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.

Page Numbering Gallery

We recently did a usability study on page numbering in InDesign. Participants worked through a series of page numbering tasks that I asked them to perform. Although I made a few changes to a couple of Help topics, I kept thinking that what people really needed was pictures of page numbering effects and brief descriptions of how to create those effects. So that’s what I’m doing here. Perhaps later, I’ll clean up the pictures and add this to Help.

Simple page number

page number simple.jpg

Adding page numbering isn’t the most intuitive task in InDesign. You basically create a text frame on a master page and insert the Current Page Number marker (choose Type > Insert Special Character > Markers > Current Page Number). If your document has facing pages, remember to add page number markers to both master pages. See Add basic page numbering in Help.

Continue reading…

Twitter Bug

I haven’t blogged much in the last month or two, and I probably won’t be blogging much over the next several months. If someone asks me whether I’m busy working on the next version of InDesign, I would say, “That information is confidential.” By the way, InDesign CS5 has some cool new features. You know, in theory.

I am, however, tweeting on twitter. When I run across a good link or need to make a quick announcement, I’ll tweet about it. And then, at the end of the month, I’ll combine many of the tweets into a “Best Links” blog entry.

Here’s my twitter page:

(Yes, that is a picture of me from last year, about a week before I shaved my head.)

Community Publishing System is live

A number of web sites serve as an excellent resource for InDesign. At the top of the list is InDesign Secrets, and places like Instant InDesign, Creative Mentor,, and Gilbert Consulting offer tons of tips, tricks, and tutorials.

In the comments section of individual Help topics, I link to specific articles on these web sites. In some instances, I linked to these “community sites” within Help topics, and I plan to do more of that.

The Community Publishing System (CPS) is another resource for contributing to the InDesign community. Perhaps you don’t have your own web site but would like to make contributions. Or perhaps you’ve started an InDesign website and would like to let more people know about it. You can use the CPS to help other Adobe users.

Here’s what the CPS folks have to say about it:

We’re pleased to announce the Adobe Community Publishing 1.1 beta is live. This new AIR application lets anyone with an Adobe ID publish content on Adobe products and technology directly to

Community members can contribute tips, movies, code snippets, and more with easy-to-use templates. Contributions are moderated by community experts. Plus, everyone in the community can rate and comment on contributions.

Contributing is easy
1. Download the Community Publishing app: Community Publishing System (CPS)
2. Author your tip using a simple template
3. Publish it to

Content goes live within minutes and is automatically added to community help search. Exceptional contributions will be promoted in Help & Support pages, Developer Connection, Design Center, and considered for inclusion in Adobe partner publications.

You can see all of the submissions here: Community Publishing index page.

So, take it for a spin. I’ll be keeping an eye on the submissions for InDesign and including links to the especially good stuff when I update the InDesign Help document.