Thursday, December 23, 2010

Fantastic free tool for creating Illustrator patterns

Warning: This is so much fun you could waste hours or weeks playing with it!

Check out MadPattern, a set of free downloadable templates for Illustrator CS4/CS5 for "rapidly prototyping patterns". Watch the short video demo, download the templates, open one of the templates and follow the instructions on the pasteboard. Very easy and addicting!

See the MadPattern Gallery for some great examples of patterns created with the templates.

This Wikipedia entry explains the type of patterns that can be created with the MadPattern templates.

The emphasis in MadPattern is on exporting the finished patterns as bitmaps for Web use. But of course, the patterns being generated in Illustrator are vector, and with some ingenuity they could be used as elements in Illustrator vector projects.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Magazine publishing on the iPad

I've been heavily involved in the upcoming Adobe Digital Publishing Suite as a beta tester. I'm working directly with a couple of clients to help them repurpose their magazine content for iPad versions. One of the best ways to learn what is possible and what works well (and not so well) in this exciting new content channel is to look at lots and lots of examples of what others are doing.

The following is a compilation of the titles that I've found to be particularly interesting examples of iPad magazines and rich-content books. As you preview these be sure to view them in both landscape and portrait mode, as different content and layouts are often displayed depending on the rotation of the iPad.

These titles were all created with prerelease versions of the Adobe Digital Publishing Suite:

Wander Magazine: German hiking magazine, free
Credit Suisse Bulletin: Customer magazine from Credit Suisse, free
Wired Magazine: from Conde Nast Digital, $3.99/issue
Sabado Bicentenario: Chilean Saturday Magazine, free
Future Magazine: Customer magazine from Semcon, free
The New Yorker Magazine: from Conde Nast Digital, $4.99/issue
InDesign Magazine: A sampler issue of InDesign Magazine, free
DI Magazine: A PS & LR mag., Issue 1 free, subsequent issues $5.99
The World Without Photoshop: an interactive Photoshop book, free
Early Jamestown: an interactive textbook example, free
JFK - 50 Days: An interactive companion to the book of the same name, $6.99
You can find a list of more publications created with the Adobe Digital Publishing Suite here.

These titles were created with WoodWing's Digital Magazine Tools:

Time Magazine: from Time Inc., $4.99/issue
Sports Illustrated: from Time Inc., $4.99/issue
Project: from Virgin Digital Publishing, $2.99/issue
The Sunday Times: iPad version of the UK Sunday Times, free preview issue
You can find a list of more publications created with the WoodWing solution here.

These titles were created with other tools and systems:

Marines Magazine: The official US Marine Corps magazine, free
Audi Magazine: free
Design & Architecture: free
The Atlantic: created with RareWire, $4.99/issue
Design New England, created with Texterity, free
National Geographic Magazine, created with Zinio

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

ePub best practices: Capitalization

The ePub format has a number of formatting restrictions. When designing documents that may one day be repurposed for ePub output, it's in your best interest to follow some InDesign page layout "best practices".

One such "best practice" is in how capitalization is handled. It's not uncommon for manuscripts to be supplied with all kinds of goofy capitalization of head, subheads and body text. For example, an author may type a heading in a manuscript in any of these forms:

1. The Boy Who Died From Eating All His Vegetables

2. The boy who died from eating all his vegetables


4. THE BOY who died from EATiig aLL HiS veGeTables

This is often "fixed" in the InDesign layout by using the All Caps attribute [command-shift-k (Mac) or ctrl-shift-k (Windows)]. This will cause all the selected text to appear in all caps, but in reality, the underlying text is still the original capitalization, as it was originally typed.

BEST PRACTICE: If text is typed in a goofy combination of mixed upper and lower case, don't just fix it with the All Caps attribute. Instead, use the Type > Change Case command to make the text appear in Title Case or Sentence case, as you want it to appear in the ePub output, and then use the All Caps attribute if you want it to appear in all caps in your print document.

Remember, if you have a lot of capitalization fixing to do, you can add a keyboard shortcut (Edit > Keyboard Shortcuts) to any of the Change Case commands to make them easier to access quickly.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Possible fix for the InDesign CS4 Package problem?

Since InDesign CS4 was release, various users have complained about the File > Package command failing to collect all the linked images properly. It appears that the problem, for many people, is related to using colons or slashes in filenames, which makes the Package command choke. See this post on the Adobe Forums for one discussion about this. Upgrading to 6.0.4 seems to fix the issue for some people, but for others the problem persists. I haven't personally experienced this, thank goodness. However, a client asked me about this yesterday, and I suggested using the Utilities > Copy Links To command found in the Links panel menu as an alternative method to gather all the linked files. I told her that perhaps this would work where the Package command fails.

I just received an email back saying:

Thank you, that solution worked! It is a little mysterious, because I can't tell that it's actually gathering anything but it works in the end very well. All the images were collected and accounted for. Thank you for the help!

So it appears that at least in this case, the Copy Links To command worked where the Package command failed. At any rate, the Copy Links To command is good to know about. It is sometimes a quicker, more direct way to gather up all your linked images into one spot that using the Package command.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Drag and drop is OK!

Did you know that you can drag and drop content (images, logos, text files, Word documents) from Adobe Bridge, the Macintosh Finder or Windows Explorer into Adobe InDesign or Illustrator? You can even drag and drop multiple files at once onto your pages this way.

What prompted this blog post is that I keep getting asked: "I know I can drag and drop content into InDesign, but I don't trust it...where does it put my files?"

It's perfectly OK to bring content into InDesign and Illustrator this way. If you look closely at the Links panel in InDesign, you'll see that a link to the graphics that have been dragged and dropped has been created, exactly as if you had done File > Place. There is absolutely no difference in the end result between File > Place and the drag and drop method.

In the case of Illustrator, dragging and dropping a graphic will result in a linked graphic, and adding the shift key during drag and drop will result in an embedded graphic.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Free back issues of U&lc

From 1974-1999 International Typface Corporation published a tabloid-size, flamboyant publication dedicated to typography, typographic design, and new ITC typefaces. Many of us eagerly anticipated and treasured each issue. I still have a stack of issues from 1991-1997 that I haven't been able to part with.

Monotype Imaging bought the assets of ITC, and now, on the blog, they are making high-resolution scans of back issues of U&lc available to download.

These are worth looking at if you want to get a sense of cutting edge design and typography in 1974, or if you want a historical perspective on where we've been and how we got to where we are today.

You can find more information about the history of U&lc here.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Another way to repair a damaged InDesign file

I've written previously about a couple of sneaky ways to fix a damaged or corrupt InDesign file. If those methods fail, here's another file repair method to try:

A client came to me with a file that crashed every time that he tried to remove a certain paragraph style, or that he used Find Font to try to replace a certain font. It also crashed immediately when he tried to export an .inx or .idml file. What saved the day in this case was this workaround:

1. Open the bad InDesign file.

2. Create a new InDesign file with the same page size, orientation, and single/facing pages setting. Make this file only one page in length.

3. Choose File > Save, and name this file "Repaired file.indd" (a little optimism can't hurt!)

4. Switch to the bad InDesign file, and in the Pages panel, choose Move Pages.

5. Enter the page numbers you want to move, which page you want to move them after, and then in the "Move to" drop down list, select "Repaired file.indd".

6. When you click the OK button, all the pages from the old, damaged file will be "pushed" into the new, repaired file. Hopefully, any nasties that are causing problems in the old file will not move with the pages into the new file.

In this case, with this client, following the steps above fixed the problem, and the client was a happy camper!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Designing for an iPad screen

I've been working a lot in recent weeks with the upcoming Adobe Digital Publishing platform for publishing content from InDesign to the iPad. I'll certainly be talking more about this in future blog posts as the solution becomes public. (In the meantime, see the Adobe Digital Publishing Blog for more information on what some "bleeding edge" customers are doing with it.)

If you're designing a document or image that is ultimately going to be viewed on the iPad, either with the Adobe Digital Publishing platform, a PDF reader, or some other method, how large should you create the document or image, and how do you preview your results?

The iPad screen is 9.7" diagonal, displaying 1024 x 768 pixels. This works out to 132 pixels per inch. So all you need to do is create a 1024 x 768 pixel image or page in Photoshop, Illustrator or InDesign. If you're using an older version of Illustrator or InDesign that doesn't support measuring in pixels, use points instead, and it will work out perfectly.

How can you preview what your file will look like without moving it to an actual iPad? If you're lucky enough to have a newer 15" Apple MacBook Pro with the optional High Resolution (1680 x 1050 pixel) display option, or a newer 17" Apple MacBook Pro with the standard High Resolution (1920 x 1200 pixel) display, you're in luck. These displays run at almost exactly the same resolution as the iPad. This means that you can create an image or layout in Photoshop, Illustrator or InDesign, and view it at 100% size on either of these displays to get a preview that is very, very close to how it will display on an iPad!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

You gotta try Dropbox!

If you haven't tried Dropbox yet, you're in for a treat!

Dropbox is just one of many "cloud-based" or hosted storage services. I've tried many of these, but Dropbox is the slickest by far. What Dropbox does extremely well is "file-syncing" between multiple computers. You just sign up for a Dropbox account and install the Dropbox application on as many computers as you wish. From then on, any files that you save in your local Dropbox folder automatically upload to the Dropbox online storage service and then download automatically to the Dropbox folder on any other computers using your Dropbox account. This all happens quietly in the background. Really slick!

Did I mention Dropbox is FREE? An account with 2GB of online storage is free, and you can purchase up to 100GB more. In addition, you can increase your free storage space by 250mb for every friend that you refer to Dropbox.

Dropbox also is great for:

Online backup: Any time that a file is changed or deleted, Dropbox archives a "version" of the file, so you can undelete a file or roll back to a previous version at any time.

Shared folders: You can create special "shared folders" that allow you to collaborate on files with other Dropbox users.

File Sharing with non-Dropbox users: Need to send someone a large file that is too large to email? Just throw the file in your Dropbox "Public" folder, right-click or control-click on the file, and choose Dropbox > Copy Public Link. Then paste the link into an email. Done.

Web access to files: All of your Dropbox files can be accessed from any computer, anywhere through All you need is your Dropbox login.

Mobile file access: There are Dropbox apps for iPhone, iPad and Android so you can access your files on the go. In addition, certain mobile apps such as the awesome GoodReader integrate directly with Dropbox files.

InDesign-InCopy workflow: Dropbox can be used as a virtual server for a seamless InDesign-InCopy workflow.

I've been using Dropbox for a while now on a combination of Macs, Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7 computers, and just love it.

Full disclosure: If you follow the links to Dropbox from this blog and create a Dropbox account, I'll receive 250mb of bonus free storage space...but so will you.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Don't miss my posts on InDesignSecrets

Don't overlook my posts over at InDesignSecrets. I try to post InDesign tips over there a couple of times a month, in addition to my posts here.

I just put up a post about a hidden method for including special characters with Autocorrect. Check it out!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Interactive design tutorials and white paper

I've been spending a lot of time lately helping "print" designers get up to speed on designing interactive projects. A few months ago Adobe hired me to create some training resources about interaction design. The result is four free resources that can be found on (click on the "interactive" tab on this page.

All these resources are intended to equip designers with what they need to know to move into interaction design. The resources include:

A comprehensive 17 page white paper titled Interaction design: Designing for interactivity on screens: a primer for print designers (pdf)

Three "Interaction 101" video tutorials on Adobe TV. Each 10-15 minute video covers a single interactive workflow, and includes source files so you can follow along:

Interaction 101: Create an Interactive Guide with InDesign CS5
How to use InDesign CS5 to create an interactive document for the Web.
(related source files)

Interaction 101: Create a simple web application with Flash Catalyst CS5
How to use Illustrator CS5 and Flash Catalyst CS5 to create a web application.
(related source files)

Interaction 101: Create a simple banner ad with Flash Professional CS5
How to use Photoshop CS5 and Flash Professional CS5 to create a web banner ad.
(related source files)

Monday, September 13, 2010

Two essential books for advanced InDesign users

If you do any InDesign scripting (or want to learn), or create any InDesign GREP searches (or want to learn), you need these eBooks by Peter Kahrel. If it were possible for eBooks to become "dog-eared", mine would be. I refer to one or both of these books almost every week.

Scripting InDesign CS3/4 with JavaScript is an 80-page concise tutorial on how to automate InDesign with JavaScript. Through clear explanation and lots of examples, Peter explains how to write and edit JavaScript for use in InDesign, and provides a good overview of the InDesign Document Object Model.

GREP in InDesign CS3/CS4 is a 65-page tutorial and reference guide for how to do complex, powerful searches in InDesign using GREP.

Despite the titles of these guides, Peter has recently updated both of them to cover InDesign CS5, as well as earlier versions. These are the only two published guides that I know of that cover these two subjects...I'm glad that Peter has done such a great job.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Create Guilloche patterns in Illustrator

Last March I wrote about some resources for obtaining "Guilloche" patterns, which are sometimes used for certificate and award borders and backgrounds. Now Rufus Deuchler has put a nice tutorial on his blog that describes an easy way to create Guilloche patterns in Illustrator.

The Artlandia Symmetry Works plugin for Illustrator will help create Guilloche patterns.

Also, see this cool Flash-driven Guilloche Pattern Generator.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Free Illustrator user interface icons and elements

If you need to create either finished User Interfaces for Web sites and applications, or simply need to create a quick mock up of a user interface or interactive project, check out the User Interface Design Framework from Webalys. This is a free library of hundreds of icons, styles, and UI elements that you can use and modify in your projects. They are presented both as Illustrator files that you can open, and as handy Illustrator Symbol panels. These elements can be used in Illustrator CS2 or newer. [via John Nack].

Over two years ago I wrote about the free Yahoo Developer Network Design Stencil Kit. Check that out also.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Dreamweaver seminar in Minneapolis

My friend Chris Converse is coming to Minneapolis on October 7, 2010 for an all-day Dreamweaver/CSS seminar. Chris is the best in the business. I have no doubt that this will be an excellent seminar. If you do Web design, or want to learn more about Web design, check it out!

Friday, August 06, 2010

Interaction design seminar in Tampa

If you're anywhere near the greater Tampa, Florida area, don't miss this: On Saturday August 21, 2010 I'll be presenting an "Interactive Design for Print Designers" seminar at the International Academy of Design & Technology, sponsored by AAF Tampa Bay and the Tampa InDesign User Group.

This seminar is for experienced print designers who want to learn more about Interaction design.

Seminar description:

The interactive design marketplace offers new opportunities for designers. Designing for interactivity on screens is different from designing for print. And just as the print world has unique terminology, concepts, and production problems, so does the world of interaction design. This seminar is specifically for print designers, to help you become literate in interaction design, get excited about the opportunities it presents, and learn what you need to add to your skill set to tackle interactive design projects. You will learn:

* What you can expect to do yourself, and when (and how) to work with a developer or programmer

* Which tool(s) to use for the job: InDesign CS5, Flash Professional or Flash Catalyst

* When to use animation and motion in a project

* How to work with onscreen color, scale, and typography

* About object properties, components, timelines, events, states, and other interactive terminology and concepts

* The current options for outputting to tablets, desktop Web browsers, smartphones, and other devices

. . . and much more!

Registration information can be found here.

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Typography education

FontShop has created a nice Education page, which contains four nice (free!) downloadable PDF files including a 52 page Field Guide to Typography and Erik Spiekermann's Typo Tips: Seven Rules for Better Typography. Check it out!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

IDML is the new INX

InDesign has always had the ability to export a file that can be opened in a version of InDesign one version back. In the past, this was achieved by choosing File > Export and choosing the "InDesign Interchange (INX)" format. The resulting INX file can then be opened by the next-oldest version of InDesign.

Starting with InDesign CS5, the INX format is gone, replaced by the "InDesign Markup (IDML) format. This format functions exactly like the previous INX format for opening in the previous version of InDesign.

The IDML format is also useful for resurrecting a damaged InDesign file, as I wrote about previously.

Why the change? The IDML format is a well-documented XML-based format that makes it possible for developers and scripters to automate InDesign document creation and modification, beyond what was possible with the old INX format.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Multiple monitor productivity

Eighteen months ago I wrote about the efficiency benefits of using multiple monitors. That blog post caught the eye of the folks at Sewell Direct. They are looking for folks to participate in a short survey about the benefits of multiple monitors:

"Basically we’re investigating whether there is a correlation between the number and size of one’s monitors and how much they make. While there has been a lot of talk about how they increase your productivity, we’re aiming to find out if full-time workers using larger/more displays are actually paid more."

You can participate in the very short, anonymous 5-question survey here.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Adobe Illustrator how-to guides

If you use Illustrator CS4 or CS5, don't miss the wonderful "how-to" guides that Adobe has created. These guides consist of original artwork created by Von Glitschka, Greg Geisler, Philippe Intraligi, Shadow Chen and other talented illustrators. Accompanying each piece of artwork is a PDF that documents the steps that the artist took to create the artwork.

The PDFs provide a peek into the technical aspects of how each artist uses Illustrator to execute their unique style. The guides are a good source to get inspired to use some of the newer features of Illustrator CS4 and CS5.

The PDFs are installed into your Adobe Illustrator CS4/5 program folder, in the Cool Extras/en_US/Sample Files/Sample Art/How Did They Do That folder. You can also view a few of the CS5 how-to guides on Adobe's Web site.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Becoming an ACE

I'm frequently asked about the best way to prepare to become ACE certified in Adobe InDesign, Photoshop, Illustrator, Acrobat or other Adobe products.

An Adobe Certified Expert (ACE) "is a person who has demonstrated a professional level in proficiency with one or more Adobe software products." The steps to become an ACE are listed here. The primary task is to complete a "product proficiency exam" on the product for which you're seeking certification.

These exams aren't easy. They involve setting up a testing appointment at your closest Adobe-affiliated testing center, going to the testing location, and completing a 1-2 hour test. The tests are multiple-choice, presented on a computer screen. The toughest part is that you will not have the software in front of you to refer to while you're taking the test. So you have to know your stuff.

The key to preparation is to study the exam preparation guides. These guides detail exactly what topic areas of the program will be covered on the test, as well as what percentages of the test questions will pertain to each topic. In addition, each guide contains several sample questions.

For example, the InDesign CS4 guide says that there will be 4 questions (6% of the total test questions) on "working with tables". It goes on to say that you need to know how to modify tables, edit and format a table, create, apply, import, modify, and organize cell and table styles, and update the information in a table when the original data has changed. The exam guide gives similar detail for the other seven topic areas that will be covered.

So the key to passing the test is to study the exam guide, and learn and practice the topic areas that you don't know well.

Other helpful resources:

* Mike Rankin has written The InDesignSecrets Guide to the InDesign CS4 ACE Exam, helpful in preparing for that exam.

* exam aids has created simulated ACE tests for many Adobe products to help users prepare for the ACE exams.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Preview multiple pages in Bridge

The Preview panel (Window > Preview) of Bridge lets you view each page of multi-page documents.

1. You can view each page of a multi-page InDesign CS5 file. For this to work, in InDesign CS5 you must choose Preferences > File Handling, and choose All Pages from the Pages drop down list.

2. You can preview each page of any multipage PDF file

3. You can preview each artboard of a multiple-artboard Illustrator CS4 or newer file.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Rounding one corner of a rectangle in Illustrator

I needed to round one corner of a rectangle in Illustrator today. This requires just a couple easy clicks in InDesign CS5. But in Illustrator this isn't so easy. Sure, there are various sneaky ways to do it without too much work, but it got me thinking about what the easiest way might be.

I'm convinced that the absolute easiest way to do this in Illustrator is with a free script from Hiroyuki Sato. Download the scripts (for AI CS - CS5) here, unzip them, and put the resulting folder somewhere you can find it. Then, whenever you need to round one or more corners of a rectangle (or any other shape, for that matter), select the corner(s) with the Direct Selection tool. Then choose File > Scripts > Other Scripts and select the folder containing the scripts. Select the Round Any Corner script, and you're done!

(While you're at it, check out some of the other cool scripts that Hiroyuki has written. I wrote about this previously here.)

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

A nice touch

I was using Bridge CS5 today, and accidentally hit Command-d. To my surprise, the dialog box pictured below appeared.

I thought this was an awfully nice touch. Instead of just taking over the popular Command-d shortcut, which has been problematic because it is used for different things in the operating system, InDesign and Photoshop, Bridge gives you a choice. The first time you press Command-d in Bridge CS5, you are able to specify what you want the shortcut to do. No need to learn how to use a keyboard shortcut editor. Nice!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Import/Export custom workspaces in Photoshop

On his excellent blog, Photoshop Principal Product Manager John Nack wrote today about a script that enables you to export workspaces from Photoshop on one computer, and then import those workspaces on another computer. There are ways to do this without the script, but this script makes it simple and trouble-free.

Curiously, I was asked about how to do this in a seminar I was speaking at today, and then ran across John's blog post after the seminar!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Tile printing in Illustrator CS4/CS5

In a recent Illustrator training session we had created artwork with three large (24” x 36”) artboards. Someone in the class asked how to tile print the artwork onto 11” x 17” paper. “No problem” I said, just select the Tile option in Illustrator’s Print dialog.

But when we looked, that option was grayed out.

This stumped me for a moment. But then we figured out that to tile print files that have multiple artboards, you need to select the Ignore Artboards option in the Print dialog box, then the Tile option becomes available.

If your file consists of just a single large artboard, you don’t need to select the Ignore Artboards option.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Live Captions in InDesign CS5

I just wrote a post over at InDesignSecrets with some cool tips for using the new Live Caption feature in InDesign CS5. Be sure to check it out!

Quickly enter Metadata in Adobe Creative Suite

Command-option-shift-i (Macintosh) or ctrl-alt-shift-i (Windows), or File > File Info displays a dialog box that lets you view and enter metadata about the file you’re currently editing. This works in InDesign, InCopy, Illustrator, Photoshop and Bridge.

Unfortunately, Flash, Fireworks, Soundbooth and Acrobat march to the beat of a different drummer:

In Flash, the menu command is still File > File Info, but there's no keyboard shortcut assigned.

In Fireworks, the menu command is File > File Info, but the keyboard shortcut is command-option-shift-f/ctrl-alt-shift-f.

In Soundbooth, metadata is entered in the Metadata panel (Window > Metadata).

In Acrobat, you access the metadata for the current document by choosing File > Properties, or pressing command-d (Macintosh) or ctrl-d (Windows).

Monday, May 17, 2010

InDesign User Group meeting

If you're in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area, come and check out the Minneapolis InDesign User Group meeting, Tuesday night May 18, 2010. These meetings are a lot of fun, a great way to learn more about InDesign, and free! Over 200 people are pre-registered for this meeting, to be held in the large auditorium at MCAD. This meeting will be an excellent chance to get a detailed look at what's new in InDesign CS5.

See the InDesign User Group Web site for more information and to register to attend. Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Auto-Show Hidden Panels

InDesign, Illustrator and Photoshop let you to hide and show all your panels by hitting the Tab key (as long as you're not typing/editing text). In Flash Professional you do the same thing with the F4 key.

In the CS4 or CS5 versions of these products, if you ctrl-click (Mac) or right-click (Windows) on the top of any panel, and choose Auto-Show Hidden Panels, then, when you hide the panels, you can temporarily reveal them by hovering with your mouse over the thin vertical gray bar at the left or right sides of the window.

If you you don't have the Application Frame turned on (Window > Application Frame), you'll need to slam your mouse into the right or left side of the screen to make the vertical gray bar appear.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Preparing an InDesign file for an XML workflow

InDesign has great features for importing XML data from a database, or for exporting the contents of pages to XML format for re-use elsewhere. If you think that a project you're working on might someday become part of an automated XML workflow, here are some things to take into consideration as you set up your InDesign files.

General file setup

Your InDesign file should use master pages, margins and guides intelligently. Use margins and guides on your master pages to guide placement of text frames on your document pages.

Try to "flow" text in threaded text frames as much as possible, as opposed to individual text frames containing standalone bits of text. Your design and the type of data it contain will affect this, but it's a good rule in general.

All text must be fully styled with Paragraph and Character styles, and objects should be assigned Object styles where possible. No local formatting of text is allowed.

Rules for naming XML tags

XML data consists of text marked up with "tags" that look like this:

<head1>This is a headline</head1>

There are a few rules for how these tags can be named:

• Tag names cannot contain spaces
• Tag names are case-sensitive
• Tag names can’t start with “xml”, a number, or punctuation

Matching tag names to styles

A big part of any XML workflow, either into InDesign or out of InDesign, is to match up InDesign’s character and paragraph styles with XML tags. This can be done automatically if you’re lucky enough to have your XML tag names and your InDesign character and paragraph style names be exactly the same. So, when naming your InDesign styles, it's a good practice to follow the above rules for naming XML tags. If data with XML tag names already exist, consider naming your InDesign character and paragraph styles to match. If you’re in charge of creating XML tags, give them the exact same names as existing InDesign character and paragraph styles. This isn’t absolutely necessary, as there are other ways to map InDesign character and paragraph style names to XML tags, but it makes the process a whole lot easier.

Click here to read about four recent XML-InDesign automation projects I worked on, and the unique problems solved by each.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Adobe Creative Suite 5 now shipping

Adobe announced last night that CS5, announced on April 12, is now shipping. Also, for the first time, you can download a free trial of the entire CS5 Master Collection (18 programs!) as a single 5+ gigabyte download.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Spotlight sees PSD layer names, Adobe Bridge doesn't

Did you know that the Mac OS X Spotlight feature has the ability to "see" the layer names in Photoshop .psd files? If you have a layer named "timbuktu" in a Photoshop .psd image, and you do a spotlight search for "timbuktu" that image will be found. This could be useful if you misplace a file and for some strange reason you can't recall the filename but you do remember the name of one of the layers. Or, if you need to display all the files in a particular folder to which you've applied a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer.

You can also quickly view the layer names in a .psd file by selecting the file in the Macintosh Finder and choosing File > Get Info.

As an alternative to Spotlight, check out EasyFind. I use this free utility frequently and love it.

Alas, Adobe Bridge, with all of its metadata wonderfulness, can't search for or display Photoshop layer names.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Typography on the iPad

Stephen Coles wrote a great piece on the FontFeed blog about typography (or lack thereof) on Apple's new iPad, and also covers some points about the iPhone and Mac OS X.

Justified type without hyphenation in iBooks?

iBooks don't recognize embedded fonts?

No widow-orphan control?


See also Liz Castro's great posts about the iPad, the ePub standard, and InDesign.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Add new capabilities to InDesign & InCopy

I've been doing a lot of writing lately. I usually start a writing project in Word or NeoOffice, so that I can use an outliner to quickly organize and rearrange my thoughts. I also rely on the thesaurus in those programs.

But sometimes for various reasons I do my writing in InDesign. But InDesign doesn't have a Thesaurus, and I miss that. But thanks to Mac OS X "Services", I can access a thesaurus from within InDesign. Just select a word, 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. From there, I can click on Thesaurus to explore alternate words, or Wikipedia to learn more about the word.

Other services that I've sometimes used in InDesign or InCopy include Show Address in Google Maps, Search With Google and Open URL.

These options in the Services section of theInDesign menu (aka the Application menu) are provided by OS X, and work in many Macintosh applications (but not Illustrator, Photoshop or Flash unfortunately). So this is a Macintosh-only feature. I don't know of a similar technology available on Windows.

In OS X 10.6, you may need to choose InDesign > Services > Services Preferences to turn on some of the services mentioned above. Only services that have a check mark next to them will show up in your Services menu.

I've also installed WordService and CalcService from DEVONtechnologies. These free downloads add a bunch of text and number processing features to the Services menu. Particularly handy is the ability to quickly insert the current date and time into your text, and the ability to do math in InDesign.

If you frequently need to shorten URLs in your text, check out this solution for, This is really slick. You just select a long URL in InDesign, choose InDesign > Services > Shorten URL with, and is contacted, the URL is shortened, and your long URL is replaced with the short URL. Click here for solutions for TinyURL and various other URL shorteners.

Warning, I encountered one serious bug while messing around with this. If I have a cell or any other portion of a table selected, and I choose InDesign > Services, InDesign crashes immediately. I'm running InDesign CS4 6.0.4 on Mac OS X 10.6.3.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Check out InDesignSecrets!

My friends David Blatner and Anne-Marie Concepcion over at the popular InDesignSecrets blog and podcast have asked me to become a regular contributor to their blog...and I've agreed. I'm certainly not going to curtail, or even reduce, my postings here. Writing for InDesignSecrets will be in addition to what I do here. A couple of weeks ago I put up a post about a cool Styles panel trick, and today I put up a post about importing spreadsheets into InDesign.

If you're not familiar with David and Anne-Marie, you need to give the InDesignSecrets podcast a listen. Somehow, they make listening to a dialog about the Separations Preview panel or find/change minutae fun and entertaining. A great way to pick up InDesign tips while you're running, walking, driving or whatever else you can do while listening to audio.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Creative Suite 5 announced

Finally, the cat's out of the bag. Adobe announced Creative Suite 5 today. I'm really impressed with this release. For designers, there's something for everyone. But you might have to dig beyond Adobe's marketing messaging to discover the features and improvements that will affect you.

Begin by watching the 35 minute launch video. This will give you a general idea of where Adobe thinks the design market is headed in the future. Don't expect to see a lot of coverage of InDesign, Photoshop and Illustrator. In fact, at least the first 5 and last 5 minutes are devoted to Flash Player 10.1, Adobe Omniture, Flash Media Server, Scene7 and Business Catalyst. These are all products that don't directly impact the lives of most But don't despair! There are HUGE improvements for designers using InDesign, Illustrator, Photoshop, Flash and Dreamweaver in CS5.

Much will be written about the many new features both here and elsewhere in the upcoming weeks and months. But right now, one way to get a sense of what's new is to view AdobeTV and visit the "What's New" page on for each product. Here are some links directly to that content.

InDesign [AdobeTV] [What's New]
Photoshop [AdobeTV] [What's New]
Illustrator [AdobeTV] [What's New]
Flash Professional [AdobeTV] [What's New]
Dreamweaver [AdobeTV] [What's New]

My friends over at InDesignSecrets have compiled a detailed writeup of many of the new features of InDesign. A must-read if you use InDesign.

Flash Catalyst is a brand-new application that's bundled with Creative Suite Design Premium, Web Premium and Master Collection. I'm really excited about this application. I've been using it a lot and will be writing more about it here in the future. Flash Catalyst allows designers to create interactive content without writing code, using Illustrator and Photoshop as a starting point. Learn more about it here, or see it on AdobeTV.

Besides the big shiny new features for each product, the InDesign, Illustrator and Photoshop development teams all spent a lot of time smoothing off rough edges, polishing existing features, and adding "little things" that customers have been requesting. The Photoshop team called this process JDI (Just Do It). One could argue that for some users, these little things equal the big shiny features in importance for day-to-day productivity.

If it seems hard to keep up, consider this. Adobe has released 5 versions of the Suite in less than 7 years! The first verson of Creative Suite was released in October 2003. Whew!

Adobe expects to ship English language versions of Creative Suite 5 by mid-May 2010.

Monday, April 05, 2010

iPad and Adobe

Apple is reporting today that they've sold over 300,000 iPads in the US as of midnight April 3, and that these early users have already downloaded over one million apps and over 250,000 eBooks. With all the frenzy around the release of Apple's iPad, it's interesting to note that Adobe has also jumped on the bandwagon with a free sketching app for the iPad called Adobe Ideas.

I don't have an iPad . . . yet. I'm really interested to see where this all goes. Will it change the way creatives work? Will it change the way we consume information? Will it be a great entertainment device? Time will tell. This is an exciting time to be involved in the creative, publishing or entertainment industries!

How to create a clean Illustrator file

Have you noticed that every document you create in Illustrator contains a bunch of default swatches, graphic styles, brushes and symbols? These can make it difficult to locate and use the specific swatches, brushes etc. that you create for the project at hand. In addition, they make your AI and EPS files larger than they need to be. You can fix this. Here's how to do it in Illustrator CS3 and CS4.

1. Search your computer for a folder named New Document Profiles.

On my Macintosh with Illustrator CS3, it's found in:
My_home_folder > Library > Application Supoort > Adobe > Adobe Illustrator CS3

On my Macintosh with Illustrator CS4, it's found in:
My_home_folder > Library > Application Supoort > Adobe > Adobe Illustrator CS4 > en_US

On my Windows Vista computer with Illustrator CS3, it's found in:
My_user_folder > AppData > Roaming > Adobe > Adobe Illustrator CS3 Settings

On my Windows Vista computer with Illustrator CS4, it's found in:
My_user_folder > AppData > Roaming > Adobe > Adobe Illustrator CS4 Settings > en_US

The location of your folder may vary depending on your configuration. Make a note of the location where you found the folder. You will need this later.

2. Run Illustrator, and choose File > New.

3. In the New Document dialog box, choose Print (or Web) for the New Document Profile, then click the OK button.

4. Choose Window > Actions to display the Actions panel, and play the Delete Unused Panel Items action. This will delete the extra swatches, brushes, graphic styles and symbols from the blank document you have open.

5. Examine the Swatches panel. You may see a few stray swatches or Color Groups still there. Delete any of these that you don't want. If you have certain colors that you DO always want to appear in your Swatches panel, add them now.

6. Choose File > Save, and name the file something like "Print-clean" (or "Web-clean" if you started with the Web profile in step 3). Save the file into the location you made note of in step 1.

7. Choose File > Close.

That's're finished! To start a new file with the "cleaned" settings, choose File > New, and choose Print-clean or Web-clean for the New Document Profile, and a new document with nice empty swatches, brushes, graphic styles and symbols panels will appear, ready for you to create your own swatches, brushes, etc.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Interesting OpenType statistics

Ran across this chart today on FontShop's 20 year anniversary page:

I found it interesting that it wasn't until recently that OpenType font sales surpassed the sales of PostScript fonts. The OpenType format was announced in 1996 and major applications and operating systems have supported it for a number of years now. Makes me wonder who is still buying PostScript (or TrueType) fonts and why?

OpenType fonts have several big advantages over PostScript or TrueType fonts, including:

  • A single file per font: makes distribution and installation easier more trouble-free
  • Cross platform: the same font file works on Macintosh or Windows
  • Support for large character sets: wonderful for multilingual projects
  • Special extended features in some fonts and applications: support for alternate characters, fractions, oldstyle numerals and more

There's no reason that I can think of for most designers to be purchasing PostScript or TrueType versions of fonts any longer. So the next time you buy a font, think OpenType!

Also of interest: A pie chart on FontShop's 20 year anniversary page claims that 25% of the support requests are about fonts on the Macintosh platform, and 75% are about the Windows platform. No surprise there!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Workspaces added to is Adobe's solution for "cloud-based" file sharing and collaboration. Today Adobe added the ability to create online "workspaces" where you can share files with designated groups of people. Specifically, the free version of gives you the following capabilities:
  • Create and maintain one workspace at a time, and share that workspace with as many people as you like

  • Store up to 2 gigabytes of files, and keep them private, or share individual files with a workspace, with individuals or the general public. A single file can't exceed 100 megabytes.

  • Convert up to 5 files to PDF format

  • Host online meetings and screen-share with up to 2 other participants besides yourself

  • Use the online applications Buzzword (word processing), Presentations, and Tables (spreadsheet)
A monthly fee based "Basic" or "Plus" subscription increases these limits.

I frequently use for file sharing. The AIR application makes it easy to drag and drop files from your computer to

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Adobe CS5 tease

Adobe has "announced" that Creative Suite 5 will be announced on April 12, 2010. You can sign up for the on-line launch event here.

See also the Adobe Creative Suite Buzz Hub.

19 days, hour, 5 minutes and 29 seconds until launch as I write this. I can't wait!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

InDesign's Edit Original command

Did you know that you can quickly edit placed artwork and images in Photoshop, Illustrator and other programs from within InDesign? Here's how:

Select a placed bitmap image (something you can edit in Photoshop) or placed vector artwork (something you can edit in Illustrator). Right click or ctrl-click on the image, and choose Edit Original from the context menu. If everything is configured properly on your computer, the program that created the image or artwork should launch, and the image will open. From there, you can edit the image to your heart's content. When you're finished, close the image, save your changes, and click back on your InDesign page. Your changes will be immediately visible on the InDesign page.

But what if this doesn't work? A common Macintosh problem is that you might choose the Edit Original command with an EPS file selected, and Preview will launch instead of Illustrator. Or you might have a JPEG selected and Edit Original will launch your Web Browser instead of Photoshop. If this happens, it's because InDesign defers to the operating system for the mapping between the file type (JPEG, PSD, TIF, EPS, etc.) and what program should be used to open that file type. This mapping can get messed up for any number of reasons. If so, it will be messed up in InDesign also.

Fixing this on the operating system level is a topic for another post. But InDesign CS4 offers an easy workaround. Instead of choosing Edit Original, choose Edit With, and choose the application you want to use to edit the file.

There are three alternatives to choosingEdit Original in the context menu:

1. You can option double-click (Mac) or alt double-click (Windows) on the image

2. You can click on the pencil icon at the bottom of the Links panel

3. You can choose Edit Original from the Links panel menu.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Free t-shirt mockups

So you've designed the next killer t-shirt design (like the one below!), but you want to preview what it will look like on an actual shirt? A new web site lets you do this in a couple of! lets you choose from a variety of t-shirt styles, upload your artwork, position it on the shirt, change the shirt color, and download a jpeg of the results.

Other options for mocking up t-shirts include Photoshop templates from Arsenal, or some of these free resources at SpoonGraphics.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Free utility adds features to Acrobat forms

The Advanced Acroform Toolset from FormRouter adds some cool new capabilities to Adobe Acrobat Pro 7 or 8, or Acrobat 9 Standard, Pro or Pro Extended.

This free utility adds a toolbar to Acrobat that lets you do some powerful things with Acrobat forms without the need to write complex JavaScript code, such as:

* Add a date selection widget to a date field

* Add a "Combo Box" (dropdown) field that's prepopulated with common data lists, such as countries, U.S. states, credit card types, major currencies and more

* Add a text field that is will be validated during data entry, checking to make sure the data entered is an email address, credit card number, IP address etc. If you need to validate in a way that isn't in the list, you can choose "custom" and enter a regular expression string that describes the desired validation.

* Create a Combo box that is a required field

* Add a "file browse" button that allows the form user to specify a file to be uploaded and submitted with the form

* Add a "test submit" button that will submit all the field names and the entered data to a test server and return a PDF listing showing the values submitted

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Free stock images and video clips Creative Stock Images offers a Daily Free Stock Image. Every day they give away a new high-res stock image or vector image completely free. They make it completely simple with an RSS feed, so you can have a link to each day's free image appear in your in box.

Crestock is running a special deal for the month of March: a 6 month, 10 image/day subscription for $499, or a 12 month, 10 image/day subscription for $699.

Artbeats Royalty-Free Stock Footage offers a free high-quality video clip each day on their Web site for registered users. The clip is available in HD, NTSC and PAL formats. A great way to build a selection of clips for use in Flash animations, Powerpoint presentations or video projects.

* Full disclosure: I'm an affiliate of Crestock. This means that if you visit Crestock from here, and eventually buy something, I might make a few bucks.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Reader-enabling forms in Acrobat 9 Pro

Acrobat 8 Pro and 9 Pro enable you to "Reader Enable" a fillable form so that users of Adobe Reader can save the form locally after they've filled it in. However, Adobe also sells the Adobe LiveCycle Reader Extensions ES2 server software that Reader Enables forms. So, why would you need to purchase the server software if you have Acrobat 8 or 9 Pro?

The answer lies in the EULA (End User License Agreement). Here's an excerpt from the Acrobat 9 Pro EULA:

So, the way I understand it, is that you can either a) send a form to an unlimited number of users, as long as less than 500 are returned to you, or b) send a form to an audience of no more than 500 people, who can return an unlimited number of instances of the form. Beyond this, you need to purchase the LiveCycle Reader Extensions product.

I was asked about the scenario of sending a form to an unlimited number of users, who would only return the form in hard copy format, not electronically. I asked an Adobe Business Development Manager about this. His reply was "If the form is returned in any format -- even print -- then that triggers the 500 response limit."

There's a lot of confusion around this issue. My hope is that this clears things up a bit.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

XML and InDesign case studies

I've been asked to work on some real interesting projects lately, all involving working bringing XML data into InDesign, or getting XML out of InDesign. Most of these projects involve automating the production of complex catalogs from product databases.

This sort of thing is kind of hard to get your head around, so I've put together a series of four "case studies" (1 page PDF each) that attempt to explain in a few paragraphs what each project involved, what challenges were faced, and how they were solved.

Case study 1: A company that sells molecules to research scientists asked me to develop a way for them to efficiently produce a massive 975 page catalog from their product database. Read the solution here.

Case study 2: An electronic components distributor asked me to automate production of complex "new product" brochures that are produced several times a year in eight languages each. Find the solution here.

Case study 3: A company that sells cake decorating supplies hired me to create an automated catalog production workflow that doesn't sacrifice designer's creative freedom. Discover the solution here.

Case study 4: A publisher of legal texts asked me to develop a way to extract product name, descripton and price information from hundreds of formatted InDesign files in XML format so they could import the information into their database. Read about it here.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

CreativeBloc 2010

If you're located anywhere near Eastern Iowa, check out CreativeBloc 2010, sponsored by AAF of Eastern Iowa. I'll be presenting four seminar sessions on CS4, InDesign, Photoshop and Flash at this event in Waterloo, Iowa on March 19. Please join me if you can!

Monday, March 01, 2010

Convert Illustrator artwork to grayscale

I'm often asked how to turn full color Illustrator artwork into a grayscale equivalent. This is simple if you know where to look:

1. Open your color .ai or .eps file in Adobe Illustrator CS3/CS4

2. Select the artwork that you want to convert to grayscale

3. Choose Edit > Edit Colors > Convert to Grayscale

That's all there is to it. If the colors in your original artwork don't map to pleasing grays, you can try one or more of the following to adjust the tonal values of the grays:

* Convert your file from CMYK to RGB or vice versa by choosing File > Document Color Mode before you convert it to grayscale. Even though the colors may not look much different in RGB or CMYK on the screen, they will convert to different grayscale tones.

* Choose Edit > Edit Colors > Adjust Color Balance before or after you convert the artwork to grayscale

* Choose Edit > Edit Colors > Saturate after you convert the artwork to grayscale.

Monday, February 22, 2010

How to control the "View PDF After Exporting" setting in InDesign

Deb wrote and asked:

"Do you know where I change the setting to automatically open a PDF when it is created? I tried changing it in my preferences and printing settings, but the PDFs still automatically open."

If you use File > Export to create PDFs from InDesign or InCopy, you may find it helpful to have the resulting PDF automatically displayed in Acrobat after it's created. Or, like Deb, perhaps this behavior annoys you and you'd prefer to turn it off. This pesky setting often leads to confusion and frustration, because it behaves unlike any other setting in InDesign.

The View PDF After Exporting option in the Export Adobe PDF dialog box is the key to making this work the way you want it to. If this option is checked, then PDFs created from InDesign will automatically be displayed on the screen after they're created. If this option isn't checked, the PDFs won't be displayed.

The tricky thing about this setting is that it is NOT memorized with any PDF Presets that you create. To enable or disable this setting, you need to open an InDesign file, and then choose File > Export and select Adobe PDF for the format (or choose File > Adobe PDF Presets and select a preset). Then, in the Export Adobe PDF dialog box, select or deselect "View PDF After Exporting", and click the Export button.

You must create at least one PDF with the setting selected the way you want, and then it will "stick" that way until you change it again.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Preview Web sites across browsers with Adobe Browserlab

If you design Web sites, particularly with CSS, you know the frustration of trying to make a page look the way you want in different browsers. This is a constant battle for Web designers.

Adobe is showing a cool new technology at Adobe Labs called Adobe BrowserLab. Currently in "free preview" status, BrowserLab lets you quickly preview what a Web page looks like in several different browsers. When you enter a url into the address field in BrowserLab, this address is sent to a "server farm" of real computers running clean installations of the browsers and operating system you choose. A screen shot of the result is sent back to you for viewing and comparison. You can easily save these screen shots as jpeg files for client presentation.

Adobe isn't the one doing this. Competitors include BrowserShots, BrowserCam, Browsrcamp, Total Validator, AnyBrowser and NetMechanic. However, what really sets Adobe Browserlab apart from the competition is integration with Adobe Dreamweaver CS4. If you download the BrowserLab Extensions for Dreamweaver, you can easily view various states of dynamically built pages in different browsers.

For example, if I want to see what a particular drop-down menu looks like on my Web site, I can open the page in Dreamweaver, click on the Live View button, pull down a menu, and hit F6 to "freeze" the JavaScript. Then, I choose command-shift-F12 to preview the page in BrowserLab, and within a few seconds, I get the result shown below.

Monday, February 08, 2010

Missing Pages Panel icons in InDesign

Clients from two separate companies in the last month have asked me the same thing: they've "lost" the icons that normally appear at the bottom of the Pages panel in InDesign, as pictured below.

In both cases, the solution was simple, just delete InDesign's preferences files, and the problem goes away! See this post for instructions on how to easily delete InDesign's preferences files.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Changing InDesign's default font

Karen wrote and asked:

"I've searched but can't seem to find how to change the default font for InDesign. The default that comes up is Times Roman. Since i don't activate that font, I'd like it to be something else. Is there a way to change it?"

This is a question that comes up frequently. The answer is simple but not obvious:

1. Run InDesign, but don't open a document

2. With no document open, select the Type tool and use the fields in the Control panel to choose the font, size and any other attributes that you want for the defaults

3. Quit InDesign.

Now, the font that you chose in step two will be the default for all new documents that you create.

Flash Good or Flash Bad?

Apple's introduction of the iPad has created controversy because of its inability (along with the iPhone) to show or play any Flash content from Web sites. This has ignited a firestorm of articles, opinions, blog posts and lengthy comment threads on the Web about the pros and cons of including Flash content on a Web site, as well as the merits of Flash vs. competing technologies for delivering vector animation and video playback on the Web.

This controversy should be of interest to every designer today. Increasingly, designers are either already creating Flash content or are wanting to learn how to create Flash content. It's obvious that Adobe wants to provide tools for designers to allow them to create interactive design without coding, judging by projects like Flash Catalyst and the new Flash export capabilities found in InDesign CS4.

Here are a few recent links about this controversy:

  • Kevin Lynch, Adobe's CTO, shares his thoughts here and here.

  • John Nack, Principal Product Manager for Adobe Photoshop and frequent and eloquent blogger, has interesting posts here and here.

  • Mike Rankin weighs in here.

If you're wondering..."How bad could it be? How would my browsing experience change without Flash?" see this post from Seattle's CreativeTechs for a discussion of browser add-ons that will allow you to temporarily block Flash content while you browse. This is a quick way to get a feel for how many Web sites that you visit contain Flash content.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Three local educational opportunities

The InDesignSecrets Live, 2010 Tour with Anne-Marie Concepción is coming to Minneapolis on March 17. (I'll be one of the speakers at the InDesignSecrets Print and ePublishing Conference May 12-14 2010 at the Adobe Campus in Seattle, WA.) Contact me for a discount code for either of these events.

Flashbelt, a conference for "new media designers, developers and enthusiasts" is scheduled for June 13-16 2010 in Minneapolis.

An Event Apart, "an intensely educational two-day conference for passionate practitioners of standards-based web design" is coming to Minneapolis July 26-27 2010.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Pimp my Image Processor

The Image Processor in Photoshop CS4 is a simple, fast way to quickly resize and convert a bunch of images to JPEG, PSD or TIFF format. One shortcoming of the Image Processor is that if you use it to export JPEG images, they're converted to RGB. Thankfully, this Photoshop feature is written in JavaScript, which means that anyone who knows a bit of JavaScript and Photoshop can modify it.

Well, Mike Hale has done just that. He's tweaked the Image Processor script to add support for exporting CMYK JPEGs as CMYK, as well as support for exporting PNG images. You can download his modified script here. To install the script:

1. Unzip the downloaded file. Rename the Image Processor CS4 PNG.jsx file to Image Processor.jsx

2. In your Adobe Photoshop CS4/Presets/Scripts/ folder, move the file Image Processor.jsx into another folder somewhere as a backup

3. Copy the Image Processor.jsx file from step 1 into the Adobe Photoshop CS4/Presets/Scripts folder.

You can access the Image Processor script from either File > Scripts > Image Processor in Photoshop, or, better yet, from Tools > Photoshop > Image Processor in Bridge.

Another script for exporting CMYK JPEG images is the Dr. Brown's Services collection of scripts from Adobe's own Russell Brown. The Dr. Brown 1-2-3 Process script that's included with the collection allows you to not only export CMYK JPEGs as CMYK, but also to convert RGB to CYMK or vice versa while exporting.

Minnesota Dreamweavers User Group

A new user group has formed in the Twin Cities: The Minnesota Dreamweavers User Group. The user group is organized by Keith Gulsvig and sponsored by Central Coast Solutions and Hennepin Technical College. If you're interested in all things Web (and you should be!), this is a good free local resource.

Minnesota Dreamweavers User Group, Wednesday, January 27th.

This month's meeting will be a panel discussion focusing on where the web is today, and where it's going. The panel consists of professionals active in various aspects of website creation and management.

At the end of the evening there will a drawing for door prizes.

This meeting is FREE and open to the public.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010
7:00 PM to 9:00 PM
Hennepin Technical College - Auditorium
Brooklyn Park Campus
9000 Brooklyn Boulevard, Brooklyn Park, MN 55445

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Make the No Break attribute visible in InDesign

Selecting some text and then choosing No Break from the Control panel menu in InDesign is a good way to keep words together or to control line breaks. The problem with this command is that there is no quick way to tell later where in your text the command has been applied.

Ideally, there would be a way to use composition highlighting (Preferences > Composition) to display where No Break has been applied, but this isn't an option.

A neat technique in InDesign CS4 for highlighting text with the No Break attribute is to create a condition called "nobreak" that consists of a colored highlight.

Next, use Edit > Find/Change to search for the No Break attribute, and assign the "nobreak" condition to the found text. You'll need to repeat the Find/Change then the text is updated and you want to view the highlighted No Break text, but this is a slick technique.

There's no reason to go to all this work by hand. Peter Kahrel, an amazing British InDesign scripter, has created a free script called Highlight No Break which automates the steps above with a single click.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Tooltip script for InDesign

Back in 2007 I wrote an article for InDesign Magazine on how to add PDF tooltips to an InDesign CS3 file. (Examples of PDFs that incorporate PDF tooltips can be found here and here). In InDesign CS4, Adobe completely reworked the way that buttons are created and edited. The change was for the better, except that in the process, Adobe removed the dialog box that allowed you to enter and edit tooltips. The underlying code for handling tooltips is still in CS4, but the dialog box for viewing, editing and adding tooltips is gone.

I've written a script that adds the functionality for viewing, editing and adding tooltip text to buttons back to InDesign CS4. You can download the "Tooltip" script here.

Monday, January 11, 2010

InDesign drag and drop tricks

You can "drag and drop" to cut and paste text from one location on the page to another in Adobe InDesign, but the feature is disabled by default. To enable it, visit Preferences > Type, and select the "Enable in Layout View" option under the "Drag and Drop Text Editing" heading. Then, if you select some text with the Type tool, you can drag the text to a new location, and the text will be cut out of the original location and pasted in the new location. In other words, the same results as choosing Edit > Cut and then Edit > Paste, but easier.

Here are some useful modifier keys that you can use with drag and drop:

Hold down the option (Mac) or alt (Windows) key after you begin to drag to enable a copy and paste, leaving the text in the original location and copying it to the new location.

Add the command (Mac) or ctrl (Windows) key while dragging to create a new frame for the text you are dragging.

Add the shift key while dragging to cut or copy the text as “unformatted” text, so it inherits the formatting of the surrounding text (this is new in InDesign CS3).

Of course, you can combine any of these shortcuts. For example, add option-command (Mac) or alt-ctrl (Windows) to copy the text to a new frame.