Monday, December 15, 2008

Grid resource for designers

The Grid System, "the ultimate resource in grid systems" is the place for anyone who likes to design with grid systems, or anyone who wants to learn more about grid systems.

The site is a treasure trove of articles, tools, templates and examples of how to effectively use grid systems in both print and other media. See the templates section for free InDesign and Photoshop templates of grid systems based on the Golden Mean.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Export InDesign and Illustrator swatches to Flash

I'm currently writing an article for InDesign Magazine about how to export content from InDesign CS4 to Flash Professional CS4. During the process of researching and writing, I realized that there is no easy way to export color swatches from InDesign or Flash, or for Flash to read the Adobe Swatch Exchange (ASE) files produced by InDesign.

So I sent a note to Justin Putney at Ajar Productions, since he is the "go-to" guy for scripting InDesign to Flash processes. I asked if he'd ever thought about writing a script to automate the process of moving color swatches from InDesign to Flash.

Justin responded by creating a clever script called Send Swatches to Flash, that does just that. Assuming that you have Flash CS4 installed on your computer, the script will export all the colors from your open InDesign or Illustrator file to the Swatches panel of the currently open Flash file, or if a Flash document isn't open, it creates a new Flash file and adds the swatches to it.

If you find Justin's script useful, consider sending him some financial encouragement using the "Donate" button on his site!

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Convert QuarkXPress 8 files to InDesign CS3 or CS4

The excellent Q2ID plug-in has been updated to support QuarkXPress version 8 files and InDesign CS4. The Macintosh version is available now, and Markzware says that the Windows version will be available soon. I'm happy to see an upgrade available so soon after CS4 began shipping.

This excellent plug-in for InDesign will convert QuarkXPress version 5, 6, 7 or 8 files to InDesign CS3 or CS4 files. Q2ID costs $199 USD. Upgrades from version 2 or 3 are $99 USD according to the Markzware Web site.

Once installed, this plug-in is invisible. To use it, you just choose File > Open from within InDesign, select a QuarkXPress file, and it's converted on the fly and opens as an untitled document in InDesign. More information about this plug-in is available in these previous blog posts.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Editing rounded corner rectangles

With InDesign you can easily create rounded-corner rectangles by drawing a rectangular frame, and then choosing Object > Corner Options. But if you later attempt to edit the roundness of a single corner with the Pen tool, you'll encounter some strange behavior. Specifically, if you edit one corner, the other three corners will also change to match the appearance of the edited corner. To avoid this, simply choose Object > Paths > Close Path before you edit the rectangle.

Combine multiple text frames in InDesign

A week ago I wrote about a script for Flash and a script for Illustrator for combining multiple text blocks in those applications into single text blocks. Apparently the clever folks at Ajar Productions didn't spend the entire Thanksgiving holiday (U.S.) stuffing themselves with turkey, because on Friday they released a similar script for Adobe InDesign.

The free Merge Textframes extension for Adobe InDesign will combine separate, unlinked InDesign text frames into a single text frame, with much of the formatting of the orginal bits of text remaining intact. Way useful!