Posts in Category "InDesign"

InDesign Does Multiple Page Sizes

Thanks to our great partners over at DTP Tools, InDesign can now be used to create multiple page sizes in a single InDesign document with their new PageControl plug-in. Now there have always been workarounds such as cobbling together multiple files in the Book palette or using various page arrangement tricks, but this new plug-in makes it much simpler.

The plug-in has been in the beta stage for about a month, but it was finally released yesterday and it’s lookin’ great. Perhaps the best part about the plug-in is that it doesn’t create any new palettes or menus. Instead, it integrates with the existing Pages palette in InDesign and let’s you create and manage multiple page sizes, multiple master pages, and so on.

I have to admit that this isn’t a feature I’ve yearned for, but I’ve met enough folks who are gonna be thrilled with this announcement. The only “catch” with this plug-in is that anybody attempting to open these “modified” InDesign documents must have the free reader plug-in installed. The reader plug-in is in fact free, but we all know it will still trip up a few folks. In that case, you can export your InDesign layouts with multiple page sizes directly to PDF and the results are fantastic.

Can I just make one suggestion? No matter how you deliver your InDesign files to your printer, will you promise me that you’ll call your printer and give them a heads-up first? Talk about a curve ball! :-)

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!

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.

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Pasting from Illustrator into InDesign

500 separate paths or shapes is the maximum allowed when copying and pasting editable paths from Illustrator into InDesign. If a set of paths is too complex, ID will place the paths as an embedded EPS rather than editable vectors. When using Illustrator’s Live Trace feature, pay attention to the number of paths listed in the lower right just below the Preview button (number of anchor points is irrelevant…ID isn’t looking at those). 501 or higher will get embedded as an EPS. When you plan to copy and paste into ID, 500 is the magic number.

Thanks to Tim Cole for this tip.

Strokes on text converted to outlines in InDesign

Q: If text is stroked and then converted to outlines in InDesign CS the stroke just pushes too much into the text. Is there a way to avoid this?

A: When text is still text, ID is designed to draw the stroke on the outside of the path IF the text has a fill color applied. If you assign a fill color of none, then the stroke will draw centered on the path, just like any ID frame. When you convert the text to outlines, it’s now a frame, and so the stroke draws centered on the frame path. You can make the stroke draw outside the path (or inside the path) using the stroke alignment buttons on the stroke palette. Then it will look like stroked live text with a fill color.

Thank to Tim Cole for this info.

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

Funky Filters for InDesign

The folks over at Rogue Sheep have released a new InDesign plug-in called Magma Effects 1.0. It’s an interesting plug-in that brings Apple’s Core Image filter effect technology to raster images in an InDesign layout. Select a raster image (or an empty frame) and choose Object > Magma Effects to open a large modal dialog that includes a real-time (depending on video card) preview.

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Converting Quark Documents to InDesign

Adobe InDesign can open and convert Quark XPress 3.3-4.x files all by itself, but can’t open XPress files created with newer versions such as 5, 6, or 6.5. To fill the gap, Markzware has released a new InDesign plug-in called Q2ID that does the trick.

This Mac-only plug-in kicks in when you access the File > Open command in InDesign and select an XPress file. In the examples I’ve seen, the conversions were very faithful to the original. No conversion will be 100% accurate considering the two applications have different file formats, text engines, and so on, but if a quick conversion gets you 95% of the way there you’ll be saving a ton of time!

Has anybody else out there worked with this plug-in yet?

New Books for InDesign and Illustrator Users

There are so many books about computers, technology, and software that it can be overwhelming to make a choice. There are some great series of books about Adobe software that you’re probably already familiar with, but there’s a new series from SAMS Publishing that has really caught my eye.

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