Monday, June 30, 2008

Vertical rules with paragraph styles

Adriano wrote and asked if there was any way to reproduce this:

without drawing lines by hand, so that the frame would be quickly resizeable to different column widths as needed. Yes, this can be done, but you have to be sneaky! Here's how:

1. Create a single text frame, and put all the text for the header and the body in this text frame.

2. Assign three paragraph styles to the text: one for the header, one for the first paragraph, and one for the last paragraph. If you are going to have more than two paragraphs, you will need a fourth style for all the middle paragraphs.

3. The horizontal rules are easy. They are just applied with a Paragraph Rule Below setting applied to the Sidebar, header and Sidebar, last paragraph styles.

4. The vertical rules are where we have to get sneaky. First, create a custom stroke style as shown below. (Choose Stroke Styles from the Stroke panel menu.) Note that we are defining an 11 inch dashed line pattern, with a .0278 inch black dash and the rest of the stroke white.

5. Now, for the Sidebar, header paragraph style, define a Paragraph Rule Above setting similar to the screen shot below. Note that for the Type, I've selected the custom stroke style created in step 4. In this example, I've also applied a 20% black "Gap Tint" to make "white" part of the stroke gray, as shown in the header. The 28 point Weight of the rule makes the black line appear vertical.

6. Last, for the Sidebar, first paragraph paragraph style, define a Paragraph Rule Above setting similar to the screen shot below. Note that for the Type, I've again selected the custom stroke style created in step 4.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Deleting files in Bridge

Amy wrote:

I'm working in Bridge and a couple of things perplex me. When you hit delete, where does the deleted file go? I don't find it in the trash. Is it completely deleted as soon as you hit the button? And, I'm now using Bridge instead of iPhoto. And I'm importing my images from my Canon camera directly into Bridge. Unlike iPhoto, I don't see a "delete images from camera" option. Does Bridge let you do that?

Bridge follows the same rules for deleting files as the Macintosh and Windows operating systems: files on your local hard drive are moved to the trash, files that reside on a server are deleted immediately. The one exception is Bridge CS3's "reject" label feature. If you choose InDesign > Preferences, choose General, and then click on the Reset all warning dialogs button, you will get receive additional dialog-box-based feedback and options the next time you press the delete key.

As Amy mentions, Bridge CS3 has a new feature (File > Get Photos from Camera) for transferring images from a digital camera or card reader, much like iPhoto. Unfortunately, Bridge cannot delete the images from the camera after they are transferred, so the images will have to be deleted manually using the controls on the camera.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Zip files inside PDFs

Adobe Acrobat allows you to attach other files to specific locations inside a PDF. In Acrobat 8, this is done via Comments > Comment & Markup Tools > Attach a File as a Comment. This embeds the file within the PDF, so that a recipient of the PDF can save the attachment to their drive. This is really handy for attaching other PDFs, Word, Excel or other file types to a specific location within a PDF.

However, if someone attaches a .zip file to a PDF, and you try to save or open the attachment, you will get the puzzling message "Acrobat cannot save the file attachment "" because your PDF file attachment settings do not allow this file type to be saved." For security reasons, Adobe doesn't allow embedded .exe, .zip or .js file types to be saved out of a PDF, since these file types could conceivably harbor a virus. If you receive a file with this kind of attachment, even from a trusted source, there is no way, short of hacking around the Windows registry, to make Acrobat allow you to save or open the embedded file.

When someone tries to attach an .exe, .zip or .js to a PDF, they will receive the warning "The file type you are attaching cannot be opened or saved from Acrobat because of your PDF file attachment settings. If you trust the source of this file, click OK to attach it." So, curiously enough, they are warned, but allowed to continue. Which is odd, since no one downstream receiving the PDF can do anything with the attached files!

Monday, June 09, 2008

Look up words from within InDesign

Did you know that you can quickly look up words in the New Oxford American Dictionary, Oxford American Writer's Thesaurus, Wikipedia, or Google right from within InDesign? If you use a Mac running OS X 10.5, you can!

Just select any word in your InDesign layout, and choose InDesign > Services > Look Up in Dictionary. The Apple Dictionary application will be launched, and the selected word will be looked up in the dictionary automatically. If you select a phrase instead of a word, it will be looked up in Wikipedia through the Dictionary application.

To search for a selected word or phrase in Google, choose InDesign > Services > Search With Google.

This isn't really an InDesign feature at all. The options in the Services section of the InDesign menu (aka the Application menu) are provided by OS X, and work in many Macintosh applications (but not Illustrator or Photoshop, unfortunately). So this is a Macintosh-only feature. I don't know of an equivalent cross-application technology available on Windows.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Free user interface stencils

If you ever need to mock up Web pages, applications, forms or other user interfaces in Illustrator or Photoshop, check this out: The Yahoo Developer Network features a set of free "Design Stencils." This collection of Web user interface widgets and doodads includes calendars, charts, tables, switches, knobs, sliders, form fields, check boxes, radio buttons, menus, navigation items, etc. downloadable as PDF (for Illustrator) or PNG (for Photoshop) files. The PDF files can be easily edited in Illustrator to include your desired text or colors. A great time saver for designers who create user interface mockups for specifications or user feedback.

(Thanks to the creativebits blog for this find!)

Monday, June 02, 2008

Acrobat 9 announced

Adobe has just announced Adobe Acrobat 9. It new comes in three versions, Acrobat 9 Standard (Windows only), Acrobat 9 Pro (Mac and Windows), and Acrobat 9 Pro Extended (Windows only). From what I've seen, this appears to be a feature-rich, important update. Among other features, this version of Acrobat includes built-in support for Adobe Flash files within a PDF. I'll blog further about the new capabilities of Acrobat 9 in the near future.

If you own Creative Suite 3, and you want to upgrade to Acrobat 9 now instead of waiting for the next major release of the Creative Suite, you can upgrade to Creative Suite 3.3, which includes Acrobat 9.

According to Adobe, Acrobat 9 will ship in July.