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.

Text Effects Gallery

This is a long article that’s only going to get longer as I find more and more text effects to add to the gallery — and this is only a small sample of the many ways in which you can manipulate text in InDesign.

Skewed text

text effects skew.jpg

To skew the text like this, I selected characters on the left side of the word and applied a negative skew value, and then I selected characters on the right side of the word and applied a positive skew value. See Skew type in InDesign Help.

Continue reading…

Starting a Document with Page 1 on the Left Side

[Note: This article applies only to InDesign CS4 and earlier versions. In InDesign CS5, you can simply add an even number for the Start Page # option in the New Document dialog box to start a document with a two-page spread.]

Here’s another buried treasure from the Help files. By default, documents you create with facing pages include a single-page spread to begin the document, like this:

spreadstart before.jpg

How do you start a document with a two-page spread, like this?


If you try to delete the first page, the other page numbers just move up, and page 2 replaces page 1. The Start a document with a two-page spread Help topic gives the answer:

Start a document with a two-page spread

Instead of beginning the document with a right-facing (recto) page, you can delete the first page and begin your document with a left-facing (verso) page that’s part of a spread.

Important: Because of the settings that make it necessary to keep a left-facing page as the starting page, it can be difficult to insert spreads into a document when following this method. To avoid this difficulty, it is best to work in the document with a right-facing page starting page (which should be left blank). When you have inserted all of the pages needed in the document, delete the first page by following the steps below.
Make sure page 1 of the document is blank.

1. Choose File > Document Setup. Be sure the document contains at least three pages and that the Facing Pages option is selected. Click OK.

2 In the Pages panel, select all the pages except page 1. (The easiest way to do this is to select page 2 and then Shift-select the last page of the document.)

3. In the Pages panel menu, deselect Allow Selected Spread To Shuffle.
Select page 1. In the Pages panel menu, choose Delete Spread.

TIP: To add a spread to a document that starts on a left-facing page, first make sure Allow Selected Spread To Shuffle is deselected and Allow Document Pages To Shuffle is selected. Then, insert three pages, and delete the extra page.

Tabs and Indents Gallery

It’s show and tell time. I’ll show you pictures of tabs and indents, and I’ll tell you how to create the effect. Or, at least I’ll point you to the Help topic that tells you how to do it.

Simple tabs

When you press the Tab key, the insertion point moves to the next tab setting. If you haven’t manually entered any tab settings, default tab settings appear every 3p. These tab settings don’t appear on the Tabs ruler.

tabs simple before.jpg

1. Choose Type > Tabs to display the Tabs ruler (also called the Tabs dialog box).
2. Click above the ruler where you want the tab setting to appear.
3. On the left side of the Tabs ruler, click to indicate which type of setting you want (Left, Center, Right, or Decimal).

tabs simple left.jpg

See the Tabs and indents Help topic.

Continue reading…

Using Adobe Products with Snow Leopard (Mac OSX)

If you’re a Mac user and you’ve upgrading or are thinking about upgrading to the new version of Mac OS X 10.6 (called Snow Leopard), you may run across a few issues, which are not specific to Adobe products

Applications crash when saving to file servers through SMB protocol (Mac OS X 10.6)

Files may not open in original authoring application (Mac OS X 10.6)

Firefox 3.x crashes when trying to use the Adobe Downloader (Mac OS X 10.6)

Acrobat 9 “Save As Adobe PDF” Support in Mac OS X Snow Leopard (v10.6)

(For more details on this PDF issue, see Steve Werner’s article: Acrobat’s Adobe PDF Printer Replaced in Snow Leopard)

Here’s the Snow Leopard FAQ.