One of the many things designers dread about working with paragraphs of justified type is what we call rivers (gaps inbetween words or letters so large that when it appears on every line in a paragraph it looks like a river going down through your paragraph). Of course you can kern your way through this mess, line by line – and if you use Quark XPress, that’s all you can do. That’s because Quark implements what is called a single-line composer method. This means that Quark looks at one line at a time in a paragraph and decides how to best break the line and adjust the word spacing. Unfortunately, this simply is of little use because if you have to go back and add a word or two, you end up having to re-kern the entire paragraph again. One of the many beauties of Adobe InDesign is the multi-line composer and optical margin alignment features. The multi-line composer feature in Adobe InDesign looks at an entire paragraph of justified text, rather than one line at a time, and decides how to best break each line. For instance, if you add a word or two in the middle of the last sentance of a paragraph, Quark would only kern that last sentance or line, while InDesign looks at the entire paragraph and may even make new line breaks in the first few lines of the paragraph if necessary – which gives you a wonderful, relatively river-free paragraph of text. Then when you turn on Optical Margin Alignment in the Story palette, you are treated to automatic letter and punctuation hanging. This means that letters and punctuation which fall at the first or last character one each line are adjusted so that they hang outside of the text box. In the example below, you can see where the punctuation and the “r” hang over the text box just a little bit, visually making the text look truly “blocked” or justified. Notice also that there are no “rivers” in the paragraphs. Now lets look at Quark’s composition. I took the same exact paragraph, same font & type size and the same text box width and placed it in Quark, and the results are quite different. In the graphic below, you not only see that punctuation and letters aren’t hanging (which gives the first line of each paragraph a sudo-indent appearance that looks like hell), but the line breaks aren’t that great and the kerning is horrid, creating “rivers” all over the place. While margin alignment and multi-line composing won’t do much for you when working with headlines and single lines of text in ads, it can make all the difference in the world when working with newsletters, magazine editorial, brochures and ads that do contain a paragraph of text or two. To turn on Optical Margin Alignment for every InDesign document you create, close all files and open the Story Palette found under the Type menu and click the Optical Margin Alignment check box. Clicking the check box with a document open will only turn it on for that document.
You may know that Quark has a “Library” palette that allows you to store objects for future use. But did you know that InDesign has one as well? To use it, go to File>New>Library. Then, place an image or text block on the page and keep it selected. Then click the New Library Item button in the Library palette (it looks like a page icon at the bottom). You can click the “i” icon to add descriptive information to each image as well. Once you store an object in the Library palette – the object is always available in every document. Better yet, the object retains its scaling attributes and its place on the page – perfect for newletter mastheads, etc. Then whenever you need one of the objects in the Library, you simply choose Place Items from the palette flyout menu. This may seem like a frivolous feature, given that you could just cut and paste in place from other files if you happen to have them open. But think about all the time you spend navigating in the Place dialog box just getting to the folder that contains the artwork… the time savings adds up quickly by using the Library.
In Adobe InDesign, you can center a graphic in a graphic frame by hitting Command + Shift + E, and if you want that graphic to fill the graphic frame, the key command is Command + Shift + Option + E which will proportionately fill the frame. Using the two commands together can speed your production time greatly.
If you’re working in Adobe InDesign on your iBook or any other keyboard that doesn’t have a forward delete button, you can get the same function (deleting the character AFTER the cursor) by holding the Shift key down and hitting the normal Delete button.
To Lock an item in Adobe InDesign means to lock it in place, unlike Quark XPress where locking an item won’t even let you edit the item. To completely lock an object in ID, you must place the item on a layer and lock the layer – only then is the item truly “locked.” However, should you want the ability to continue to edit the item but not move it, you can use the Command + L key shortcut to lock the item and Command + Option + L to unlock it.
When you want a set group of colors to be available to you every time you create a new Adobe InDesign document, simply close all open ID documents, then create any colors you want to be “always available” in the Color palette. Now, whenever you create a new document, those colors will be available. It should be noted that this tip works exactly the same in Quark XPress.
Did you know that you can drag any file ID can place normally right from an application, or the Finder? If you have a folder full of images and text, select them all and drag them to an open ID window. Wherever your mouse is when you let go, that’s where ID will start displaying the images/text (it will cascade them down the page). As you are dragging the files from the finder, you should notice a ghosted icon for each file over the ID window as you drag it around. You can also open a MS Word file with tables in it, select it all and drag it to an open ID window – which will keep the Word Table intact & editable. (QUITE HANDY!). This tip is a great time-saver if you have a lot of images to place all contained in one folder. Once they’re in ID, you can size them and move them around normally.
If you’re the type that places all your images and text onto the pasteboard before you start your design/layout work in Adobe InDesign, then this tip is for you.
You can expand the pasteboard space by hitting Command + K to open the Preferences dialog and select the Guides Panel. Simply change the Minimum Vertical Offset amount to the size you want your pasteboard to be and click OK. Now you have all the room you need!
Did you know that Guides in Adobe InDesign will snap to the edge of an object when you have that object selected? Pull a guide out of the rulers to the edge of a selected object and watch it snap.
One of the first features you may not have noticed because it’s “hidden right in front of you” is the Jump feature. In Quark XPress, you would hit Command + J and a dialog box would come up asking you what page you wanted to jump to, then you hit the OK button. At first glance, this feature doesn’t appear to be in Adobe InDesign, you hit Command + J and no box opens. Well, that’s partially true. The feature is there, Adobe just doesn’t bother you to present a dialog box and force you to click an OK button. When you hit Command + J in ID you’ll notice the page number is highlighted in the page number box in the lower left of your document window. Simply hit the page number you want and press enter – this includes Master Pages (if you hit “A” you’ll be taken to the first Master Page, etc.)