If you want to set a vertical and horizontal guide along the edges of an object in Adobe InDesign, you normally find yourself dragging a guide out from the horizontal ruler, then another from the vertical ruler. Did you know you can save time by setting both guides at once? Let’s say your want to set guides, as I have in the image above, across the top and down the left side of a placed image. Hold down the Command key and click in the crosshairs icon where the two rulers meet at the top of your document. Drag out the dual guides to the top left of your image while still holding the Command key down, and release when they’re right where you want them. As you can see in the animated image above, the guides both appear right where I dragged them and I’ve saved myself another trip to the rulers!
If you build extremely complex files in Adobe Illustrator, you’re most likely smart enough to build your files carefully using the layers feature. Building your file using layers not only helps you stay organized, but it makes it so much easier to edit your files later. It’s not out of the ordinary for me to have 5 to 10 different layers in an Illustrator file, so this tip comes in very handy. To select all the objects on any layer, simply Option + Click on the layer name (not the layer icon) in the Layers panel.
Adobe Illustrator CS3 offers users a convenient way to edit grouped objects called Isolation Mode. In previous versions, in order to work on an object that was grouped with other objects, you would have to switch to the Direct Selection tool (white arrow), and then contend with trying to see just the path of the object you want to work on mixed among all the other paths. Isolation Mode allows you to double click an object you wish to work on which is grouped with other objects, and edit it as if it were no longer grouped. The advantage is that Illustrator doesn’t actually ungroup the objects, it just isolates them for you. It also offers the added advantage of fading out the other objects in the document to make it easier on the eyes. To exit Isolation Mode, simply right click (Control click) on the page and select Exit Isolated Group.
If your preferences are set to show the ruler units in Inches in Adobe Illustrator and you happen to be working on a Web graphic, you can quickly change them to pixels (or several other measurement units) by right-clicking (Control + Click for one-button mouse users) on the ruler and selecting Pixels from the drop-down menu. I can see the use for Points, but does anyone actually use Picas anymore?
While most people know you can adjust the transparency of layers and brushes in Adobe Photoshop manually by using the sliders in the appropriate tool panels, many don’t know you can do it easily with just the keyboard. To adjust the transparency of a layer using the keyboard, simply click the layer you wish to adjust and type the percentage of transparency you wish to use. If you want the layer to be 54% transparent, just type 54. The same tip works for adjusting the flow (transparency) of brushes. Just select the brush tool (hit the “b” key) and type a number. If you want the brush to have a flow of 35%, just type 35. I love this tip for making small adjustments, rather than using the picky sliders which always seem to be a pain to make accurate adjustments easily.
As with any program, the speed with which you use OSX’s Finder can increase your productivity quite a bit, and we can all use a few extra minutes a day can’t we? With that in mind, here’s a few helpful Finder keyboard shortcuts to help you save the extra few minutes. Finder Views:
- Command 1 = Switch window to icon view
- Command 2 = Switch window to list view
- Command 3 = Switch window to column view
- Command 4 = Switch window to coverflow view
- Command Y = Toggle Quick Look on and off
- Command Option Y = Toggle Slideshow mode
- Command Shift i = Open iDisk
- Comand Shift k = Open Network
- Command Shift a = Open Application folder
- Command Shift d = Open Desktop folder
When you have a lot of text selected which you have kerned and/or tracked out and you simply want to reset all of it to zero, you can either go to the tracking and kerning input boxes in the Control Bar and do it manually, or you can do it the easy way. With all your text selected, simply hit Command (Apple) + Option + Q. All your kerning will return to normal. Don’t you just love keyboard shortcuts! This works in Adobe CS2 and CS3.
Many 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.
When troubleshooting, performing maintenance, or otherwise starting up your Mac OSX computer in an abnormal fashion, there are a few keyboard shortcuts that you may or may not know about that can help you. Below is a list of them with an explanation of what they do:
- X = Force Mac OS X startup
- Option = Brings up a screen with startup volume choices (slow process, may take a while)
- Option+Command+Shift+Delete = Bypass primary startup volume and seek a different startup volume (such as a CD or external disk)
- C = Start up from a CD that has a system folder
- N = Attempt to start up from a compatible network server (NetBoot)
- T = Start up in FireWire Target Disk mode (very handy for plugging your Mac into another as an external hard drive)
- Shift = start up in Safe Boot mode and temporarily disable login items and non-essential kernel extension files (Mac OS X 10.2 and later)
- Command+V = Start up in Verbose mode.
- Command+S = Start up in Single-User mode
- Command+Option+p+r = Zap PRAM. Hold down until second chime.
- Command+Option+n+v = Clear NV RAM. Similar to reset-all in Open Firmware.
- Command+Option+o+f = Boot into open firmware
- Hold mouse button down = Force eject a CD/DVD
There’s a quick way to center objects on your page without using the ruler and guides. First you need to select all the objects you want to center. Once you have them selected, Cut them (Command + X). Once you have them Cut to the clipboard, set your view to Fit in Window (Command + 0). And finally, Paste your objects (Command + V). All the objects should be centered on the page. One thing that will make this work as accurately as possible is to make sure that any frames which contain images or text are “trimmed” so that the boxes don’t have excess space to either side.