Tuesday, August 25, 2009

How to force a PDF to open at a particular view

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about how to set your Acrobat preferences so that all PDFs open at the magnification you want them to. Today's post is about how you as the creator of a PDF can specify the opening view of that particular PDF. I always like my PDFs to open in Fit Page view, so that the recipient gets a bird's eye view of the whole page. If I've included bookmarks in the file, I want the bookmarks pane to appear on the left side of the screen so that the recipient sees and uses the bookmarks.

1. After you've created your PDF file in InDesign, Word, QuarkXPress, or whatever, open it in Adobe Acrobat Standard or Professional (you can't use the free Adobe Reader to do the steps below).

2. Choose File > Properties

3. In the Document Properties dialog box, click on the Initial View tab at the top. Then set the options for Layout and Magnification as desired. Note that you can specify which Navigation Panels open at the left side of the screen, the page layout, the magnification, which page the PDF opens to, whether or not you want the Acrobat window to resize to the size of the page, whether the window should be centered on the screen, and whether or not you want the document to open in Full Screen mode (useful for presentations).

4. Click the OK button. Nothing magnification and layout of the document will not change at this point.

5. Save the PDF, close it, and reopen it. It should reopen with the options you specified in step three. These options will override any settings specified by the user in Preferences as described in my previous post.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Sorting the Glyphs panel display

InDesign's Glyphs panel (Window > Type & Tables > Glyphs) is indespensible for locating and inserting foreign-language characters, alternate characters, symbols and dingbats. Yesterday I noticed a strange thing about the display order of the Glyphs in the panel. The default sort order is to sort the Glyphs by their Unicode value. Here's what the Glyphs panel looks like for Adobe Caslon Pro Regular, sorted by Unicode value. (Click the graphic to enlarge.)

Note that the various ornaments in the typeface are scattered throughout the panel, making them difficult to locate. But if you choose Sort Glyphs > By CID / GID from the Glyphs panel menu in the upper right corner of the panel, the panel changes to look like this:

This view may be more useful for some fonts. Depending on the typeface you are using, and what you are trying to do, one sort order may be better than the other. Give it a try!

By the way, Illustrator also has a Glyphs panel (Window > Type > Glyphs). But the Glyphs panel in Illustrator is always sorted by CID/GID and cannot be sorted any other way. Also, both InDesign and Illustrator allow you to choose a subset of glyphs using the "Show" drop down menu in the upper-left corner to display just the currency or symbols for example.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

LiveSurface Image Templates

Here's a cool resource that I've been evaluating: The LiveSurface Image Template Library. These are not just stock photos. They're pre-masked, multi-layered high-res photos of billboards, stationary, packaging, vehicles, etc. that contain built-in 3D surfaces. What this means is that you can use the photos to quickly visualize what your designs will look like in context, create high-quality client presentations, or create final high-res images for use in print or Web marketing materials.

The images take advantage of the vanishing point feature of Photoshop CS2-CS4.

The layers and masks are well-labeled and well-organized, and instructions are included.

It took me just a matter of minutes to create the images below.

Future versions of Creative Suite Intel-only

Adobe posted a FAQ today on their Website titled Support for the PowerPC platform, in which they state that:

"Adobe intends for future versions of the Creative Suite range of products to run on Intel based Macs with no support for their installation on PowerPC systems."

This means that if you are a Macintosh user, and you're still running a non-Intel Mac (aka a "PowerPC" system), you won't be able to run the next version of the Creative Suite.

This shouldn't come as a big surprise, since even Apple is dropping support for non-Intel Macs with the upcoming "Snow Leopard" version of Mac OS X, due in September.

Friday, August 07, 2009

How to control the opening view in Acrobat

Like me, you probably spend a great deal of time opening and viewing PDFs. You might as well make this as simple and painless as possible. You can easily set your preferences to make PDFs appear just they way you want them to, every time. Here's how:

In Acrobat, choose Acrobat > Preferences (Macintosh) or Edit > Preferences (Windows) or press command-k (Macintosh) or ctrl-k (Windows). In the Preferences dialog box, choose the Page Display category, and then change the Page Layout and Zoom settings to whatever you want them to be. I prefer to have the Page Layout set to Single Page, and the Zoom set to Fit Page.

This will make most PDF files open the way you want them to, but there's one exception. The creator of a PDF file can specify the opening view of a PDF. When this is done, it will override the preferences on your computer for that PDF file. In other words, the creator of a PDF can specify that a particular PDF always should open at 200%, facing pages view on everyone's computer, regardless of their preferences. But the vast majority of PDF files specify this, in which case your preference settings apply.

In my next post, I'll show how you as the creator of a PDF can specify the opening view for your audience.

Monday, August 03, 2009

Advice for designers during tough times

The 2009 AIGA|Aquent Survey of Design Salaries 2009 is available now. In addition to the usual tables that summarize average salary ranges for designers, art directors, production artists and copywriters around the United States, this year's issue contains insightful commentary from top designers on how to stay competitive during an economic downturn.

A few excerpts:

"Position yourself narrowly so that you are less relevant to the majority but deeply sought by a minority that values expertise." -- David C. Baker

"Focusing does not mean cutting back on what you know—only perhaps on what you do. There’s a big difference." -- Alexander Isley

"Many of us designers look down our noses at the business aspect of our profession, in which creativity reigns supreme. Never forget that if you do not operate your practice like a business, there will be no place for your creativity to live." -- Judy Kirpich

"When was the last time you picked up the phone and connected in person with your most important contacts? If you have people out there advising and advocating for you, be sure to keep them apprised of how you’re doing, thank them often and stay in touch regularly—no matter where you’re at with employment. This is one of the most valuable uses of downtime, but it’s actually something designers should be doing at all times!" -- Monica Little

You can download the entire report in PDF format here.