Monday, November 24, 2008

Merge text blocks in Flash and Illustrator

InDesign CS4 can export pages to XFL format. These XFL files can be opened in Adobe Flash CS4 Professional for further editing and animation before being published as Flash (SWF) files for use on the Web. When the XFL file is opened in Flash, the text is editable, but InDesign paragraphs are broken into individual one-line blocks of text. A really handy tool for recombining multiple text blocks into one is the Combine Textfields extension for Flash from Ajar Productions.

Yesterday Ajar Productions released a similar tool for Adobe Illustrator, called the Merge Text Extension. This script works with Illustrator CS-CS4. It could be particularly handy when you need to edit a PDF that has been opened in Illustrator.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Typography humor

I laughed when I read this cartoon that ran in the papers this weekend:

The reaction from many people was probably "Huh?" but us typography freaks love it! See more of Scott's humor at

Friday, November 14, 2008

InDesign Keyboard Shortcut Reference

I've just finished updating my Keyboard Shortcut Reference sheets for Adobe InDesign CS4. I've managed to fit all 375 or so shortcuts on two U.S. letter-sized pages. I like to have a printed copy of this handy by my computers at all times. I've given a lot of thought to how the shortcuts should be organized and grouped in this latest version of the Shortcut Reference. You may download a Macintosh version here, or a Windows version here, as a free PDF. You can also find versions for CS2 and CS3 here.

BONUS TIP: while researching the keyboard shortcuts for this project, I stumbled across one undocumented shortcut: On the Macintosh, Option+Enter (on the numeric keypad) inserts an "End Nested Style Here" character in both CS3 and CS4. Pretty obscure, but this might be useful for someone.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

A new fast way to update a modified link

There are so many great improvements to the Links panel in InDesign CS4 that I missed one cool improvement until I stumbled across it today. You can update a modified link with a single click! Here's how:

When you have a link that has been modified in another program such as Illustrator, Photoshop after it was placed in InDesign, a small yellow triangular warning sign will display in the Links panel.

If you want to update a single modified link, you can now just click on the yellow warning sign, and the link will be updated immediately. You can do this in CS2 and CS3 also, but when you click on the warning sign, it leads you to a dialog box, and it takes at least 3 clicks and some brain cycles to complete the process. In CS4 it is one click and zero brainpower required. Nice.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

The scope of InDesign Preferences

Bob Bringhurst, the lead writer for InDesign and Incopy at Adobe, has posted a comprehensive list of the "scope" of all of the Preference settings in InDesign. This is great! I've been meaning to research and put such a list together for I don't have to (procrastination pays off)!

The problem is that the various Preference settings in InDesign behave differently. Some affect just the currently open document, and are saved with the document, while others "stick" and remain in effect for all documents. I've filed a feature request with Adobe to add some sort of visual indicator in future versions of InDesign to designate which Preference settings are document-specific, and which are application-specific.

Monday, November 03, 2008

The "evil eye" is missing in CS4!

One of the great improvements in InDesign CS4 is the completely re-engineered Links panel. This new panel shows you a lot more information about each linked graphic than in previous versions. But one important item is missing!

In InDesign CS2-CS4, if you select a PSD, AI or PDF file that contains layers or layer comps, and choose Object > Object Layer Options, you can show or hide any layers that are in the graphic file. This is called a "Layer Visibility Override."

In CS3, a Layer Visibility Override is clearly indicated in the Links panel by an evil-looking yellow eye with a red eyeball that displays next to the over-ridden link in the links panel.

In CS4, this evil eye is gone. In fact, with the default preferences, you will see no indication in the upper portion of the Links panel that the graphic has a Layer Visibility Override at all. To configure InDesign CS4 so that you don't accidentally miss a Layer Visibility Override, choose Panel Options from the Links panel menu. Click next to Layer Overrides under "Show Column". Then click the OK button.

Now, if there is a Layer Visibility Override applied to a graphic, you will see a "Yes" displayed to the right of the file name in the Links panel.