Author Archive: Adam Pratt

InDesign Does Super Duper Script

I was recently working with a notable ad agency that’s in the process of upgrading from Creative Suite 1 to Creative Suite 2 and they had some unique requests related to type handling in InDesign. Essentially, they wanted several superscript variations of certain characters for use in the ads they design. Considering the level of complexity of their requirements, I suggested the best option might be to recut their typeface or create a good collection of character styles.

Then I told them that if they could live with only two flavors of superscript, then InDesign already had all they tools they needed! This trick is so easy it’s almost silly, but it’s not something I’ve seen many people try:

  1. Open the application preferences (Command/Control-K) and select the Advanced Type category.
  2. Assign a negative percentage, such as -50%, to the Subscript position value.
  3. Now create your second superscript variation by assigning the subscript text attribute.

Voila! That’s all there is to it. You see, InDesign makes the reasonable assumption that superscript is going above the baseline and subscript is going below the baseline. This means that two positive values move the text in opposite directions, which might seem a bit odd if you think about it too much. The solution is simply to give subscript a negative value which moves it in the opposite direction and provides for a second variation of superscript. I’m sure it’s obvious by now, but you could reverse this trick and create two variations of subscript if that’s the problem you’re facing.

I’d love to hear back if this solution solves any real world problems out there!

InCopy ACE Exam Now Available

It’s been a long time coming, but we’ve finally posted an InCopy ACE Exam. Now all of the InCopy trainers and consultants out there can get certified and “prove” your proficiency. I realize you’ve been getting along just fine without the exam, but at the same time we all know some clients want a bit of reassurance the first time they hire you. Now how do you go about adding this cool new badge to your Adobe Scout uniform?

  1. Normally, you’d see the exam listed on, but the page hasn’t been updated yet.

  2. To be an InCopy CS2 Certified Expert you also need to be an InDesign CS2 Certified Expert. You should be able to take the two exams in any order you like, but if you’re still reading this post, you probably already have your InDesign CS2 ACE.
  3. Go directly to and take the exam online.

The exam costs $50US and you have a whole two hours to take it. There are only about 40 questions, so I doubt you’ll need all that time. The cut score (ACE exams are multiple-choice, pass/fail) is 73%, so study up and let us know who it goes!

Work Smarter, Not Harder with Photoshop

There’s a great new Photoshop book hitting store shelves entitled Working Smart in Adobe Photoshop CS2 by Conrad Chavez. Yeah, yeah, I know, there’s already a boatload of Photoshop books out there, so do we really need another one? Well, I had the privilege of doing the technical editing on this book and I’d say it’s unique for at least two reasons:

  1. It’s a lean, mean book. Instead of trying to teach you everything under the sun, it’s a focused read under 300 pages. (This means you’ll probably actually read it, unlike the stack of Photoshop books on most designer’s book shelves.)
  2. It’s about about efficiency and working smart. No step-by-step tutorials, no cheesy neon styles, no quizzes. It takes a step back from the minutiae and looks at the overall efficiency of the workflow.

This is good stuff, folks. Don’t miss it!

More InCopy Goodness

Hey all you InCopy fans, there’s a new free InCopy CS2 tutorial posted in the Adobe Design Center. For an experienced InDesign user, this will probably be pretty basic information about text formatting, but it might help you get some of your InCopy users up to speed. If you like what you see in this tutorial, there’s more where that came from. Check out the book that Mike Richman and I co-authored: The Adobe InCopy CS2 Book.

In the meantime, what other InCopy tutorials wold folks like to see. What do you want to learn about?

FontAgent Pro Supports Auto-Activation for InCopy CS2

There have been a variety of workarounds until now, but our friends at Insider Software have released a new auto-activation plug-in for InCopy CS2 with the release of FontAgent Pro 3.3. This means writers and editors using InCopy can now enjoy the blissful ease of auto-activation just like their InDesign-using co-workers. FontAgent Pro is a Mac-only solution, but I’m pretty sure it’s the only font management solution that offers auto-activation for InCopy users.

After you install the software look for the disc image called “FontAgent Pro Plug Ins.dmg” in the FontAgent Pro application folder. That disk image includes all the auto-activation plug-ins and easy-to-read instructions. Enjoy!

Another Free Excerpt from “The Adobe InCopy CS2 Book”

The Adobe Design Center has doled out another free excerpt from our book “The Adobe InCopy CS2 Book.”

This sample is admittedly pretty similar to the first excerpt, but it covers “Working with .rtf and .txt files in Adobe InCopy CS2.” We hope you appreciate the material and there’s more where this came from throughout the rest of the book. Enjoy!

Don’t Lose More than a Minute of Work

Have you ever taken advantage of the Automatic Recovery feature in InDesign? If you’re especially lucky you’ve never had a corrupt font, bad RAM, application crashes, or a power outage. For the rest of us, the Automatic Recovery feature can save a lot of grief and hassle.

Continue reading…

Mousepose Enhances Presentations on a Mac

I spend a lot of time presenting/demoing/teaching/training Adobe software to our customers, and 99% of the time it’s done on a Mac. If that sounds like something you do, then you should check out the new Mouseposé 2 from Boinx Software. Essentially, it’s a Mac-only application ($10) that allows a presenter to draw the audience’s attention to the curent cursor location. It’s a great way to locate a cursor on a large screen or focus on a complex user interface element.

I’ve been using the first version of this great little app for a while, but now with version 2 they’ve add some nice enhancements including feathered cursor highlight (user customizable, of course), animated highlight (subtle, not obnoxious), and “visible” clicks (just try it).

Bonus Tip: Set the cursor opacity to zero percent and enable the mouse clicks option. Now when you invoke Mousepose you won’t see the cursor highlight but you’ll see concentric circles (in the color of your choice) to indicate the number of clicks.

It’s really a great teaching/training tool. All you ACE trainers out there are gonna love this!

Total Training for Adobe InCopy CS2 Now Shipping

I’m very excited to announce that Total Training for Adobe InCopy CS2 is now shipping! It took a lot of hard work, a week of recording, and a great team of partners over at Total Training to make it happen and I’m very pleased with the final product.

It’s six hours of training that covers the features of InCopy for writers and editors, what InDesign users need to understand about InCopy, and then how to marry them together in a publishing workflow. All the video and sample files come on one DVD-ROM that works on both Mac and Windows computers.

This training resource will normally costs $99US, but Total Training is offer a special summer discount of 20% which knocks the price down to $79US. You can check out a course outline (HTML, PDF) to see if you think it will be a helpful resource for your team. There are even a few sample clips you can check it out and kick the tires.

Lens Baby Macro Fun

While I was away from a work for a while, I did a lot of shooting of one of my favorite subjects. I received a Lensbaby 2.0 this spring as a gift and I’ve had a lot of fun playing with it. The recent addition to my Lensbaby is their Macro Kit. It’s two little screw-on lenses that can be used alone or together for more macro goodness.

I’ve really enjoyed the Lensbaby Macro Kit and it gives me results that just can’t (reasonably) be created in Photoshop. I hope you’ll indulge me a few examples.