Tagged: InDesign

Add noise with InDesign CS2’s drop shadow feature

If you’ve upgraded to InDesign CS2, and you use drop shadows, you have have noticed a new feature in the drop shadow dialog box. It’s called Noise. To understand how valuable this addition is, take a look at a piece you’ve done with drop shadows on a white background, or a solid color background. Notice any banding? Does the shadow not “blend” with the background? Does it ever look like the drop shadow is simply another colored object? Enter Noise. What adding Noise does to your drop shadow is it breaks up the drop shadow color into random dots, rather than a smooth gradient of color. Between using Multiply and adding Noise, your drop shadows should look much more natural, and blend much better with background colors.

InDesign drop shadow

Getting better drop shadows in InDesign

In the screenshot above, I have purposely exaggerated the Noise amount to illustrate the results. Notice the randomness of the color dots, once printed they will actually appear smoother and more natural if you use the right amount. I recommend that you use nothing darker than 20-25% black on a white background for a nice natural soft shadow, but adding noise will allow you to go a bit darker if you wish. Experiment with the settings, I’m sure you will be quite happy with the results.

Add round corner effects to any path in InDesign

Did you know the Corner Effects feature in Adobe InDesign works on ANY corner, not just rectangular shapes? You can get a rounded corner effect on a path shaped like an L – without having to hand draw it with the Bezier Curve tool to edit it for the effect.

Quick & dirty duotones in InDesign

If you’ve created the “quick & dirty” duotones in Quark XPress by placing a grayscale image and coloring it in QX, then this InDesign tip is for you. You can do the same thing in Adobe InDesign by selecting the picture frame with the Selection tool (solid arrow tool) containing your grayscale image (warning: this tip will convert your spot color image to CMYK) and choosing a color to fill the box with from the Swatches palette. Then, click on the image again with the Direct Select tool (the hollow arrow tool) and choose Darken in the mode drop down menu in the Transparency palette.

Changing fonts & sizes with arrow keys in InDesign

Did you know you can change fonts, font sizes, leading and more in Adobe InDesign using the arrow keys? Simply click in the field you want and use the arrow keys to increase measurements, select the next or previous font, etc.. Perfect for making small adjustments.

Sizing a frame to fit content in InDesign

icon_idWhen you have content placed in a frame in Adobe InDesign, you can press Command + Option + C to resize the frame to the size of its contents – text or graphics. You can also hit Command + Option + E to stretch a graphic to fill a frame. If you want to keep the graphic scale proportional, add the Shift key. Once your graphics are placed in a content frame and sized to your liking, you can center the graphic in the frame by pressing Command + Shift + E. These commands may seem obvious, because they’re in the menus and in the manual, but I’ve found that many designers and production artists are so used to Quark’s key commands that they forget to learn new ones.

Automatic right-aligned tabs in InDesign

icon_idWhen you’re in Adobe InDesign and you have a text block that you have carefully set right-aligned tabs for using the tab bar, you’re somewhat stuck with the tab setting if you need to resize the frame. The tab setting stays where it is regardless of any width adjustments you make to the text frame. You can make it much easier on yourself simply by hitting Shift + Tab. This will automatically put the text after the tab to the far right point of the text frame regardless of the width of the text frame. This of course makes it much easier on you if you need to make that frame a bit thinner or wider.

Moving InDesign items to the front or back

icon_idWhen using Adobe InDesign, you can send any item to the back of a layer by pressing Command + Shift + [. To bring the item to the front, use the ] key instead. Take the Shift key out and you’ll move the item up and down in the layer order one at a time.

InDesign font selection shortcut

Getting control of the Font menu can be a daunting task if you have a lot of fonts activated. Adobe has made their apps somewhat easy in that they group fonts by family, but it can still be a long list to scroll through. When you’re working in Adobe InDesign, you can click in the font field in either the Character palette or Control bar and type a letter of the font you’re looking for, which will automatically select the first font using that letter. So if you type the letter “T” you will most likely end up at a font named Tahoma. Once you have the first font by that letter in the menu, you can click the font popup menu and select the actual font you want. Another way is to simply start typing the font you are looking for and InDesign will select the font as you type.

Selecting burried objects in Adobe InDesign

To select objects hidden behind other objects or simply below a larger object, Command + Click until the object you want is selected. Each click selects the object below the previous top object. When you reach the object you want, you can move the object by dragging it while the mouse button is still held down, or drag it from the object’s center point. This is a handy tip, but I’ve found it easier, and more beneficial to make heavy use of Layers. I put text on one layer, borders on another, photos on yet another… it makes it MUCH easier to change things later if I need to.