Tagged: InDesign

Print separations from InDesign CS5 and Snow Leopard

InDesign CS5A 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.

Learn how to print PDF color seps from InDesign here.

Access InDesign’s Text Wrap panel with this shortcut

InDesign Text Wrap shortcutEven 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.

Get a sneak peek of your InDesign documents with document previews

Adobe InDesign has the capability to create a preview of documents viewable in the Open and Place dialog boxes. You can also view previews of your file in Bridge much the same as you would a PDF or image file.

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.

InDesign document previews

Document previews allows you a quick peek of your file in Open & Place dialogs

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.

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 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.

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.

Selecting cells with the keyboard in your InDesign table

Selecting InDesign Table Cells

Selecting individual InDesign Table cells, and the content in them, is easy with the keyboard

If you use Tables in your InDesign document, selecting individual cells with the mouse can make your fingers sore. Instead, use the Tab and/or Arrow keys to move between them. Maybe you already knew that. But did you know that you can click the cell you wish to work with and hit the ESC key to select the entire cell (perhaps to fill the cell with a color) and hit ESC a second time to select the content inside the cell (to change the font, for example).