Adobe has an agreement with Adobe Press and Peachpit Press that allows me to request excerpts from books to be published on the web. Once these excerpts are made available, I link to them from the related Help topics. If you can’t find the information you need in the Help topic, you may be able to answer your question in these books.
In September 2009, several excerpts from the great InDesign CS4 Real World book were made available.
Here’s an updated list:
I updated a number of topics based on feedback, and uploaded the new version of InDesign Help. I also added three new topics, which I need to link to so that they show up in search results.
Fixing low-resolution images – This topic addresses several reasons that images can appear pixelated or fuzzy when placed in InDesign. These various issues are addressed in several different topics, but I wanted to gather them into a single topic.
Apply colors to grayscale images – Again, several topics allude to applying colors to imported grayscale or bitmap images, but it’s a common task that should be addressed in its own topic.
Troubleshooting booklet printing – This issue addresses the most common problems people have when they’re using Print Booklet. If you’re aware of any other issues, leave a comment.
More new topics added to InDesign Help.
Create calendars and business cards from templates – “Calendar” is a popular search term, so I wanted to add a Help topic that points users to the community sites where they can find templates for creating calendars, business cards, resumes, flyers, and other specialized documents. Please leave a comment in that topic if you’re aware of good InDesign template sites.
Determine the word count – I had documented how to determine word counts and character counts, but searches for “word counts” haven’t been bringing up the right Help topics. So I added this little topic to make it more explicit and improve the search experience.
Editing hyperlinks imported from Word – Several people have asked questions in the user forum about how to avoid getting the white boxes around hyperlinks in imported documents. I wrote this topic to address that issue.
Page transitions – This isn’t actually a new topic. In fact, I removed a topic that explained the two methods for adding page transitions. In usability testing, the additional information confused users. I simplified the topic by removing the steps on using the Page Transitions dialog box. It’s just as well, since that dialog box is redundant with the Page Transitions panel.
Dynamic web documents for Flash – To unclutter the Help topic on exporting interactive documents to Flash, I broke the old topic out into three new topics: Create interactive SWF (Flash) files for the web, Create interactive XFL (Flash) for the web, and Flash export issues. I also edited a topic called Exporting content to the web to provide links and a better overview of different ways to export InDesign content to the web.
Create arrows using start and end shapes – This topic hasn’t been coming up when people search for “arrows” or “arrowheads.” Let’s hope it does now so people can see how easy it is to create arrows in InDesign.
Create button hot spots – I converted a couple of blog entries into Help topics: Display a hidden image on rollover and Display a different button on rollover. I also changed the title of the Add button states for rollover effects topic.
Unable to select objects – Troubleshooting topic.
Finally, in the Insert straight quotation marks topic, I provided a tip on adding prime and double-prime glyphs.
Got all that, Google?
Whenever I create new Help topics, I need to link to them from an external source like this blog to get search engines to recognize them.
Add basic page numbering – When different search terms such as “page numbers” and “page numbering” are combined, this subject is the number one search in InDesign. Based on feedback I’ve been receiving, it appears that some novice users are having a difficult time finding the information they need. The problem is that information on page numbers is intertwined with more advanced pagination tasks. So I created a “basic” topic for novice users and added links to more advanced topics. I think this is a better approach. Now I just need to make this new topic popular enough to appear near the top of search results. (Hey, if you have a blog, please find an excuse to link to this topic.)
Removing white box effect in documents with transparency – In this case, I needed to break the record for the longest Help topic title. Also, this issue has been reported in forums, and it makes sense for it to appear more explicitly in Help. David Blatner wrote about eliminating the white box effect on the InDesign Secrets site.
Adding SWF files in InDesign – QuickTime is required to play videos in PDF documents exported from InDesign CS4. Unfortunately, QuickTime doesn’t play SWF files as well as it used to. This new Help topic briefly covers problems associated with adding SWF files to InDesign documents, and recommends adding the SWF files in Acrobat 9, which uses Adobe’s built-in Flash Player to play SWF files.
These Help topics should appear higher than related Help topics in search results: Preflight panel overview, Adding transparency effects, Tabs and indents, Add basic page numbering (it can’t hurt to link to it twice, right?), Hyphenate text, Check spelling, Change document setup, margins, and columns, Gradients, Layers, and Create masters.
Legacy Adobe and Macromedia forums have been integrated onto a single platform at http://forums.adobe.com.
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* Improved moderation capabilities (hosts can delete inappropriate content)
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Click this link to get a list of video tutorials for InDesign, Photoshop, Illustrator, Acrobat, Flash, Dreamweaver, Bridge, and all the other products that appear in the Design, Web, and Production Studio versions of the Creative Suite.
Before you click the link, here’s a tip. The best way to view the videos for each product is to click the “Episode List” next to the product. If you click the “Learn” link, such as “Learn InDesign CS4,” you end up going to a different index in AdobeTV. AdobeTV is great for viewing videos, but it’s still a work-in-progress in terms of navigation and searching. (How’s that for diplomacy?) OK, now we’re ready to click the link:
Adobe Creative Suite 4 Video Tutorials
Speaking of videos, I recently became aware of a cool site called Creative Mentor by Neil Oliver. It combines articles with accompanying videos that cover a wide range of InDesign topics. Neil left several comments in InDesign Help topics such as Import swatches, Preflight panel overview, and Setting preferences in which he linked to a related article on his site. I checked out his site and added it to the Google Custom Search Engine so that his articles appear when you include community sites in InDesign Help searches.
Reminder - If you’re aware of a good InDesign site or article that you or someone else has created, please leave a comment in a related Help topic. It promotes the best sites, and it helps other people get their questions answered. Oh, and that goes for appropriate forum threads and articles in popular sites like InDesign Secrets that every InDesign user should check in on regularly. Add links through commenting in Help.
Adobe and its partners provide a basic set of video tutorials on the Adobe website, in addition to excellent tutorials provided by other members of the community. Many sections of InDesign Help refer to additional video tutorials in context to provide information about specific features. If you know of an excellent video tutorial or other resource about InDesign, please leave a comment at the bottom of the relevant page of InDesign Help on the Web to tell others about it.
Here’s another housecleaning entry that helps Google recognize a few new topics in Help.
Creating PDF forms - This topic includes the bare steps for designing forms in InDesign that can be converted into electronic PDF forms in Acrobat. In a few weeks, after Gabriel Powell finishes his video on this subject, I’ll have more to say about this subject.
Running sample scripts – This new topic provides a brief description of all the sample scripts that ship with InDesign CS4. Some of these scripts may help you in your everyday tasks.
I also noticed that the Check spelling topic needs to be promoted in search results. It’s a better starting point than that other topic, which I won’t mention because Google is watching.
I edited the Create contact sheets topic to clarify the fact that you need to release the buttons before using the arrow keys to change the number of rows and columns. But I forgot to mention that you can press Shift with the arrow keys to change the space between the images being placed. That little nugget will have to wait until Help is updated again in a couple of weeks.
Finally, I added tips to and clarified several topics based on comments I received. Again, if you have a suggestion for improving a Help topic, please leave a comment.
I added a couple of new topics to InDesign Help.
What to do if InDesign freezes
Common InDesign error messages
At Adobe, I’m responsible for documenting features in various products. Other people at Adobe write tech notes for error messages and installation problems. However, I’ve noticed that several people search Help to find installation and error message solutions.
So I thought I might help those people by directing them to the appropriate tech note that addresses the issue.
If you’re aware of an error message that’s not in that topic and should be, please leave a comment either here or in the error messages topic. I’ll add the error message to the list and link to the relevant tech note. And if no tech note exists for the error, I’ll contact Matt to see if he can create one.
I just recently learned about a great InDesign website over at jetsetcom.net. Check out this page in particular. It includes free downloadable PDFs that act as quick resource guides for keyboard shortcuts, hidden characters, preferences and presets, GREP metacharacters, and more.
Here’s how I found out about this resource. One of the site’s owners, Michael Witherell, added comments in various Help topics. Each comment includes a link to one of the related PDFs. For example, he added links to the Keyboard shortcuts topic, to the Working with markers topic, to the Metacharacters for searching topic, and to a few more.
These comments work to everyone’s advantage. If people can’t find the information they’re looking for in Help, they may find what they’re looking for in these comments. And Michael can get more people looking at his website. Quid pro quo, Doctor Lecter.
When I saw what great information was on this website, I added it to the custom search engine so that his web site will appear in the community search results.
We would love for you to use comments to show off, advertise your content, and promote yourself by sharing useful answers, links, and content with InDesign users. If you wrote a tutorial about InDesign, point to it. If you watched someone else’s video tutorial about InDesign and thought that it was good, point to it. If you think you can explain something better than we/I did, then add a comment.