Category: Adobe Apps

InDesign, Photoshop, Illustrator

How to make pretty number lists in Adobe InDesign

This is something I see people asking all the time. How do I make the numbers in a number list line-up with the period after the number instead of being left justified.

It’s a simple paragraph style. As you can see in the image above, it’s just a matter of a few simple adjustments. Just go to your Paragraph Style Options and click on the Bullets and Numbering tab in the left column. At the bottom, adjust the Bullet or Number Options to your liking.

Using InDesign Styles to easily add a padded keyline to your images

If you’ve been in the design business long enough, you probably remember a time when adding a padded keyline around images in magazines, newspapers and booklets was all the rage. Well, it was rage-inducing for designers, because it required you to place your image in one box, then draw another box around it for the “padding” and apply the stroke to that box. Ugh!!

Getting all the images to have the exact same amount of padding was a pain, and so was having to resize two boxes every time you cropped or resized a photo.

Thankfully InDesign offers a simple solution to this old problem in the form of a Stroke Style and it’s really simple to set up.

InDesign's custom Stroke Style

How to create a custom stroke

  1. Place your image and crop it to your liking.
  2. Open the Stroke panel and go to the flyout menu in the upper right of the panel.
  3. Click New
  4. In the New Stroke Style dialog box, give your new stroke a name (padded image keyline, or something like that).
  5. Select Stripe from the Type drop-down menu
  6. Move the bottom black bar all the way to the bottom so it disappears and there are no numbers listed below it in the Start % and Width % boxes. This is what creates the “padding.”
  7. Click the thin black line at the top and set the Start to 0% and the Width to 10%.
  8. Click OK.
  9. Now, with your image selected, set the Stroke width in the Stroke panel to 10pt.

This should end up giving you about a ⅛ inch padding around your image, with about a 1pt keyline.

The reason you’re setting the stroke width to 10pt is that your custom stroke is applied as a percentage, not a set amount. In my case, 10% custom stroke on an object with a 10pt stroke gives me the .125 inch padding with about a 1pt keyline.

The numbers aren’t exact, but visually it’s exactly what I was looking for. 

Benefits of custom Stroke Styles

You can play around with the Width % of the custom stroke, as well as the stroke width you apply to the photo to get different amounts of padding and stroke width. Or you can actually do the math to get precise results… but I became a designer to avoid doing math, so I prefer to just go with what looks right.

WYSIWYG forms from InDesign to Acrobat

Form Magic for InDesign
If you find yourself exporting fillable-forms from InDesign to PDF often, you no doubt have felt the frustration of all your work being dumbed-down or flat-out not looking right when you open the file in Acrobat. It’s really frustrating.

If you don’t know what I’m talking about, then you can safely ignore this post. If you DO feel the pain, it’s probably because you create a LOT of forms. If that’s true, then you need to check out Form Magic, by IDExtras. This nifty plugin for Adobe InDesign makes the forms you create in Adobe InDesign actually appear the same way in Acrobat after you export to Interactive PDF (see sample image).

As I said, you have to create a lot of forms for this plugin to be useful—because while there is a free version of the plugin, it’s limited to 10 form fields on a single page. The full version with no limits is a $14.95 per month subscription. While that’s an outrageous price for users who only create one or two forms per month, it’s a bargain for those who create multi-page forms multiple times per day.

Building calendars the easy way with this script for Adobe InDesign

InDesign Calendar Wizard

Calendars are a pain in the behind to build—especially ones that are easily editable. Building a calendar in Adobe InDesign gives you maximum flexibility for editing and use. But getting to that point is the difficult part.

Calendar Wizard is an InDesign script I’ve been using for years, and despite the aging appearance of the website it still works with the latest version of InDesign CC2018.

The free Calendar Wizard script offers a ton of options and flexibility. I highly recommend you take a look at the User Guide on the website. If you need to build calendars even once per year, the Calendar Wizard script is invaluable.

The FASTEST way to cut out hair in Photoshop

I’ve used a lot of methods over the years for clipping out (Masking) people with wild, frilly hair and difficult subjects from a background in a photo. I’ve seen countless videos purporting to make your life easy by showing you a new method. NONE have been as easy as this one! I’ve been using this method for quite a while now, and I can tell you that in my experience it is the easiest way I’ve come across that yields good results.

Adobe InDesign alternative from Affinity is almost here [video clip]

I can’t wait for this bad boy to hit the digital streets! I love Adobe InDesign, but I would also very much love to not pay $50 per month, and Affinity’s Designer is a more than adequate replacement for Illustrator, and Affinity Photo can do about 75% of what I need from a Photoshop alternative… so the only thing lacking is a substitute for InDesign.

Open multi-page PDFs in Adobe Illustrator

MultiPage PFD
Not a whole lot needs to be said about this. Download the free script for Adobe Illustrator to allow you to open multi-page PDFs – each page being placed on its own artboard.

Download the script here.

I haven’t used the script, but I’m told it works on Adobe Illustrator CS4 and up. It’s features like this that Adobe should be adding to Illustrator natively.