Archive for January, 2009

Top 7 Favorite Minor New Features in InDesign CS4

When I have to go back and work in InDesign CS3 for testing purposes, I miss the big new CS4 features like cross-references, Flash export, and Live Preflight. But I may miss these little features even more.

1. Dragging to place an image

When I place a file, I no longer need to click and then rescale the large frame that often extends beyond the view. Instead, I can drag the place gun (ahem — loaded graphics cursor), and the frame and image are scaled automatically.

2. Smart guides

Perhaps this should be considered a major new feature. Regardless, I love the hints that appear when I’m creating, moving, and transforming objects. Why, yes, I would like the rectangle to the same size as that other rectangle — thank you for asking!


While I have never wanted to turn off smart guides, I realize that some people want to. You can turn off the Smart Guide options in the Guides & Pasteboard section of the Preferences dialog box. And if you don’t want tooltip-like feedback to appear when you’re scaling or resizing, turn off Show Transformation Values in the Interface section of Preferences. Help topic for smart guides is here.

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Creating Button Hot Spots (CS4), Part II

In Part I, I described how to create a simple hot spot, or hot link, in which holding the mouse pointer over an area displays a pop-up image. Now I’ll describe how to create a clickable hot spot — one that requires the user to click an area to display an image.

The steps for doing this are different in InDesign CS3 and CS4. Keith Gilbert described how to build PDF tooltips (PDF) in InDesign CS3.

Creating a Clickable Hot Spot (CS4)

We’re going to use the Show/Hide Button action to display the hidden button when we click. (If you’re familar with creating buttons in Acrobat, “Show/Hide Button” in InDesign is the same as “Show/Hide a Field” in Acrobat.) To create a hot spot that appears when you click, we’ll need to create two separate buttons — one to define the hot spot area and the other to appear when the hot spot area is clicked.

1. Use the Rectangle tool to drag a box over the area you want to define as the hot spot.

In my example, I created a box over the Paris area on the stunningly beautiful map of France.

2. Turn the rectangle object into a button. To do this, select the object, and then either click the [Normal] state in the Buttons panel, or choose Object > Interactive > Convert to Button.


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Creating Button Hot Spots (CS4), Part I

Here’s another “Bonus Documentation” entry in which I flesh out a task that falls outside the scope of our documentation. When I wrote about creating buttons in InDesign, I included a topic called “Creating button rollover states” that merely hints at one way of creating a hot spot. After I write this blog entry, I’ll link to it from that Help page.

TIP: If you create blog entries or videos for InDesign, or are aware of useful links, please add a comment with a link to the related Help topic. It’s a good way to highlight valuable community content.

Let’s suppose you have a map of France, and you want the Eiffel Tower to appear when (1) the user hovers the mouse pointer over the Paris area or (2) the user clicks in the Paris area.

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Kuler Is Now Even Cooler

For those of you who aren’t aware of Kuler, go into InDesign, choose Window > Extensions > Kuler, and start playing around. Kuler is a set of colors and themes designed by an online community. You can view videos here and here, and you can read about Kuler in an InDesign Help topic.

For those of you who’ve already played around with Kuler, you may want to check out the new Community Pulse feature. Community Pulse is a data visualization that displays colors of downloaded Kuler themes on a color wheel. Users can explore the relative popularity of colors by different countries, time periods, and tags.


This screenshot shows the popularity of colors downloaded in the USA (l) and Brazil (r) in Spring 2008. The larger circles and bars indicate more popular colors (i.e., themes with those colors were downloaded more often).

There is a lot of data packed into the feature. To get started:
– Sign in with your Adobe ID to change the menu options
– Mouse over the histogram to see colors by hue on the color wheel
– Try the granularity slider to see more or less color detail
– Select the comparison icon (two circles) to compare/contrast views

You can read more about Community Pulse here.