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 fonts.com 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.