Thursday, May 31, 2007

Convert a color PDF to grayscale

Have you ever had a color PDF file that you needed to convert to grayscale? Acrobat 8 Professional has a simple-but-not-obvious way to accomplish this.

1. Open a color PDF file in Acrobat 8 Professional. The file may contain a mix of CMYK, RGB or spot color objects.

2. Choose Advanced > Print Production > Preflight.

3. Click the right-pointing triangle next to PDF Fixups, and select the Convert to Grayscale option that appears.

4. Click the Execute button. The entire PDF file will be converted to grayscale.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Ejecting a stuck CD

While I was traveling last week, a CD became stuck in the drive on my MacBook Pro laptop. No matter what I tried, the CD would not eject. Every time that I opened the laptop for a training session, the CD would spin and start draining the battery.

Today, back in my office, it occurred to me to do a quick Google search on "stuck cd"+macbook. I quickly found a Web site where someone suggested picking the laptop up, turning it so that the CD-ROM slot faced downward, and shaking the laptop after hitting the eject key. Could it be so simple? Sure enough, on my first try the CD popped out and hit the floor.

Thank goodness for Google and low-tech solutions! I should think that this would be worth a try on any slot-loading Macintosh or Windows laptop in a similar situation.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Free font ID tool

Visit Galaxy Gauge to download a free PDF version of their handy tabloid-sized Galaxy Font I.D. 2.0 font identification guide. This is a nice concise guide to hundreds of popular typefaces, grouped according to font classification. While visiting the Galaxy Gauge web site, check out their line of high-quality, useful graphic design gauges and color tools.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Make your voice heard at Adobe

If you have a great idea you'd like to see implemented, or you've found a bug in any of the Adobe software programs that you use, don't just sit and stew about it. Instead, use the Feature Request/Bug Report Form at to make your voice heard.

This is time well-spent. Adobe employees do read, consider and compile these requests and bug reports. The lead time on software development can be long, so even if your idea is a great one, it may be a long time before your feature request makes it into a product.

In my experience, Adobe does an good job of listening to its customers, and this process is one example of that.

Friday, May 18, 2007

InDesign, Illustrator, Photoshop and Acrobat plug-in guide

A PDF guide to all known InDesign, Illustrator, Photoshop and Acrobat third-party plug-ins is available here. The number of plug-ins available to extend the functionality of InDesign, in particular, is growing all the time. Check it out. You just might find a plug-in to save you a lot of work on your next project.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Transparency and PDF, part 2

Continuing the discussion of InDesign transparency and PDF files from the last post: If you create pages that contain transparent objects, such as drop shadows, that interact with spot color objects in InDesign, you may get unexpected results.

Specifically, the transparent effects may disappear completely or be replaced by an opaque white box when you create a PDF file and view it in Adobe Acrobat or Adobe Reader. This will only happen if you create a "flattened" Acrobat 4 (PDF 1.3) file.

This is typically only an on-screen anomaly in the PDF file. InDesign sometimes must use overprinting to simulate transparent effects. To make the effect display correctly in Acrobat, turn on overprint preview. This is available as a preference in Adobe Reader 8 and all versions of Adobe Acrobat Standard and Professional. In Acrobat 8 overprint preview is located in Advanced > Print Production > Overprint Preview. When this is turned on, the transparent effects should display correctly.

Under normal circumstances, these effects should print correctly. One exception is if someone takes your PDF file and places it as a graphic in a Quark document. So always proof transparent effects closely.


Friday, May 11, 2007

Transparency and PDF, part 1

When you create pages that contain transparent objects (drop shadows, glows, feathers, bevels, blend modes, etc.) in InDesign, you may get unexpected results when you make a PDF file and view it in Adobe Acrobat or Adobe Reader.

One thing that can go wrong is that you might see very thin vertical or horizontal white lines in your images. These lines are no cause for panic. They are just an on-screen anomaly in Acrobat. The lines will not print, and they will only be visible on the screen if you:

a) print to PostScript or the Adobe PDF driver to create the PDF file


b) choose File > Export in InDesign to create the PDF file, and choose Acrobat 4 (PDF 1.3) for the Compatibility.

If the lines bother you on the screen, you can make them disappear in Acrobat by choosing Edit > Preferences (Windows) or Acrobat > Preferences (Macintosh). Select the Page Display category, and deselect the Smooth Line Art option.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

New fonts included with CS3

CS3 includes largely the same set of Opentype fonts that are included with CS2 with the exception of Arno Pro and Hypatia Sans Pro.

Arno Pro is an new serif typeface from Robert Slimbach, with many different weights and styles and an extensive character set.

Hypatia Sans Pro is a new geometric sans serif typeface by Thomas Phinney that contains many new advance OpenType features. This typeface is not included in the CS3 box, but is available free as a "registration incentive" when you register Creative Suite 3 or any individual CS3 product.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Twin Cities InDesign User Group

If you are in the Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN area don't miss the next InDesign User Group meeting on Tuesday evening, May 8 at 7:00 p.m. at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design. This will be a big "CS3 Launch Meeting," with Adam Pratt, a Senior Systems Engineer from Adobe coming to showcase the new features of InDesign CS3. As of today, there are almost 250 people registered to attend this exciting event.

If you are not in the Twin Cities area, see the InDesign User Group Web site to locate a chapter near you.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

User guides & manuals online

See for complete user guides and manuals for almost all current Adobe products. The manuals are in printable Adobe PDF format.

This is a fantastic resource for anyone who wants to "preview" specific features of a product, or judge the level of difficulty of a product before purchasing. It's also handy if your IT department has filed away your original product CD/DVD, and you neglected to first make a copy of the documentation.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Viewing all folders in Bridge

One of my favorite features in Bridge CS3 is easy to overlook...the no folders button in the Filter panel (Window > Filter Panel).

Lets say you are viewing the contents of a folder in Bridge, and that folder has five subfolders. You want to see thumbnails of all the images in each subfolder, without opening each subfolder individually. Just click the no folders button in the Filter panel, and your view of all the subfolders will be "flattened". You will see the contents of all five folders together.

Don't be alarmed, no folders will be harmed by this button. Clicking the button only affects your view of the folder contents, not the folders themselves. The contents of the folders remain in their original folders.