turns your images into colorful vintage comics, complete with oversized halftone dots.

Download Comics Photoshop Action.

Easily create guides at any angle in Adobe Illustrator

Rotate Guides in IllustratorMost people are aware that you can pull a horizontal or vertical guide out of the document ruler in Adobe Illustrator. But I suspect many users are unaware that you can then rotate that guide to any angle you wish.

Drag a guide out from the ruler. Now make sure your guides aren’t locked by unticking Lock Guides in the View>Guides menu. Select the guide (you can click and drag over the guide to easily select it) so it is active. Now select the Rotate tool (or simply hit the R key) and rotate the guide to your desired angle. Once you’re finished, you can re-lock the guide to keep from accidentally moving it.

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.

Adobe Photoshop CS6 to bring new interface, upgrade policy

Photoshop beta

Adobe Photoshop's new appearance

While in early beta stages, Adobe appears to be working on a new, darker interface for the next version of Photoshop that resembles Pixelmator. In addition to the new appearance (which in beta stage at least, offers an option to revert to the existing platinum appearance), Photoshop will feature new 3D tools, healing brush and red-eye reduction enhancements, and a perspective cropping tool. AppleInsider has more details and screenshots here. (more…)

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.

Blow Up 3 makes stunning image enlargements effortless

The situation is all-too familiar, and frequent. You’re working on a large poster and your client sends you a 3×5 photo to work with. Using Photoshop’s image sizing tools are of no help, and other 3rd-party options are overly slow and complex. This situation is where Alien Skin Software’s Blow Up 3 shines.

Blow Up 3

Blow Up 3's simple interface offers a very Mac-like simplicity

Blow Up 3 focuses on simplicity, as evidenced by a quick look at the interface of the Photoshop plug-in. A large preview window, and an input area with just a few controls are all that is necessary to enlarge your images with stunning results (see image later in this article). (more…)