Monday, October 29, 2007

Why didn't I think of this earlier?

Today I was laying out a page in InDesign, and the text that I was using had been typed by someone who Loved To Capitalize Each And Every Word!

Of course, InDesign's Type > Change Case > Lowercase command makes short work of fixing this without retyping, and I use this command frequently. But today, it finally dawned on me to add a custom keyboard shortcut for this command to make life a lot easier. Here is how to do this, in case you've never created a custom keyboard shortcut:

1. Choose Edit > Keyboard Shortcuts

2. Choose Type Menu for the Product Area

3. Choose Change Case: lowercase

4. Click in the New Shortcut area, and press the keyboard shortcut you want to use (I used option-L).

5. Click the Assign button, and then the OK button.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

InDesign's Info Panel to the rescue

I encountered a head-scratcher today. As I helped a client with a layout, we were trying to locate an elusive image on their file server. We were using Adobe Bridge (of course!) to browse the files visually, but we noticed that some of the images with a .JPG extension did not display thumbnail previews.

Photoshop gave me an error when I tried to any one of these images. But the same images could be placed in an InDesign layout. That seemed strange, so I selected a placed image and looked at the Info Panel (Window > Info) in InDesign. Sure enough, the Info panel said that the image Type was PNG, not JPEG. Someone had tried to change the image from PNG format to JPEG format by simply changing the filename extension. This, of course doesn't work. To change image file formats you need to use a conversion utility or open the image in Photoshop and choose File > Save As.

Without this bit of information in the Info Panel, I probably would have wrongly concluded that the files were damaged. Changing the filename extension back to PNG allowed the image to be opened in Photoshop.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

False InDesign Preflight report with placed AI files

For a number of reasons, AI (Adobe Illustrator format) is the preferred file format instead of EPS for placing Illustrator artwork in InDesign. However, there is one small drawback to the AI format. If you have an AI file that contains only black or spot colors, and you place the AI file in InDesign, the Preflight command (File > Preflight) gives a false report. In the Colors and Inks section of the Preflight report, process C, M and Y will be listed as being used, even if they are not used in the AI file.

This is unfortunate, since in this case Preflight is no longer helpful as a way to see if you mistakenly used process colors in your layout. The best workaround is to choose Window > Output > Separations Preview, and examine the C, M, and Y separations individually to make certain that no objects using these colors appear on your pages.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

InDesign & InCopy 5.0.1 update

Today, Adobe released InDesign and InCopy 5.0.1 updates, which promise to fix a number of bugs discovered since the initial release of InDesign and InCopy CS3. I have not yet installed and tried the update, but wanted to give you a quick heads-up. A list of the bugs that were fixed is available here for InDesign and here for InCopy.

Note that one of the bugs that Adobe lists as being fixed is the InDesign CS3 backspace bug fix first described here on 04-27-2007.

Monday, October 08, 2007

InDesign & InCopy fractions

I've been a long time user of Dan Rodney's useful and free "Proper Fraction" script for InDesign. Now Dan has released Proper Fraction 2.0, which is available in a free and a "Pro" version. For a measly $75, the Pro version will automatically format all the fractions in a document, use OpenType fraction formatting if available, automatically stroke the numerator and denominator slightly to improve the appearance, allow you to set custom kerning pairs for fractions, and more.

Both the free and the Pro version work in InDesign and InCopy CS2 or CS3.

If you ever create fractions in InDesign or InCopy, you need at least the free version of the script. I'd strongly encourage you to check out the additional functionality of the Pro version.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Use GREP to find URL's

In a previous Blog entry I wrote about the GREP search capability in InDesign CS3. GREP searches are great for making a computer recognize complex patterns. I recently developed the following GREP string for a client, and thought I'd share it here, hoping you might find it useful or educational.

The procedure below will allow you to quickly search for all URL's (Web addresses) in your text, and format them as non-breaking, or blue, or whatever formatting you wish.

1. Start InDesign, and choose Edit > Find/Change

2. Type the string below into the Find what: field (all on one line)

(?i)(http|ftp|www)(\S+)|(\S+) (\.gov|\.us|\.net|\.com|\.edu|\.org|\.biz)

3. Copy the string below into the Change to: field


4. Click on the More Options button, and then click on the magnifying glass icon next to the Change Format area. Enter whatever formatting you would like here, then click the OK button.

5. Click on the small disc icon at the top of the Find/Change dialog box, and give the Query a name. Now, any time that you want to find and change URL's, you can just choose this name from the Query drop-down list, indicate the scope of the search, and click on the Find button. Another GREP example is here.