Author Archive: Adam Pratt

Moving on…

The folks that started this blog have all moved on to new roles. We’re all still at Adobe, but each of us is focused on new things. We thought it would be a good idea to give an official sayonara and steer you over to John Nack’s blog. He’s writing everything we dreamt about writing…

New Contact Sheet Script for InDesign CS4

As many of you have probably noticed by now, the Contact Sheet Script that automates Bridge and InDesign together is no longer available in CS4. I don’t know the backstory, but I’m sure it’s long and hairy, so let’s just jump to the good news…there’s a replacement!

Continue reading…

New InDesign Podcast Resource

Last fall, I contributed to an interesting new book called Instant InDesign by Gabriel Powell. I guess I have a soft spot for “niche” books that I believe more people should read (GoLive, InCopy, etc.). Anyway, this book is unique in that it focuses on how to use InDesign to build really awesome templates that take a bit more time up front but will save you a TON of time in the long term.

If you’re interested in saving time and working more efficiently with InDesign you really should check it out. And now there’s even more incentive with Gabriel’s new podcasts at http://www.instantindesign.com/. The book and the podcasts make a great combination!

Paper to PDF with Acrobat 8 and a Fujitsu ScanSnap

I recently got my hands on a Fujitsu ScanSnap S510M (the “M” at the end indicates Mac compatibility) and I’ve fallen in love with scanning again! I haven’t enjoyed scanning this much since the day I bought my first flatbed color scanner, but that was back in the day when you spent thousands of dollars for 300 DPI color.

Anyway, what I’m loving about this scanner is that it’s fast and the paper handling rocks. This little guy scans color/duplex just as fast as my black and white laser printer prints! It’s rated at 18ppm duplex (so 36 page images) in color and really chews through stacks of paper with its 50-sheet ADF. I was impressed by a few test scans, but I’m pretty picky and I thought it would be a good idea to put this scanner through a real test.

I recently moved my office and decided it was time to do some housekeeping/purging, and I couldn’t think of a better (and geekier) way to tidy things up than a paper-to-PDF conversion. Amidst conference calls, emails, and various other projects, I managed to scan 35 pounds of paper today. It’s in a big box ready for the recycler in the morning!

35 POUNDS! Gone!

The only thing I’m bummed about is that I cannot directly control the printer within Acrobat 8 Professional. According to Rick Borstein, this is because the scanner doesn’t support a TWAIN driver. Not ideal, but I can live with it because the driver software that comes with the scanner can be configured so that by pushing just one button I can convert up to 50 pages at a time into a single PDF and have it opened directly inside Acrobat. At that point I can just save the PDF or post-process it with some cleanup, compression, or OCR using the features in Acrobat 8 Professional.

Excuse me while I grab another box of paper from the basement….

[Update: Somehow I forgot to mention that this great little scanner includes a license of Acrobat 8 Professional. The scanner is selling for $425US on Amazon. Acrobat 8 Professional retails for about $450US. You do the math!]

Acrobat 8 Update for Leopard Support

I just got word that the Leopard compatibility update (v8.1.2, ~5MB) for Acrobat 8 Professional has been released. In my book, this is the last big patch I’ve been waiting for to achieve a streamlined Leopard system. I upgraded to Leopard last weekend (backup, format, and reinstall, of course) and this was the only hiccup in the process for me. I just downloaded the patch and things are running great here. I haven’t seen comprehensive release notes yet, but the big fix I notice is that the “Adobe PDF 8.0″ virtual printer works properly under Leopard (I’m running 10.5.1).

I’m sure the updater will be posted on the web soon, but in the meantime just choose Help>Check for Updates inside Acrobat to get the goods. Please post your experience and feedback here!

FrameMaker to InDesign Conversion Plug-In

The new FrameMaker-to-InDesign conversion filter from DTP Tools has been in beta for a while, and the shipping version is finally here! The product details page does a great job enumerating the conversion options, and it’s worth a look to see just how comprehensive this plug-in is.

The filter is even capable of converting text variables, complex tables, and numbered lists. If you also use their Cross-References plug-in for InDesign then cross-references from FrameMaker are also converted.

Just last week I met with a customer who is interested in converting some existing documents from FrameMaker to InDesign and this new plug-in should help a lot if that’s the direction you’re headed. Possibly the most interesting this about this plug-in is the pricing model. Instead of paying a specific license fee, yo only pay for how much you use and only when you’re satisfied with the conversion results. That’s right, you can download and use the plug-in for free and test the conversion results for yourself. When you’re happy with the results you can purchase usage credits and save the new InDesign files!

New Layer Comps Plug-in for InDesign

I’ve had a behind-the-scenes sneak peek on the development of this new plug-in and DTP Tools has done a great job with their Layer Comps plug-in for InDesign. If you’ve ever used the Layer Comps feature introduced back in Photoshop CS then you’ll know exactly how this plug-in works in InDesign.

Lots of folks will get good mileage out of layer comps for InDesign, and I suspect folks doing lots of design variations for ads, circulars and magazines with regional variations will love it the most. A few tidbits from their press release that sum it up better than I can:

  • Layer Comps allows to save different settings of layer visibility, lock state, order, printability, guide visibility and lock state.
  • Comps can be also exported into all formats supported by InDesign. You can export a single comp into .inx as a snapshot or multiple comps into PDF to show your clients layout alternatives.
  • All documents created with the Layer Comps can still be opened and edited without this plug-in. The layer settings will remain the same.

Snapz Pro X is Intel Native!

Just a quick shout out to Andrew and the gang over at Ambrosia Software for releasing an Intel Native version of their wonderful Snapz Pro X screen capture utility. It’s not only Universal Binary, but video encoding speed is significantly improved.

I use Snapz Pro every day for a variety of purposes. A few examples include projects I’ve done with Total Training, Lynda.com, and all of my writing projects. I’m sure all of the trainers and authors out there will be thrilled about this release. Enjoy!

Ultramarathon Man via Flash Media Server

I’m no Flash Media Server expert, but I love it when Adobe technology solves problems and creates unique experiences. It’s like my dishwasher: I don’t know EXACTLY how it works, but it gets the job done.

In this case, it’s Flash Media Encoder and Flash Media Server allowing my to watch multiple live video feeds of Dean Karnazes attempting to break the world record for miles run on a treadmill in 24 hours! How fitting that he’s making this world record attempt on the summer solstice. Did I mention that he’s doing this two stories above Times Square in New York City?

I’ve met Dean, and last fall I had the chance to run four marathons with him in his quest to run 50 marathons in all 50 US states in 50 consecutive days. What a great guy and what a fantastic experience. If anybody can break the record it’s Dean. I wish I could be there to run with Dean in NYC today, but at least I can enjoy a bit of the event remotely. Go, Dean! (and thanks to FMS for the video streams)

Customized InDesign CS3 Contact Sheets

The other week a customer who builds their Sunday newspaper advertising insert with InDesign asked me if they could use use the Contact Sheet Script to make an InDesign contact sheet out of individual INDD files. I thought it was a great idea, and didn’t see why it shouldn’t be possible, considering that IDCS3 can now place INDD files.

I tried the script on it’s own, but it doesn’t recognize INDD files without a bit of tweaking. Here’s the solution:

  1. Locate the file called “WasScriptLibrary.jsx” on your hard drive and open it with the ExtendScript Toolkit application or your favorite script editor.
  2. Locate this string in line 755:

    WasLib.fileFilters.putValue( “Contact Sheet”,”PNG,JPG,JPEG,TIF,TIFF,GIF,AI,PSD,PDF,EPS,EPSF” );

  3. Change the string to:

    WasLib.fileFilters.putValue( “Contact Sheet”,”PNG,JPG,JPEG,TIF,TIFF,GIF,AI,PSD,PDF,EPS,EPSF,INDD” );

This allows INDD files to be included in InDesign contact sheets. Note that it places different file sizes at the same dimensions and always places the first page of the INDD file. Hope that helps!