Posts in Category "IndiTip"

Mastering Live Captions « IndiTip [InDesign® Tips&Tricks]

By Marijan Tompa (tomaxxi)on IndiTips

Live Captions were introduced in InDesign CS5 and functionality is the same in CS5.5 as well. Live Captions are very powerful when it comes to pulling metadata out of the image and displaying them on the page. But, why are they called “Live”? Because they are! They are like regular text variables, but they are “trained” to pull out metadata out of images and they change when you swap images. I will not go in details here how to create Live Captions, (click here to learn more about Live Captions) instead, I would like to show you how to work faster and to be more efficient by storing and reusing your Live Captions setups! So, let’s get started!

via Mastering Live Captions « IndiTip [InDesign® Tips&Tricks].

Interactive Shortcuts Guide for InDesign CS5

Keyboard shortcuts are a big time saver! And when I say big, I mean BIG! :D I love shortcuts, and by time, they become part of you, and your everyday workflow! But! It’s becoming difficult to remember all shortcuts when you use more than one program, and I know you do! So, I decided to create nice little interactive shortcuts guide and to be even better, I wanted to use just InDesign‘s interactive features!

It was quite a challenge for me even though I knew how to use InDesign and InDesign‘s interactive features. I know, it sounds crazy, but InDesign is really awesome for creating interactive content too! To be honest, I was quite skeptic about interactivity inside such awesome typographic software, but I’m really blown away! Flash is powerful, and you can do a way more and have much more control, but InDesign is just simple and effective! Here are few screen shots that were made from finished InDesign layout before exporting.

So, you might be wondering how this is really created. Here is short outline of workflow I’ve used to create this interactive guide. Remember, I’ve used just InDesign!

  • Collect all shortcuts PC and Mac
  • Create InDesign Keyboard Layout
  • Create Object Styles for Normal/Over/Click keys
  • Input all shortcuts to tables (every key to separate page)
  • Merge shortcuts page to Multi-State Object with script
  • Assign every key to Multi-State Object state
  • Export to SWF

I think there is no need to explain how to use this guide. :) Simply start it and explore! In case you still need some help, there is short Quick Start Guide. :)

That’s it! I hope that you will find this guide useful and helpful! Please, if you have any suggestions, feedback, and even if you find errors, do not hesitate to send me an email!

Launch Interactive Shortcuts Guide

If you want to put direct link to
Interactive Shortcuts Guide from your blog or website,
PLEASE use original URL!


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Get More InDesign & Document Info

There is good and simple way to check history of your document, last version of InDesign used while saving file, but also version used to create file for the first time. Also, you can find a little bit more about your application like for example number of plugins installed, versions of some core components and other. But, that’s not something you will need very often.

Then, what’s so great about this? Great thing is that you can see plug-ins used in document and also missing ones! Another thing you can find out is which system (PC or Mac) was used to save the file and how many times file was saved! (this is not true for documents loaded in newer version of InDesign) So, where we can find that info?

It’s really easy. Simply go to Help menu and Ctrl (PC) / Command (Mac) + Click on About InDesign… menu item and info dialog will show up immediately.

This is a really good way to check your document if something goes wrong.

That’s it! :)

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Temporary Sort Menus Alphabetically

What?! :D Yes, it’s possible, and it’s really useful!

I’m sure you already had that situation, when searching for something in menus, you knew where it was, but can’t find it! :D There is one awesome little feature (undocumented one) that allows you to display menus without separators and sorted alphabetically. This feature is available for a long time, starting with InDesign CS.

As you probably already saw on picture, it’s really easy to access this feature. All you have to do is to hold down Ctrl+Alt+Shift (PC) / Option+Command+Shift (Mac) and click on menu. The menu will open, but it will be sorted alphabetically and without separators, like one big list :D This also works for panel menus and drop-down menus from Control Palette.

Cool, right? :D

Have fun!

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Master Live Corners

Custom shaped corners are available from very first versions of InDesign, but, they were never really improved them till CS5. Now, we can set different diameters and shapes, and for me personally, biggest improvement is ability to modify them Live, without need to go to dialog box!

This cool new feature is called Live Corners, and I think, that was first think I noticed when opened freshly installed CS5 and created text frame. Live Corners feature is represented by yellow box on rectangular objects. Simply by clicking on that little yellow box you enter Live Corner editing mode, which will be represented by little rotated yellow box on every corner. Also, there is cool little Tip (shortcut) that will toggle Live Corner editing mode and that is key 4 (four) (not from numeric-keypad) (this is undocumented feature, but you can find it in keyboard shortcuts under “Object Editing -> Toggle Live Edit Mode”). But, there is so many more that we can do! Let’s take a look! :)

So, let’s say we have active Live Corner editing mode, and here is the list of all possible actions:

Action Effect
Click + Drag Change dimension of all four corners at once
Alt (Opt) + Click Change shape of all four corners at once
Shift + Drag Change dimension of selected corner
Shift + Alt (Opt) + Click Change shape of selected corner
(at the end of post you can find screenshots with explanation)

Also, keep in mind that Corner Options are part of Object Styles, so don’t forget to Update/Redefine applied style!

And for the end, there is cool shortcut to Corner Options dialog box. Simply by Alt (Opt) + Click on Corner Option icon on Control Palette.
(See screenshot)

That’s it! Have fun! :D



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Rounding Numbered List Numbers

When creating numbered lists, sometimes we want to have rounded numbers with nice circle, maybe colored… But, how to achieve this effect? One of the ways is to find specific font, or maybe to anchor text frame with number. The most expected way would be to apply Character Style to Automatic Numbering and with help of Underline to achieve desired effect, BUT, it seems that InDesign has really bad BUG when it comes to underlining automatic numbering! Yes, you have read it correctly! There is NO way to underline Automatic Numbering! :( So, we need to find some workarounds…

As you can see from screenshot, I used Automatic Numbering, but, rounding is achieved with Paragraph Rules. It’s a bit tricky to get it to look right but when you do, it’s really great! In Character style you just set font color. First downside of this method is that Paragraph Rule is indented and when you change frame width rule will also change. Second downside is that rounding will not fit to bigger numbers, so you have to manually adjust them. But, if you have frames that are constant width, then you are good!

Another way of doing this is to do manual numbering, and apply customized underline. This is how it looks like:
You probably noticed spaces before and after numbers. You have to add them and apply Underline to them too. That’s because Underline doesn’t have option for indenting like Paragraph Rule does. Take a look at screenshot of Underline setup. There is a lot of fine-tuning, but the result is great!

Hopefully, Adobe will correct this BUG and it will work correctly in future versions of InDesign. If you want to report this BUG to Adobe, feel free to use this form: Adobe – Feature Request/Bug Report Form.

And for the end, here is Stroke style that I used in this example.


A day after the tip was posted I’ve got two emails from readers who gave suggestions how to avoid downside when doing rounding with Paragraph Rules. Thanks! It’s really easy and quick to do. Instead creating Stroke style as previously described, we just need to create single dot line as you can see on screenshot. Idea is to create Stroke style that has very big pattern length, but with very small length to get just single dot.

That’s it!

Have fun! :D

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Quickly Transform to Duplicate

This is also, one of my favorite features! (I have so many favorite features! I don’t know why?! Or maybe I do! I just love InDesign! :D ) There is fast and easy way to transform selected object and create duplicate.

So, how to do it? It’s really easy. All you need is Alt (PC) / Opt (Mac)! There are so many places where you can utilize this useful feature!

As you can see form screenshot, you can use it in Transform Panel/Control Tool Bar. Select object, input new value in X or Y field and hit Alt (PC) / Opt (Mac) + Enter. InDesign will automatically duplicate selected object and move duplicate by amount of units you entered! So easy!

Also, if you want to rotate object to duplicate. Select object, goto Rotation Angle in Transform Panel/Control Tool Bar enter value, and hit Alt (PC) / Opt (Mac) + Enter.

So, here is complete list where you can use Alt (PC) / Opt (Mac) to create transformed duplicate:

  • Position X / Y
  • Width / Height
  • Scale X / Y
  • Rotation Angle
  • Shear X Angle
  • Rotate 900 Clockwise/Counter-clockwise
  • Flip Horizontal / Vertical
  • Mouse Drag
  • Mouse Rotate
    (Notice that rotation reference point will always be in center)
  • Rotate Tool (R)
  • Scale Tool (S)
  • Shear Tool (O)

This feature does not work when changing object dimensions by dragging object handles (Alt/Opt key is reserved to lock resizing object from center) and when using Free Transform Tool (E).

And for the end, few Bonus tips!

(When working from Transform Panel/Control Tool Bar)

  1. By adding Shift key to Alt (PC) / Opt (Mac), InDesign will automatically reselect whole input field.
  2. By adding Ctrl (PC) / Cmd (Mac) key to Alt (PC) / Opt (Mac) while editing object size or scale, InDesign will automatically do resize/scale like you have turned on Constrain proportions.

That’s it! At the end of the post you can find some examples (screenshots) if you need any!

Have fun! :-)

PS. Try using Transform Again or Transform Sequence Again after transforming to duplicate! You can get pretty cool effects!

Duplicate+Move (Mouse)

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Create 2 Guides (H&V) in 1 Move

Guides are very helpful, and I use them all the time. But, when you need to create them, that can be really time-consuming.

Fortunately, there is little helpful feature that will save you some time and energy while creating guides! InDesign allows you to draw both horizontal and vertical guides simultaneously!

As you can see from screenshot, it’s pretty easy to do it. All you have to do is to simply hold Ctrl (PC) / Command (Mac) and click-drag from square where the two rulers meet to desired place.

That’s all! Easy and effective!

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Auto Apply Object Style to Placed Image

Have you ever placed bunch of images and after placing you selected all of them and applied same Object Style? If you even tried to select Object Style before placing, don’t bother anymore, it can’t be done. It’s a bug!

But, fortunately Michael Ninness (VP of Content,, former InDesign Product Manager, designer, author) mentioned a little “easter egg” in InDesign CS4 that (sort of) fixes the bug and it’s also working for CS5!

So, let’s see how to make it work! :)

First, it’s called “easter egg” because it’s undocumented and not-officially-supported-by-Adobe feature, so you will not find this anywhere in help files for InDesign! :) All you have to do is to create Object Style named “Place Gun Frame(without quotes) and set all desired options and that’s it! :D So easy and so powerful and helpful!

That’s it!

This Tip was first mentioned on
by David Blatner (co-host of the
way back in 2008.

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Power + Zoom = Power Zoom!

Personally, one of my favorite features in InDesign is so-called “Power Zoom” feature. This enables you to quickly scroll through your document. It’s helpful especially with long documents. If you never used this feature before, you will fall in love very quickly! :D

So, how to activate/use it?

It’s really simple. All you need is Hand tool.

  1. Activate Hand tool (H) / hold Space bar or Alt/Opt while in text.
  2. With Hand tool active, click and hold down the mouse button.
    (You will see the document zooming out so that you can see whole spread/page, and red box indicates the view area)
  3. While still holding mouse button, drag mouse (red box) to scroll through document.
    Use mouse scrool wheel/arrow keys to change size of red box (change view area zoom)
  4. Release the mouse button to zoom in to the new selected area.
    (Document will zoom to the size of the red box)

This will give you more control while scrolling through your document. Also, you will work faster, because you don’t have to zoom-out then zoom back in.

That’s it! :-)