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.