Moving facing pages to get rid of the orphan first & last page in Adobe InDesign

Adobe InDesignA reader recently contacted me with an issue he was facing with regards to a booklet he was working on that was setup as Facing Pages in document setup. His issue was that in his 8-page document, page 1 and page 8 stood alone as single pages, while 2-7 were spreads. Whatever he tried, he couldn’t move page 8 in the Pages panel to the left of page 1 where it would appear when printed. This makes it quite difficult to print mockups, or create crossover images on the front and back cover. While this behavior is “normal” for InDesign (and Quark) and is no problem for commercial printing, some people simply want to see it on screen as it will appear when printed. Thankfully, there’s an easy way to “fix” this issue. With the 8-page document open and set to facing pages, your Pages panel will look like the image to the right. Page 1 stands alone, 2-7 are spreads, and page 8 stands alone. To make a mockup on your own printer, you want page 8 to appear just to the left of page 1 – which will allow you to stick pages 8/1 to the back of pages 2/7 and pages 3/4 to the back of pages 5/6, fold them in half and put them together just as they would appear when printed. Simply moving the pages as is will do nothing but change the page order in your document, but leave page 1 and page 8 as stand alone pages. Not exactly what you’re looking to do. To fix the problem, simply uncheck the Allow Pages to Shuffle item in the Pages panel flyout menu as seen above. With that done, you can now selectively move pages 1 and/or 8 (or whatever the first and last page numbers are in your document) to their rightful place in the Page order to allow you to print them the way you want (see the image at left). The hitch? You’re probably going to have to adjust the auto page numbering options if you have your pages set to auto-number. But this is a simple task and can make life easier when printing proofs. While I explained to the reader why this InDesign feature works the way it does, I completely forgot to tell him how he can get around it. Hopefully he’s still reading here and will find the solution he was looking for. Sorry man, my bad!

Create a new layer BELOW the current one in InDesign

Adobe InDesignMany times when you’re working with multiple-layered documents in Adobe InDesign (you did know there are layers in InDesign, right?) you find yourself creating a layer and immediately moving it beneath the current layer you’re working on. It’s tedious work constantly moving the newly created layer down in the list of the Layers panel. You can easily create a new layer and have it appear BELOW the currently active layer by holding the Command + Option keys down while you click the New Layer button in the Layers panel. This tip works in CS2 and CS3, by the way.

Save time and space with InDesign Workspaces

Adobe InDesignIf you’re the type who likes to have their InDesign panels in a certain spot all the time, or like to have certain panels open for certain types of projects, you simply must take advantage of Workspaces. Workspaces allows you to save your panel locations for use at any time. To save your Workspace, set your panels up the way you like them, then go to Window>Workspace>Save Workspace… Name your workspace when prompted. That’s it. To test it, move your panels around, close some, open some others. Then go back to Window>Workspace and select the Workspace you just named from the list. Your panels should all snap back to where they were when you saved. You can set up multiple Workspaces. I have one for when I’m working on text heavy documents in which I have most of the text-related panels like text wrap, story, character, styles, etc. open. Then I have another one for “all-around use” which have totally different panel locations. If you work on multiple computers, you can bring your Workspace with you, though it’s not quite as easy as it should be. To bring your Workspace with you, navigate in the Finder to: Users/YourUserName/Library/Preferences/Adobe InDesign/Version 5/ Workspaces. If you’re still running CS2, the path is the same except substitute Version 4 for Version 5 in the file path. In that folder you’ll see an XML file named after the Workspaces you’ve saved. Simply burn it to CD or email it to your other computer and place it in the same folder on that computer. Workspaces aren’t exclusive to InDesign. All the Adobe Creative Suite 3 applications have them, and work in much the same way. Photoshop goes a few steps further in that it also allows you to save any custom keyboard shortcuts and menu customizations you’ve made in the Workspace as well.

Good designers copy, great designers steal

Pablo Picasso, the first living artist to be featured in the Louvre, influenced the artistic world in a uniquely original way. So why is he known for saying “Good artists copy, great artists steal?”

The key? Steal from discreet sources.

Cameron Moll, a freelance new media and print designer, wrote an article a few years back on the topic, but I find it still relevant today. Stop by SitePoint and take a look at Good designers copy, great designers steal.

How to use the InDesign gradient feather tool

With InDesign CS3 came yet another useful tool that prevents the need to switch to Photoshop to alter an image you’re using in your page layout. It’s called Gradient Feather, and you can find it under the normal Gradient tool in the InDesign Tools panel. Of course adding transparency to your image directly in Adobe InDesign is nothing new. If you recall, InDesign CS2 offered a simple feather feature to your images, but in a limiting manner in which the feather applied to all sides of the image at once. Not very useful in my opinion. With CS3, we can now select the image in our layout with the direct selection tool, then select the Gradient Feather tool by either clicking and holding the Gradient tool in the Tools panel and selecting the Gradient Feather from the flyout menu, or simply hitting Shift + G. Now all you have to do is click and drag over your image as you would to apply a normal gradient and you’re good to go – see the quick results in the animated gif image to the right.

Use native graphics files when placing into your layout

I can’t stress enough the importance of saving your Photoshop and Illustrator files as native .psd and .ai files, rather than the old standby .tif and .eps. While these older formats will work just fine for most uses, when you place native files you get the advantage of full transparency support and most times, smaller file sizes. Let’s say you have applied a drop shadow to an object in Illustrator. If you save it as an .ai file, the shadow will appropriately darken whatever color or object that is underneath it in your InDesign document. If you save the same Illustrator file as an .eps you get unexpected results – usually a white bounding box behind the shadow either on screen, when printed, or both.

Huge collection of grunge fonts available for download

If you read my article at Macworld about Bulking up your font collection, you’ve hopefully visited some of the great font sites available out there and found a few gems. One of the hardest type of fonts to find to your liking is really good grunge fonts. Many times they’re either overdone and too hard to read, or not “grungy” enough. Enter daFont member named Gyom Séguin (a.k.a. Last Soundtrack). This talented font designer has a collection of grunge fonts like none I’ve come across. Virtually every one of his over 30 grunge fonts is well-crafted and ready to use in your design, including the superb Bleeding Cowboys font seen in the sample above. Check out Gyom’s collection of grunge fonts here.

Design choices can cripple a Web site

AListApart has an old article by Nick Usborne titled Design Choices Can Cripple a Web site. While the article is quite old, it still argues a point that I feel (almost) exactly the opposite about. I believe that the content of a Web site provides the site its worth – the design has to be at least acceptable and pleasant to the eye, but it is not the major reason for me to visit. Nick appears to favor the design of a site over the content (at least, that’s the conclusion I’ve drawn after reading). As designers we tend to focus on the design, the bells & whistles and the functionality of a site. But we must not forget the content. You can’t make a promise with design that you can’t deliver with content.