InDesign CS5 New & Revised Features

It’s now official. There will be a new version of InDesign. Following on the heels of InDesign CS, CS2, CS3, and CS4, the new version is called – to the surprise of few – “InDesign CS5.” Even though the new version of InDesign won’t be available until the end of April, you can see what’s new on the InDesign product page and in the What’s new Help topic.

That’s right. A version of InDesign CS5 Help is already posted on the web. Here’s the link to the main page of InDesign CS5 Help. And here’s a link to InCopy CS5 Help as well as the new InCopy CS5 features.

Here are the big new features of InDesign CS5:

Paragraphs that span or split columns

Improved selection techniques

Gap tool

Live corners

Different page sizes in one document

Animation for interactive documents

Enhanced Layers panel

Live captions

Improved Flash export

Tracking text changes

CS Review

Mini Bridge

That should be enough information to get you started. Over the next few weeks, I’ll have a lot more to say about InDesign CS5. By the way, if you come across any good videos or articles on InDesign CS5, please drop a note, either in the commenting section of a Help topic or here on this blog.

UPDATE: David Blatner wrote an excellent roundup of new InDesign CS5 features.

Aligning Punctuation in Numbered Lists

“How do I align the periods in a numbered lists?” I’ve seen a variation of this question asked repeatedly in user forums. Here’s an example of one such forum thread.

If you’re wondering how to align the periods in a numbered list. It’s your lucky day. Here’s a video tutorial that explains the tricky workaround.

If you don’t have time for the video, click below to see pictures.

Continue reading…

Using Images in Bulleted Lists

Recently, several people have asked how to replace standard bullets with images in a bulleted list.

Changing the Bullet Character

Use the Bullets & Numbering dialog box to specify a different bullet character. If you can find a picture symbol that’s part of a font, you can use that symbol in your list. Here’s a symbol from the Zapf Dingbats font.


For details on changing the bullet character, see the Change bullet characters Help topic.

Replacing the Bullets with Images

It would be nice if we could specify images using the Bullets & Numbering dialog box, but we can’t. If you absolutely need to use images for bullets that aren’t part of a font, here’s the workaround solution.

Step 1 – Add a replacement bullet character

We’ll be using the Find/Change dialog box to replace the bullet character, so let’s pick a bullet character that doesn’t appear anywhere else in the document to be safe.


Step 2 – Convert the bulleted list to text

Before you do this step, make sure you’re done editing your list. If you need to add items to your list, you may end up doing extra work. Choose Type > Bulleted & Numbered Lists > Convert Bullets to Text.

Step 3 – Resize and copy the image to be used as a bullet

In my example, I scaled down a picture of a belt buckle until it was small enough to replace the bullet, and then I copied it.

Step 4 – Find and replace the bullet character with the pasteboard image

A neat little trick in the Find/Change dialog box is the ability to change the found text to whatever is copied to the Clipboard. Insert the dummy bullet character in the Find What field. Then click the @ icon to the right of the Change To field and choose Other > Clipboard Contents, Formatted. A ^c appears in the Change To field. Then find and change the bullets.


It’s not the most elegant solution, but it gets the job done.


New eBooks resource for InDesign

The new eBooks Authoring page on provide detailed how-to guides and video tutorials on creating eBooks with InDesign.

InDesign is an excellent way to author eBooks compatible with a variety of devices — from PCs and smartphones to dedicated eReading devices like the Amazon Kindle, Barnes & Noble nook, and Sony Reader. Take a look at these how-to guides and video tutorials to learn how to create eBooks in InDesign and output them for viewing across screen types. Again, here’s the eBook authoring link.

In addition, InDesign Magazine made available part 1 of Gabriel Powell’s excellent article on using InDesign to create eBooks. Continue reading…

December 2009 InDesign Links

I decided to take a small break from writing about the cool new InDesign features to link to a few resources I like.

Blatner Tools for Adobe InDesign – David offers a collection of 12 InDesign plug-ins that adds over 100 new features to InDesign CS3 and CS4.

Holiday Papercraft – Mike Rankin teaches you how to use InDesign to create a holiday ornament for a Christmas tree.


Script for Balancing Ragged Lines – Keith Gilbert’s script gives you more control over which line should be longer.

Setting tabs videos – In the Set tabs help topic, someone left a comment complaining about how difficult it is to set tabs. So I asked Neil Oliver to make a video on creating tabs, and went above and beyond the call of duty, creating a series of videos on creating tabs. Thanks again, Neil!

Creating an eBook with InDesign Part I and Part II – Gabriel Powell walks you through the steps of creating an eBook (also called EPUB) document in InDesign. Gabriel also provides a more in-depth study in the Oct/Nov issue of InDesign Magazine, a truly excellent resource. Oh, and he tells how to use the Oxygen XML editor to edit EPUB files.

OpenType Fractions Guide (PDF) – Anne-Marie Concepción shows what happens when you apply the OpenType: Fractions feature to different kinds of fractions set in each of the 30+ OpenType fonts that are bundled with the Creative Suite. Oldie but goodie.

Designing Forms for InDesign – Michael Murphy takes a look at adding form elements to an InDesign layout to create Acrobat-friendly checkboxes, radio buttons and comb fields, all of which can be achieved with a little help from anchored objects, GREP find/change and tables.

(You can find other resources for creating forms in the Create PDF forms Help topic.)

Using Text Wrap within a Table – James Fritz explains how to get text to wrap around a picture in a table cell.

Super Strokes in InDesign – Jeff Witchel’s video from Layers Magazine teaches you how to use the Stroke panel to create special effects.

Remove Unwanted Spaces in InDesign – Barb Binder has done a good job of promoting her training courses by writing thoughtful articles on various InDesign topics and linking to them in Help. Here’s an example.

InDesign and Windows 7

It looks like both InDesign CS3 and InDesign CS4 are compatible with Windows 7. Here’s a press release I received this morning:

Adobe today confirmed that Creative Suite 4 and future versions of Creative Suite will run on Windows 7. Adobe has tested its Creative Suite 4 family of products and components on Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate edition and found the performance held up to the company’s high standards of quality and performance. Creative Suite 3 has also been tested and will support Windows 7 without any updates. Older versions of the software may run on Windows 7, but they have not been tested for compatibility.

Please visit for more details.

Bullets & Numbering Gallery

This is another addition to the Feature Galleries series. I’ve provided as many types of bulleted lists and numbered lists as I can think of.

Simple bulleted and numbered lists


When you need to create a simple list of bulleted or numbered paragraphs, just select the paragraphs and click the Bulleted List or Numbered List button on the Control panel. Alt/Option-click the button to bring up a dialog box that lets you format the list. See the Create bulleted or numbered lists and Format a bulleted or numbered list Help topics.

You may also want to check out the Bullets and Numbering in InDesign CS3 section of the Real World InDesign CS3. (Bullets and numbering hasn’t changed since CS3.)

Mixing numbered lists with other paragraphs and lists


Whenever you need the numbered list to be broken up or intermingled with other paragraphs or list items, define a list style that’s part of a paragraph style. For example, in a technical manual, you might want a numbered list for headings that continues across multiple text frames, and you might want to use running captions for images and tables. Define a separate list for each type of numbering.

See the Defining lists Help topic.

Continue reading…

Fixing Inconsistent Formatting in Numbered Lists

I don’t intend to be very active on this blog for the next few months for double top secret reasons that may or may not have to do with the characters C, S, and 5. I’ll focus on short and sweet posts, like this one.

Here’s a little tidbit from the Format a bulleted or numbered list Help topic.

When you italicize or bold the first word of a bulleted or numbered list paragraph, the formatting is applied to the number as well, making it inconsistent with the rest of the numbering. Like this:


See how the number 3 is italicized just like the first word? That’s ugly. So what’s the solution? Apply a character style to the numbering. Here’s what it says in Help:

By default, bullets and numbers inherit some of their text formatting from the first character in the paragraph to which they’re attached. If the first character in one paragraph is different from the first characters in other paragraphs, the numbering or bullet character may appear inconsistent with the other list items. If this is not the formatting you desire, create a character style for numbers or bullets and apply it to your list by using the Bullets And Numbering dialog box.

Now, back to the fun stuff!

Updated (9/22): Excerpts from InDesign Books

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:

Continue reading…

InDesign to Kindle White Paper

New white paper can be viewed here. Here’s the Introduction:

“As eReader devices like Amazon’s Kindle increase in popularity, Adobe InDesign users are asking how to prepare their eBook documents for reading on the Kindle and selling on the Kindle Store. This paper describes how best to accomplish this task. Generally, InDesign users must first export an InDesign document into an EPUB file. Then they must convert it using open source software into the MOBI format to view on a Kindle reading device or to sell on the Kindle Store.”

Click here to view the InDesign to Kindle white paper.