Author Archive: Colin Fleming

New ePub Authoring Resources

Adobe’s recently created new eBook authoring pages with how-to guides for three topics: Creating eBooks with InDesign, working with images for ePub, and an ePub export FAQ. The how-to guides are at:

For a broader set of ebook resources including links to AdobeTV segments about exporting ePub and using the files on a variety of ebook readers, visit:

InDesign to ePub, Kindle, and iPhone session at MAX

Wednesday afternoon I’ll be delivering a session at Adobe MAX 2009 about using InDesign to layout and design ebooks. The session will cover some ebook basics including readers and then will cover how to use InDesign to effectively layout and style a document for both print output and reflowing design for ebooks. Then I’ll cover how to use the file for a number of hardware and software readers and finally converting for use on the Amazon Kindle.

The overall workflow hinges on a strong use of styles to create structured flow of text through your document. When working with graphics in a layout this means converting them to inline or anchored objects so that they’re part of the flow of your story. This is the important technique when designing for ebook output. Once I get an export to Digital Editions (ePub format) I can convert the file pretty easily into a number of formats including mobi-and this is what works on Kindle.

The “slides” for the session were built using InDesign then exported to epub for use in Digital Editions or on many Sony eReaders; then the epub was converted to mobi for use on Kindle. You’ll find links below for downloading these files for reference or experimentation. There are a number of links inside the files to additional resources from many resources, they’re well worth taking a look at.

I’m told my session will be recorded and the recording will be available for viewing soon.

Hope this is of interest.


A new way to pick colors :: Kuler

I live in the Pacific Northwest (sometimes called the Northwet), most of the colors I see up here tend toward the gray, green, and occasional blue; but mostly it’s gray. We tend to get excited when we see new colors and have a hard time selecting good combinations when working colors outside our occluded gamut. Or at least that’s my excuse. Now there’s hope for the likes of me.

Adobe released a new online tool called Kuler today. It’s a rich internet application (RIA) that provides tools to help create color palettes and a community to share your creations with. You can tag your creations, share them, search by keyword tags and download any palette as an Adobe Swatch Exchange file for use in your CS2 applications. is part of Adobe Labs, so input and comments are part of the process. Use your Adobe ID or get one there, and you’ll need the newest Flash Player to explore.

Give it a whirl. It’s a blast!

Layer Groups? Smashing Idea!

I’ve dreamed of this, and many have asked for it. Layer Groups for InDesign. DTP Tools has released a new plug-in for InDesign CS and CS2 that adds a new “Layer Groups” palette, and ushers in even more organization power for my documents.

I don’t know how many InDesign users over the years have asked about grouping layers in ways like Photoshop or Illustrator. Each time I’ve had to say “No, not now. But oh how I hope that one day…” I’ve given the plug-in a brief whirl and it seems to fit the bill. You get a new palette with some nice new features including setting everything in the layer to non-printing in one fell swoop. But then I started wondering.

What happens when my beautiful document with layer groups gets opened on a machine without the plug-in? I decided to write to DTP Tools and find out.

Wow! Within an hour I had my answer back.

Robert Goldwein sent the following:

it’s not a problem at all. If document with Layer Groups (LG) is opened in InDesign (ID) without this plug-in, all grouped layers are displayed as regular layers, correctly ordered. When such document is opened again in ID with LG, all is correctly grouped again (grouping data are persistent), if there are any changes in ordering, or there are new/deleted layers, it’s reflected in the tree structure.

Also, in the original Layers panel, you can see how layers would appear in ID without LG.

This sounds wonderful. In my limited testing two things have come to my attention, neither critical at all.

1) If a group is the top-most item in the Layer Group palette, dragging a layer above the group is difficult. To solve this I a new layer with the new layer button in either of the layer-related palettes. Now it’s easier to drag a layer above the group.

2) The feature for turning everything in a layer to non-printing is only found as one of the layer options in this new Layer Group palette. You have to select the layer in the Layer Group palette and then either use the flyout menu on the palette or double-click on the layer to open the options for the layer. Now you’ll see a checkbox to set the layer to non-printing.

I’m pretty impressed for a short test drive. Check it out.

DTP Tools Layer Groups

Making inroads…

Recently I was at a cartograpy convention, it was a fascinating experience. Years ago I made informational maps when I was a CAD guy and was starting to play with GIS systems. My how cartography has changed since then. I learned over lunch that the process has changed from building up information to create a map to a process of deleting data until you have what you want.

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West Coast Intro

So as long as we’re doing intros, I’m Colin, the Pacific Northwest guy.
I used to be a trainer and covered a broad range of applications in both print and web design and production. Shortly before joining Adobe, I specialized in conversion training from Quark to InDesign workflows.

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