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.