Friday, December 21, 2012

3 interesting industry news items

Three interesting design-related happenings in the last couple of days:

1. Adobe has announced that it has acquired Behance, "a leading online social media platform that enables creatives to showcase and share their work." Read the press release from Adobe here, a blog post from David Wadhwani here, and the spin from Behance here. Adobe says that "All Creative Cloud members will soon gain access to the base Behance capabilities (like portfolio creation and community features) while paid Creative Cloud members will also have access to premium capabilities (like Behance ProSite)."

2. Adobe axed some of their "Touch Apps" for tablets. In particular, they "will no longer be updating Adobe Debut, Adobe Collage, Adobe Proto, or the Android versions of Adobe Ideas and Adobe Kuler". Read more about this decision here. Obviously, tablets are great for content consumption. But in my opinion, people are still trying to sort out what content creation tasks tablets are good for. These apps may have been ahead of their time. Note that Adobe is continuing to develop Adobe Photoshop Touch and the iOS version of Adobe Ideas, as well as Adobe Revel.

3. Microsoft has phased out its Expression suite of Web and design-oriented tools. See the explanation from Microsoft here. According to this excellent article at ArsTechnica, "Microsoft is essentially ending the development of any tooling that is oriented at design professionals rather than developers". 

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

InData 2.0 update released

Em Software has just released InData 2.0 for InDesign CS5-6. According to the company this update "along with various accumulated fixes and improvements, finally adds full support for text anchors, hyperlinks and cross-references."

I've used previous versions of this valuable InDesign plug-in for several projects, and can vouch for its usefulness. It's best described as "mail merge on steroids". If you've tried the Data Merge feature of InDesign, but have been hampered by its limitations, you'll love InData. It's particularly useful for publishing directories from database information, without having to learn how to use InDesign's XML features.

Of course, if you need training on how to use InData, or consulting help with an InData project, I can do that too! Contact me if you'd like to talk about this.

EmDataGraphic 300x309


Thursday, December 13, 2012

New Adobe DPS status resource

If you create apps with Adobe Digital Publishing Suite, you come to rely heavily on Adobe's various Web services for building, previewing, and publishing apps. Adobe just released a Web site that displays the status of various DPS services. See This will be really helpful!


Thursday, December 06, 2012

Check out

As a side business, I've partnered with Steve Harmon, a talented local designer and artist based in White Bear Lake, MN, to help him sell his artwork. We've created a full e-commerce Web site ( containing over 60 products so far: prints, notecards and books. 

I'd be honored if you'd take a look at the products on the Web site. This is an easy way to do some Holiday shopping without leaving home. The Web site has fully secure shopping cart capability, so you can complete your transaction with your credit card right on the site and your items will be shipped to your home.

Purchase a print or some notecards for yourself or a loved one, and know that your purchase benefits a local artist and entrepreneur!

Since this is a blog devoted to publishing and graphic design technology, some of you may be interested to know the platform behind the Web site. The entire site was created using the Adobe Business Catalyst platform and Adobe Dreamweaver. Adobe Business Catalyst makes managing the product inventory, the shopping cart system, and the credit card processing fairly easy.

06300 large07100 large04800 large

Monday, December 03, 2012

Convert Publisher files to PDF

I was notified today of a free on-line service that looks interesting: A free Microsoft Publisher to PDF conversion service. See

I haven't tried this, but am keeping a link to it for the couple-of-times-year occasion when someone sends me a Microsoft Publisher file that I need to either just look at, or worse, convert to InDesign.


A few related links:

More free online file conversions: Cometdocs

Recosoft PDF2ID to convert PDF and XPS files to InDesign.

Markzware PUB2ID to convert Publisher to InDesign files.

Markzware PDF2DTP to edit PDF in InDesign or QuarkXPress.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Free font resources

Here are some font resources you should be aware of:

Source Sans Pro

Source Sans Pro is Adobe's first "open-source" type family. The free sans serif type family is available in 12 styles, and includes a number of OpenType features such as fractions, old style numerals, and stylistic sets. As an open-source typeface, it is completely free to use for any private or commercial purposes. You can read more about the development of Source Sans Pro here.

Source Code Pro

Source Code Pro is a monospaced version of Source Sans Pro, available in 6 styles. You can read more about the development of Source Code Pro here. This is a free open-source font.

Type sample

Google Web fonts

Google Web fonts is a directory of "hundreds of free open-source fonts optimized for the web". However, as my friend Bob Levine pointed out recently, the fonts can also be downloaded in TrueType format for use in print or digital projects. To do so,

1. Visit, browse the fonts, and add one or more fonts to your collection.

2. Click the Download your Collection link in the upper-right corner of the Web page.


3. Follow the on-screen instructions to download the fonts in your collection as a zip file. You can then unzip the file and install the TrueType fonts on your system.

Source Sans Pro, Source Code Pro, and all the Google Web fonts are all licensed using the SIL Open Font License.  

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Twin Cities InDesign User Group meeting

I've scheduled the next meeting of the Twin Cities InDesign User Group for Wednesday evening, November 28, 2012. Erica Gamet is going to be in town and has agreed to talk about how to "Multiply your layouts with CS6". Following that, I'll be doing a short presentation on advanced use of Find/Change, including a couple of useful plugins.

These meetings are a lot of fun, and free. We usually get 120-200 people attending. Don't miss it!

Please register in advance at the IDUG Web site so we know to expect you!

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Free InDesign scripts

On of the things that I spend my time on is custom Adobe InDesign script development. Over the years, customers have come to me with some very interesting workflow and automation challenges that I've been able to solve by writing a script.

But I've also written a few scripts that I give away free in the hope that someone will find them useful. These scripts are all listed and described here. These include scripts for checking documents for flipped images, automating the Package process, playing each page of your InDesign file as a slideshow, transposing characters, and more. Check them out!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Scary Typographic Education

Just in time for Halloween, the FontShop Blog contains a series of 6 blog posts about "Typographic Horrors" such as faux bold, rivers of white, fake small caps, etc. Recommended reading if you want to sharpen your typographic skills!

(via Peter Gold)

Friday, October 26, 2012

How to avoid retyping filenames

When you do an initial "Save" of a new file, you are prompted to type a filename.

Shot 1

But if you already have a file with the name that you want on your hard drive or server, you can just click on that file name in the File > Save dialog box, and the name of the file you click on will be entered as the filename. Then you can edit the filename if you don't want to overwrite the original file.

Shot 2

This is a pretty basic operating system maneuver that works on both Mac and Windows computers. I showed this to a client last week, and they were so amazed and grateful, I thought I would post it here in case others don't know about it.

Monday, October 15, 2012

2 clipboards in InDesign?

Did you know that when you are copy and pasting text in InDesign, you have 2 clipboards at your disposal? 

If you turn on Drag and Drop Text Editing in Preferences > Text, you can copy and paste or cut and paste via drag and drop, independent of the clipboard used with Edit > Cut, Edit > Copy, and Edit > Paste.

In other words, you can copy some text to the clipboard with Edit > Copy, and then cut and paste some other text via drag and drop, and then still paste the first text you copied by choosing Edit > Paste.

Some handy shortcuts to use with drag and drop text editing:

* Add the option/alt key after you begin dragging to copy the text instead of cutting it.

* Add the shift key after you begin dragging to cut or copy the text without formatting (which will cause the text to adopt the formatting of the surrounding text)

* Add the Command (Mac) or Ctrl (Windows) key after you begin dragging to create a new text frame for the text.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Recording of "Ask a CS Pro" session

Last Friday, September 21, 2012, I did an "Ask a CS Pro" Webinar for Adobe about the new Digital Publishing Suite, Single Edition workflow. In this free, one-hour session I showed how to create an App in InDesign, add interactivity, preview it on an iPad, and then use the new DPS App Builder to prepare the app for submission to Apple's App Store. If you missed the live session, and wish to view a recording, you can access the recording here.

Friday, September 21, 2012

DPS tip: auto-populate article info from InDesign metadata

Here's a neat workflow trick. In some workflows, designers create the InDesign files for each section of an Adobe Digital Publishing Suite app, but someone else in the workflow creates the articles. This means that the designer creating the InDesign file can't enter the title, byline, or description of the article, since this is added in the Folio Builder panel when the article is created later.

But, as it turns out, three of the metadata fields from InDesign map to DPS article fields. In other words, if you open an InDesign file and choose File > File Info, you can enter information in this dialog box that will be extracted by Folio Builder when an article is created from the InDesign file.

Specifically, these three fields are transferred:

  • Document Title transfers to Title
  • Author transfers to Byline
  • Description transfers to Description



After you create an article from the InDesign file, choose Article Properties from the Folio Builder panel menu, and you will see that the appropriate fields have been populated from the InDesign file information.

This workflow is also useful because if you need to rebuild your Folio and recreate your articles, the article titles, bylines, and descriptions won't be lost.

Another way to do this is to use the very useful sidecar.xml generator.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

"Ask a Pro" Webinar this Friday

This Friday, September 21, 2012, I'm doing an "Ask a Pro" Webinar for Adobe about the new Digital Publishing Suite, Single Edition workflow. In this free, one-hour session I'll show how to create an App in InDesign, add interactivity, preview it on an iPad, and then use the new DPS App Builder to prepare the app for submission to Apple's App Store. There will also be time for questions.

Registration is required. Details can be found here.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

New DPS Single Edition features

Adobe made several recent announcements and updates that are great news for designers who want to create iPad apps:

First, they announced that Creative Cloud members can now submit an unlimited number of iPad apps to the App Store for no additional charge. (In order to submit apps to the App Store, Apple still requires you to enroll in Apple's iOS Developer Program, which costs $99/year.) If you aren't a Creative Cloud member, each submitted Single Edition app costs $395. This really "sweetens the pot" for Creative Cloud membership for any designer that wants to create Single Issue iPad apps. 

Second, Version 23 of the Digital Publishing Suite tools was released. You can read about the new features here, and the bug fixes here. Among the notable new features: the ability to include vector overlays for PDF articles, ability to include high-res assets in PDF articles, ability to play audio while a user browses an article, ability to freeze a video at the last frame (finally!), and PDF support for smooth scrolling articles of any length.

Third, Version 23 of the Digital Publishing Suite includes a new, required Folio Builder panel update. This new much-improved Folio Builder includes a "Create App" command in the panel menu that passes your Folio file directly to the new DPS App Builder. This greatly simplifies the process of building Single Issue apps with DPS Single Edition.

Fourth, the new Adobe Step-by-Step Guide to Publishing iPad Apps with DPS, Single Edition was released. This valuable PDF guide is available to download at You must sign in with an Adobe ID, and agree to the DPS terms and conditions to download the guide. Once logged in, click on "Companion Guides for Submitting iOS Applications to Apple" in the Additional Resources section in the bottom right corner of the screen.

Adobe has made a significant investment in simplifying the app building process with DPS and clearly documenting this. Most of the steps involved in creating and submitting an app to the App Store are steps that are mandated by Apple, and are performed on Apple web sites. Adobe has invested in clearly documenting all the steps in the process, including the Apple steps. This new Step-by-Step guide is the culmination of this documentation. Adobe hired yours truly to expand the existing documentation, make it as crystal clear as possible, and make it designer-friendly. With a great design by Lynn Phelps, I think we succeeded. I'm convinced that anyone willing to patiently follow step by step directions will be able to successfully create and submit an app with the help of this guide.

Step by step guide to dps se Page 01

Monday, September 10, 2012

Single-issue apps vs. Multi-issue apps

Adobe's Digital Publishing Suite can be purchased in 3 configurations:

1. Single Edition

2. Professional Edition

3. Enterprise Edition.

The main difference between DPS Single Edition and the DPS Professional/Enterprise Editions is that:

a) DPS Single Edition can only create apps for the Apple iPad. DPS Professional/Enterprise Editions can create apps for iPad, iPhone, and Android devices

b) All three editions can create what are called "Single-issue" apps, but only the Professional and Enterprise Editions can create "Multi-issue" apps. 

What is the difference between a Single-issue app and a Multi-issue app?

In a single-issue app, all the content is contained entirely in the app, and the app and all the content is hosted by Apple on the App Store. A multi-issue app resides on Apple's servers in the App Store, but the content for each "issue" is delivered into the app from Adobe's servers. Each bit of new content is called an "issue" and resides in sort of a "bookshelf" within the app.

App updating and user notification

Both a single-issue app and a multi-issue app can be updated with new content as often as you please. The difference is in how the user is notified of this new content:

• When a single-issue app is updated, the only way the user knows is if they go to the App Store and click on the "Updates" section. There they are notified of any Apps they own that have updates available.

• Users can opt  to be alerted that there is new content in a Multi-issue app via Apple's push notification service. With push notification, the user is alerted even when the app isn't running. If the user has opted out of push notification for the app, they will still see be notified that new content is available whenever they run the app.

So multi-issue apps are best for content that will be changed, updated, or added to frequently.

Rendition support

Single-issue apps can only contain a single "rendition". What this really means is that to make your app look great on both the older iPads as well as the Retina display iPad, you have to use PDF rendering in DPS, which has a few downsides. The Professional Edition can create multi-issue apps that contain multiple renditions. This means that low-res content is served to older iPads, and high-res content is automatically served to the Retina iPad.

Social media support

Multi-issue apps support social sharing via email, Facebook and Twitter. Social sharing can be enabled in multi-issue DPS apps without writing any code. Single issue apps do not support social media sharing.

Newsstand support

Only Multi-issue apps can appear in Apple's "Newsstand" app category. To qualify, the Multi-issue app must be a periodical that is published quarterly, at minimum.


A single issue app, created either with DPS Single Edition or Professional Edition, is hosted entirely on Apple's servers at the App store, so your only fee is the $99/year fee to maintain your good standing in the Apple iOS Developer Program, and Apple's standard 30% cut of any fees you charge for the app.

A multi-issue app, on the other hand, requires you to:

1. Pay a $99/year fee to maintain your good standing in the Apple iOS Developer Program

2. Pay a monthly fee to Adobe for your DPS Professional/Enterprise Edition subscription

3. Pay a small "click charge" each time someone downloads a piece of your content into the app.

Currently, Single-issue apps created with DPS Single Edition cost $395 for each published app. Adobe has announced that "real soon" members of Adobe Creative Cloud will be able to publish unlimited Single-issue apps free as part of their Creative Cloud membership.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Paste from InDesign into Photoshop

Did you know that you can copy and paste objects from InDesign into Photoshop? Why would you want to copy something from InDesign into Photoshop? Perhaps you need some multi-column text in Photoshop, or something else that you know how to easily do in InDesign but not in Photoshop. Here's how it works:

In InDesign, be sure that in Preferences > Clipboard Handling, Copy PDF to Clipboard is selected. Then, select one or more objects in InDesign, and choose Edit > Copy. Next, in Photoshop choose File > Paste. The object will appear in Photoshop with a bounding box around it. Move or resize this bounding box as desired, then hit the return key. The object will appear in the Photoshop Layers panel as a Vector Smart Object.

If you choose Layer > Smart Object > Edit Contents, the contents of the layer will open in Illustrator, not InDesign, unfortunately. This is because the content is copied out of InDesign as PDF content. So we don't have the holy grail of "round trip" content editing between InDesign and Photoshop, but this can still be useful for certain tasks.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Online font conversion

Here's an interesting idea: Fontlab, the makers of numerous Mac and Windows font design tools, is offering online "rental" of their TransType Pro program. TransType Pro is a "universal font format converter for Mac and Windows" that "allows you to convert practically any font into any other format on Mac and PC". 

TransType Pro costs $179. But a 24 hour rental of TransType Pro, through a partnership with Roozz, is less than $10. If you just have an occasional need to convert a font, or you have a batch of fonts to convert and then you'll never need the software again, this might be a very cost-effective way for you to get the job done.

Unfortunately, Roozz is Windows-only at this point. They claim to be working on a Macintosh version.

Trt3 636x377

Thursday, August 16, 2012

The benefits of Adobe Creative Cloud

If you are still sitting on the fence, trying to decide if Adobe Creative Cloud is for you, here is some information that might help. I'm convinced that for full-time graphic designers, the decision to purchase a Creative Cloud subscription is a no-brainer. Here are 5 reasons why:

1. In this rapidly-changing world, designers are being asked to design for media beyond print: ePUB, apps, Web sites, PDFs, you name it. For this, you need a larger toolset, so that you can perhaps edit a video clip, adjust audio levels in a recording, or design a product microsite. Creative Cloud gives you access to the largest toolset out there: all the programs in the Adobe Creative Suite Master Collection and more. A common misconception is that the programs "run in the cloud" and that you need an Internet connection to use them. This isn't true. You need an Internet connection to download and install the apps, but then they reside on your local hard drive like any other program. The apps just check in with Adobe every month or so to verify that you are a paid subscriber.

2. To keep up with this rapid pace of change, your software tools need to be able to change and rapidly adapt. The subscription model gives Adobe the ability to add new features and capabilities to software on an as-needed basis…no need to wait 12, 18, 24 months or more for the next version of the software to be released. One example of this is the recent announcement that Adobe will be adding a feature to Illustrator to "Package" files. This feature will be available to Creative Cloud subscribers soon. Purchasers of the "perpetual license" (shrink wrap) version of Creative Suite 6 will need to wait for the next version before they get this feature.

3. Access to software and services beyond the Master Collection, such as:

Adobe Muse (a Web design program for designers…like using InDesign for the Web!)

Adobe Edge (HTML5 animation; preview version now, full version when released)

Adobe Photoshop Lightroom (digital photo organization, workflow, and manipulation)

Unlimited Adobe Digital Publishing Suite, Single Edition licenses (coming soon). Currently, to use Adobe DPS to create a "single issue" app costs $400/app. Creative Cloud subscribers will soon be able to create an unlimited number of apps at no charge.

Hosting of 5 Web sites with Adobe Business Catalyst

Access to all Typekit fonts (Portfolio plan)

Story Plus (screenwriting software)

4. Access to Adobe Touch apps, such as Photoshop Touch, Kuler, Debut, Ideas, Proto, and Collage. If you purchase and activate 3 of these from the Apple App Store or Google Play, you get a free month added on to your Creative Cloud subscription. So effectively, you get these apps free.

5. File hosting. Each Creative Cloud subscription includes 20gb of cloud-based file storage. Soon, you will be able to sync files with the cloud via a desktop client, much like Dropbox. But there are some significant differences from Dropbox. For example, you can preview most native creative file types, such as .indd, .psd, and .ai in your Creative Cloud storage area. You can also view the fonts used in an InDesign file, or the layers in a Photoshop file for example. You can even change the layer states in a .psd file and preview the image with the new layer states right in your browser. These features make the Creative Cloud storage an effective way to collaborate on creative files with coworkers and clients.

You can save $20/month on Adobe Creative Cloud for the first year if you currently own CS3 or newer. This offer expires August 31, 2012.

Monday, July 30, 2012

InDesign to HTML5

If you're a frequent reader of this blog, you know that I'm a fan of Adobe Digital Publishing Suite for creating Apps from Adobe InDesign. But DPS isn't always a good fit for all types of projects. The cost may be prohibitive for some, or perhaps you don't want to be beholden to Apple's App Store Review Guidelines. Or perhaps you want to create output that works on desktop browsers as well as multiple tablets and smartphones.

Justin Putney, the designer and developer behind Ajar Productions, has proposed a Kickstarter project called InDesign to HTML5. He is seeking $5000 in funding via Kickstarter to create an InDesign plug-in to convert InDesign layouts to fully formatted HTML5 files.

I've known Justin for a few years, and have been impressed by some of the other products that he has developed. I think he can do it. I've put my money where my mouth is and pledged my financial support. If this sounds like something you could use, consider joining me and supporting Justin in this project.  

See also this article.


Friday, July 13, 2012

The fastest workflow for previewing DPS apps

One time-consuming aspect of using Adobe Digital Publishing Suite to create tablet apps is the hassle of previewing design and interactivity on your tablet. With recent releases of DPS, in particular v21, this has gotten much better. Here are two workflows that allow you to preview your content on an iPad without needing to sign in to Adobe DPS with your Adobe ID and without relying on Adobe's DPS cloud hosting.

Workflow 1:

This workflow is really handy when you need to quickly try something in InDesign, and immediately see what it looks like on the iPad. You don't need to create a folio or anything.

1, Create an InDesign file that is the proper dimensions and orientation (don't forget about the templates I have available here)

2. Attach your iPad to your Mac (this workflow is Mac-only, unfortunately) via a USB cable. You don't need to start the iTunes application.

3. On your iPad, run the Adobe Viewer app

4. In the Preview drop-down menu at the bottom of the Folio Overlays panel (CS6) or Overlay Creator panel (CS5) choose "Preview on youriPadname". Your content will appear on the iPad screen.

Folio 1

Workflow 2:

This workflow is a good way to begin a project. It allows you to work completely local, without needing to sign in to Adobe DPS or use Adobe's DPS cloud hosting. I like to work locally as long as I am able. Only when I need to share a folio with others do I sign in and begin using the cloud hosting.

1. In the Folio Builder panel in InDesign, either a) don't sign in, and then click the New button at the bottom of the panel to make a new "local" folio or b) sign in, click the New button at the bottom of the panel, and select the "Create Local Folio" option in the New Folio dialog box

Folio 2

2. In the Folio Builder panel, the little hard drive symbol to the right of the Folio name indicates it is a local folio. If there is an icon of 2 people, or no icon, the folio is hosted in the cloud.

Folio 3

3. Add one or more articles to your folio. Articles are added quickly, with little delay, because they aren't being uploaded to the cloud.

4. To preview the entire folio on your iPad, In the Preview drop-down menu at the bottom of the Folio Builder panel choose "Preview on youriPadname". Your entire folio will appear on the iPad screen.

5. To preview a single article on your iPad, open the InDesign file for that article, then In the Preview drop-down menu at the bottom of the Folio Overlays panel (CS6) or Overlay Creator panel (CS5) choose "Preview on youriPadname". Your article will appear on the iPad screen.

Using this workflow allows you to very quickly view design iterations and test interactivity on your iPad. Once you get to the point in your work where you need to share the folio with others, or if you are simply ready to begin the final publishing and submission process, sign in to DPS in the Folio Builder panel, select your local folio in the panel, and choose "Upload to Folio Producer".

Folio 4


Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Fantastic resource for creating App icons

If you create Apps for the iPad, iPhone, or Android devices, you are faced with the tedious task of creating App icons at various sizes. In order to submit an iPad app to the App store, for example, you need to submit your App icon in PNG format in seven different sizes.

To make this process much, much easier, Johannes Henseler has created a free Photoshop template. To use the template, you open a smart object on one of the Photoshop layers, and create your artwork in Illustrator or Photoshop in the smart object. Then, with a single click you can export icons in 15 different sizes all at once. Thanks Johannes!

If you've previously used this template, note that Johannes updated the template on 6/22/2012.



Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The new Link icon in InDesign CS6

One of the big new features of InDesign CS6 is the ability to create "Linked Content". This feature allows you to have “parent” content that is linked to “child” content that can appear in several places in a single document, or spread across several documents. When the parent content is edited, you are given the option to update the content in all the other locations. You can learn more about this feature here.

But even if you don't care at all about Linked Content, there is one by-product of this new feature that affects almost everyone, in a good way. If you have your Frame Edges shown (View > Extras > Show Frame Edges), each linked image in your layout will display an icon in the upper-left corner. The icon indicates whether the image is linked, modified, or missing. This icon provides 3 benefits:

1. If the image is modified or missing, you can single-click on the icon to update the image or relink to a new image. This saves a trip to the Links panel!

2. If you hover over the link icon, the filename of the image is displayed.

3. If you option/alt click on the icon, the Links panel is opened and the image is selected in the links panel.

You can learn more about Linked Content and all the other new InDesign CS6 features in my new eBook the InDesignSecrets Guide To What's New In InDesign CS6. In this low-cost PDF eBook, I clearly describe how to use all the new features of CS6. You can purchase and download the eBook here.

Cover 1


Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Controlling how a link opens in Adobe DPS

When you create an InDesign hyperlink to a Web site, and then create an iPad app with Adobe Digital Publishing Suite, the link will by default open in an "in-app" browser. That is, a browser that is built in to your DPS app. This browser allows the user to navigate around the Web, and when finished, tap a "Done" button in the upper-left corner of the screen that returns the user back to the screen where they left off.

But if you look in the Overlay Creator panel (InDesign CS5) or Folio Overlays panel (CS6), you'll see that you can specify if the hyperlink should "Open in Folio" or "Open in Device Browser". If you choose the latter, when you tap the link, the app will quit and Safari will launch and open the link.



I've often wondered why you would want to do this, since it has a big disadvantage…it takes the user away from the app that you want them to spend time with. But this week a project I'm working on taught me why you might want a link to open in Safari.

I was building an app for a magazine that relies on reader donations. So the app contained a "Contribute Now" screen that explains to the user how much they rely on the user's generosity, and then directs them to the magazine's Web site where they can make a donation via credit card.

Apple's App Store Review Guidelines state that "The collection of donations must be done via a web site in Safari or an SMS."

I forgot about that, submitted the app, and got a note back from Apple saying in part:

"While donations may not be taken within an application, it is possible to provide a donation link to your web site. This link should launch Safari to collect the donation…We understand that directing your user outside of your app may not be the user experience you prefer to offer your users. However it is a common experience in a variety of iOS apps. And in the case of collecting donations for charities…it is also the required user experience."

I changed the relevant donation link to Open in Device Browser, and resubmitted the app.

By the way, you can't access the Hyperlink section of the Overlay Creator/Folio Overlays panel when a text hyperlink is selected. It only works when an object hyperlink is selected. So if you have a text hyperlink, you may need to place a frame with no fill and stroke over the text, and assign the hyperlink to the frame instead of the text.

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Don't miss the Minneapolis Creatives Group this Thursday

What is Adobe's Creative Cloud, and is it for me? -- with Keith Gilbert

Thursday, June 7
11:30 - 1:30
Open Book, Performance Hall
1011 Washington Ave. South, Minneapolis, MN
$10 per person at the door.
Reservations aren't required, but are helpful. email to RSVP.

  • Learn about the 2 ways to buy CS6 (a Perpetual License OR a monthly subscription to Adobe's Creative Cloud)
  • Find out what's included in the Creative has many added benefits over just being a monthly way of paying for software
  • Hear what Adobe plans to add to the Cloud within the year
  • Learn a couple of Keith's favorite new CS6 features in Illustrator, Photoshop and InDesign
  • Plus -- time for questions

Creatives Group is an informal Google Group of Twin Cities designers, illustrators, copy writers and photographers. It's a chance for creatives from design and related fields to get together and share ideas, get feedback, relate stories only self-employed people can understand, and support each other. For more information, email Amy Kirkpatrick,



Thursday, May 31, 2012

Viewing filenames while placing multiple files in InDesign

When you place multiple graphic files at once in an InDesign layout, InDesign shows you a small thumbnail of each image as you place it, along with a number indicating the number of images that are loaded into the cursor (called the "place gun"). You can use the arrow keys on the keyboard to move between the loaded images to select the next image to place.


The training client loved this feature, and got all excited about it, but then frowned. "The image thumbnails will be meaningless to us, because all our products look so similar when shrunk to thumbnail size. What I want to see is the filename as I rotate through the images with the arrow keys, so I can select them by the SKU, which is in the filename."

My suggestion was that they should file a feature request with Adobe, because this would, indeed be a nice feature if the filename could be include with the image thumbnail in the place gun.

But today, one of the people in the training class sent me an email alerting me of a workaround that I hadn't thought of, and it's simple! Just position your Links panel where you can view it as you place the files. When you place multiple files, they are all loaded into the Links panel before the thumbnail for the first image appears. Then, as you cycle through the individual thumbnails in the place gun, the filename for each file is highlighted in the Links panel. Clever!


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Join me in St. Cloud tomorrow!

Tomorrow (5-24-2012) from 12:00 - 1:00 p.m. I'll be speaking at an AAF (American Advertising Federation) Central Minnesota event. If you're in the St. Cloud area, come for lunch and a chance to learn more about Photoshop. My topic is "Five Things You MUST Know About Photoshop". I hope to see you there. Details and registration info here.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Two essential plug-ins for InDesign

My friend Martinho da Gloria at Automatication has created two plug-ins that I feel are essential for any production-oriented InDesign user. You need to try these out!

Multi-Find/Change has been around for a while. This handy plug-in lets you string together and save multiple find/change queries so that you can recall them quickly and run them all at once. For example, if you find yourself frequently cleaning up imported text by searching for all multiple spaces and replacing with a single space, searching for all tabs and replacing them with nothing, searching for multiple returns and replacing them with a single return, etc., you could set up a single set containing all these queries, and run them at any time with a single command.


Find/Change Attributes is a relatively new plug-in that enables you to quickly load formatting attributes from selected text into the Find/Change dialog box. If you use the Find/Change dialog heavily, you know that you can search for not only literal text, but also text formatting. But specifying the text formatting to search for can be time-consuming. This script makes it so much easier. You just select some text with the formatting you want to search for,




Both of these plug-ins are essential for anyone doing EPUB work, working with XML data, or creating long documents. These workflows often require industrial-strength search and replace, and these plug-ins make this easy.

Multi-Find/Change is available for InDesign CS4/CS5.x/CS6, and Find/Change Attributes is available for CS5.x/CS6. You can download a trial version and the user guide, and try them out before purchasing.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Come at see me at the MMPA Summit

If you're in the Twin Cities, MN area and are interested in publishing to tablets, don't miss the MMPA Summit & Expo on Thursday, April 26. I'll be presenting three workshops: Best Practices for iPad Publication Design; Adding Interactivity and Media to Adobe DPS Publications; and Adobe Muse. Hope to see you there!

Logo summitexpo12 updated

Monday, April 23, 2012

Adobe Creative Suite 6 announced today!

Today Adobe announced Adobe Creative Suite 6 and Adobe Creative Cloud. They didn't announce a shipping date yet, but they are taking pre-orders at

I think this is a compelling upgrade for many users of the Creative Suite. You'll need to determine if a "perpetual license" or an on-going membership to Creative Cloud is right for you.

Note that a membership to the Creative Cloud, which gives you cross-platform access to all the software in the Master Collection and more, is normally $49.99/month. But if you are a registered user of CS3-CS5, you get the first year for $29.99/month.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Are you a designer? You need an iPad!

I've been doing a ton of training, consulting and public speaking lately about Adobe Digital Publishing Suite, EPUB, and designing for tablets. I ask two questions of almost every audience. 1) "How many of you here today are designers, art directors, or production artists?" and 2) "How many of you own a tablet?" Most audiences I speak to are almost entirely designers and related disciplines, so almost everyone raises their hand to question one.

But I'm almost always surprised by the few hands that are raised in response to question 2. In my experience, graphic designers are reluctant to jump on the tablet bandwagon, and this surprises and disappoints me.

I'm convinced that tablets are kind of a big deal. Tablets are primarily content consumption devices. Total worldwide iPad sales hit 55.36 million through December 2011. Trendforce predicts that 94 million tablets will sell in 2012 alone. NPD DisplaySearch predicts this number will be up to 383 million per year by 2017. If these predictions are anywhere near true, that's a lot of people with tablets consuming a lot of content. Who's best at curating, creating, and presenting that content? You, the designer.

Those of us in the design industry share a common problem. When we retrieve the mail, what do we do? We look first at how each print peice is designed, judge it good or bad, look at the typography, try to identify the typeface, smell the ink and determine if it is soy-based, and examine the varnish and the paper stock. Then we look to see if it's addressed to us!

If you think that you're going to learn how to design effectively for tablets without spending the same kind of time looking critically at tablet content that you do print content, you're mistaken. You need a tablet now so that you can be reading digital magazines, consuming on-screen news, reading ePubs and iBooks, and learning what types of interactivity work and which don't. I'm convinced that as a designer you need to immerse yourself in the world of tablets and start developing a new visual literacy in screen-based design.

Three times in the last few months I've been asked to train designers on how to create tablet apps with Adobe Digital Publishing Suite, but the company didn't provide the designers any access to tablets. That's like asking a designer to create a full color annual report using only a grayscale monitor, no printer, and no ruler!

Once you start to design apps and eBooks for multiple platforms, you'll find that you'll need to have one of each of the devices you are going to create the content for. So if you are going to create an app for iPad, Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1, and Kindle Fire, you'll really need to have access to each of these devices so you can preview and troubleshoot.

So there you have it. If you've been looking for an excuse to get that shiny new iPad, this is it!



Tuesday, April 17, 2012

CS6 announcement set for April 23

Adobe has posted an invite for a live Webcast of Adobe Creative Cloud and Creative Suite 6. The invitation says "Join us for a live webcast April 23 at 10:00 am pacific time to hear how Adobe is reinventing the creative process and be the first to experience the latest innovations within Adobe Creative Cloud and Adobe Creative Suite 6."


Monday, April 02, 2012

Come to Duluth, learn about Adobe DPS!

If you are anywhere near the Duluth, MN area, come to this April 17 event put on by the Duluth/Superior AAF chapter. I'll be doing a one-hour presentation during lunch to help cut through some of the confusion about creating interactive content for tablets. Then, in a 3-hour workshop after lunch, I'll show how to use Adobe Digital Publishing Suite to create tablet apps. The event will be held at Grandma's Sports Garden. Registration begins at 11:30 with lunch being served at 11:45 and the presentation at 12:00. The workshop begins at 1:15. The registration deadline is Friday, April 13th. Sign up today at

Aaf logo

Thursday, March 15, 2012

How to become an Adobe Certified Expert (ACE)

Don't forget that I blog for my friends at InDesignSecrets on a more-or-less regular basis. I just wrote up a detailed post about How to become an Adobe Certified Expert (ACE) on InDesign. Check it out!

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

3 resources for DPS info

Here are 3 relatively new Adobe resources for deep info about Adobe Digital Publishing Suite (DPS):

The newest resource is the Digital Publishing Suite Developer Center. This will be a home for more of the technical aspects of "pushing the envelope" of DPS.

Second, the Adobe Digital Publishing Suite Cookbook is a repository for tutorial-style "recipes" for creating different types of DPS content.

Third, check out the Adobe Design Center | Digital Publishing for designer-centric stories and tutorials about DPS.


Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Cool utility for iPad demos

Here's a cool utility: Reflection lets you display the contents of your iPad 2 or iPhone 4S on your Macintosh screen. Perhaps you're projecting your Mac on a screen using a projection system, and you want to be able to quickly switch to projecting your iPad on the screen also.

Reflection uses Airplay on the iPad/iPhone to send the screens to the Mac over your wireless network. Very easy to use, and works well.


Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Adobe to discontinue Adobe CS Review

When CS5 was released approximately two years ago, Adobe included a free trial of what they call the "CS Live" services. They've now announced that two of those services, Adobe CS Review and SiteCatalyst® NetAverages™ will be discontinued on 4/12/2012.

The CS Live services are accessed via a link in the upper right corner of the screen in InDesign, Illustrator, Photoshop, or Adobe Premiere Pro.




Adobe CS Review allowed you to share an InDesign layout (or Photoshop image, Illustrator artwork, or Adobe Premiere Pro video) over the Web with a client or co-worker. They could add comments and markup to the layout, and you could then gather those comments and markups and see them displayed right on the InDesign page. It provided a simpler, more integrated review process than doing a PDF review.

I didn't see any clients or acquaintances of mine get excited about this and actually use it. I suspect that this was true for many others as well, and thus the demise of Adobe CS Review. The service was difficult to explain and demonstrate, and was somewhat clunky in execution.

The remaining CS Live services: Adobe BrowserLab,, and Adobe Story will remain. See this FAQ for more information about CS Live online services and the services that are being discontinued.

Monday, February 27, 2012

IDUG meeting this Thursday evening!

There are 185 people registered so far for the next InDesign User Group meeting this coming Thursday evening. Won't you join us?

Thursday, March 1, 2012, 7:00 PM
Minneapolis College of Art & Design (MCAD
)2501 Stevens Ave.
Minneapolis, MN 55404

The meeting is free, but registration is required. Click here to register.

Paul Trani, an Evangelist at Adobe Systems, will be joining us to demonstrate Adobe Muse and Adobe Edge!

Adobe Muse is Adobe's new InDesign-like tool for designing and publishing HTML websites without writing code. See

Adobe Edge is Adobe's new tool for creating animated Web content using HTML5. See

What do these two products have to do with InDesign you might ask? As InDesign grows into a layout tool for creating print and screen layouts, you will need to learn to incorporate Web and animated content into your layouts. Muse and Edge are tools that are very accessible to the average designer for creating that content!

Following Paul's Muse and Edge presentation, Keith Gilbert ( will give a brief demonstration of how to use Muse and Edge content in Adobe Digital Publishing Suite ( 

The evening will conclude with fantastic door prizes.

As always, Twin Cities InDesign User Group meetings are FREE and open to the public, thanks to generous support from the Minneapolis College of Art & Design ( and Central Coast Solutions (

6:30 - 7:00 p.m. Registration and mingling
7:00 - 7:05 p.m. Welcome and announcements
7:05 - 8:15 p.m. Paul Trani: Adobe Muse and Adobe Edge demonstration
8:15 - 8:45 p.m. Keith Gilbert: How to use Muse and Edge content in Adobe Digital Publishing Suite
8:45 - 9:00 p.m. Drawings for door prizes



Wednesday, February 22, 2012

How to break links between InCopy and InDesign

Lance wrote and asked:

"How do I break existing links between InCopy and InDesign? I have picked up a file from a previous design group that requires me to check in and check out every time I open and try to edit the content."

If you are sure that you want to sever the link between InCopy and InDesign, and do all further editing of all stories in InDesign, you can just go to the Links panel, and select any .icml, .icma, or .incx files you find there (the file types vary depending on your version of InDesign/InCopy). Then just choose Unlink from the Links panel menu.


Tuesday, February 21, 2012

DPS app design spotlight: Smithsonian Magazine

(This is the fifth in an intermittent series of posts highlighting interesting or innovative apps built using Adobe Digital Publishing Suite.)

The folks at Smithsonian Magazine have done a nice job of adapting their magazine to the iPad. Here are a few things I like from the February 2012 issue.

The "Wild Things" article contains this little "quiz" sidebar item. This is a nice, simple way to engage the reader with the content.

IMG 0137


IMG 0138

The "Mystique of the Mother Road" feature has this nice little interactive map. When you tap a town on the map, a push pin appears at that location, and the photograph below the map changes to a photo of that locale. This looks complex, but it is just some buttons on multi-state objects.

IMG 0139

Lastly, I like the consistent way that alternate images are displayed. Throughout the publication, there are "slideshows" of 2, 3 or more images. Rather than having visible buttons to advance from photo to photo, the user is instructed to "tap an image to see more". So tapping the entire image acts as a button to advance to the next image. Very simple and elegant. I also like the gray dots that indicate which image is being viewed.

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Thursday, February 09, 2012

How to move a layout from InDesign to After Effects

It's quite common in tablet publications created with Adobe Digital Publishing Suite to include animated covers or opening screens for feature articles. You may want to begin the layout of these screens in InDesign, and then take the layout you've created into Adobe After Effects to make it move. Here is a simple way to get an InDesign layout into After Effects, with each InDesign element showing up in After Effects as a separate asset that can then be made to move.

1. In InDesign, use the layers panel to selectively make layers and/or objects visible and invisible, as needed, and export each layer and/or object that you may want to manipulate in After Effects. You'll want to export the entire page(screen) for each object, instead of just the selection, so that each exported JPEG is the same pixel dimensions, making it easier to assemble the pieces later in step 5. Export non-transparent layers as JPEG using the settings shown below:


2. For layers that need a transparent background in After Effects, such as type floating over an image, export the layer as and EPS file with the settings below:


3. In After Effects, make a new project, and new composition using these settings (assuming you're creating a full-screen composition for the iPad 1or 2):


4. Choose File > Import File, and select each of the JPEG and EPS files you exported from InDesign. Be sure to select Import As: Footage. Then click the Open button.


5. Each of the files will be brought into your composition as an asset and will appear in the Project panel. Select each of the these assets in the Project panel, and drag them onto your Composition screen.


6. You can change the stacking order of the layers by dragging the layers in the Timeline panel.


Tuesday, February 07, 2012

A peek at the design of Money Magazine, tablet ed.

If you are involved with designing tablet apps, you need to read this really good article about the development and design of the tablet versions of Money Magazine. Some interesting ideas about using swipe to "selectively reveal" images and text to the user.



Friday, February 03, 2012

Beware of this Apple Security Update

[The following is a "guest post" by my friend Ed Klemz from Central Coast Solutions.]

On 2/1/2012 Apple resleased Security Update 2012-001 for OS 10.6 (Snow Leopard) - DO NOT install it if you use any older software (pre-CS5, Quark 8, Suitcase 3, etc.) as it will disable the 'Rosetta' code that allows older PowerPC applications to run. If everything you run is new then it's not an issue - but I know the bulk of you out there still access older Quark and InDesign workflows when needed, and many older support apps and utilities are rendered unusable as well.

If by chance you did apply this update and it is causing issues, your machine will need its OS reinstalled and updated to appropriate levels.

If you get a Software Update notice, click the 'Details' button and you'll see the list as shown below, simply uncheck the Security Update 2012-001 and allow the others to update. Be careful with all future updates as it will re-check itself next time Software Update runs.


If you ever have an update notification pop up, feel free to let us know before you apply it and we'll let you know if it's OK to do.



Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Don't miss PePcon!

If you use Adobe InDesign, you won't want to miss the Print and ePublishing conference (PePcon). I'll be speaking at the conference again this year, and would love to see you there!

The previous two PePcon conferences have been just great. The speakers, presentations, and panels have all been first-rate, and the community of attendees is awesome.

Use code SFKG88 when you register to get a $25 discount. In addition, register before March 2 to receive an Early Bird discount.

If you're coming to PePcon, drop me a note. I'd love to meet you in person at the conference!

Pepcon banner

Monday, January 23, 2012

A new DPS resource

The folks at Technology for Publishing have created a really nice "how-to" book about the Adobe Digital Publishing Suite (DPS). The book is titled DPSCreate™: Building Interactive Content. It can be purchased in downloadable form as a PDF or in a printed version. This clear, concise, accurate handbook is a nice guide to learning how to use DPS, as well as a handy reference manual.

The book starts out with an overview of terminology and the DPS process, discusses recommended file and folder structure, and recommends how to start building DPS files. Then the bulk of the book is spent on how to create the various types of interactive content that can be added to DPS apps.

The content of the book is also available as an iPad app.



If you are learning DPS, you need to buy either the app or the book!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Creating "page turning" buttons in Adobe DPS

Even though Adobe Digital Publishing Suite includes some built-in navigation functionality, you might want to include additional buttons to help the user navigate quickly and easily around your app.

There are two ways to add links to other pages in a DPS app: you can select some text and use the Hyperlinks panel, or you can select an object and use the Buttons panel. In this article, I'm going to focus on the Buttons panel method. I find that I use this method a lot more than the Hyperlinks panel. Imagine you have a simple table of contents as shown below.


Yes, I could select each entry and use the Hyperlinks panel to create the links to each section. But I usually want to make the tappable area larger than the actual text. So I will usually draw a frame that has no fill or stroke over the text (on a separate layer called buttons, just to keep things organized), and turn that invisible frame into a button using the buttons panel. This way I can make the tappable region any size I want, being generous to accommodate fat fingers.


To turn the invisible frame into a button, do the following:

1. Select a frame

2. In the Buttons panel, choose Go To URL in the Actions drop-down menu. Unfortunately, we can't use the Go To Page for buttons that specify a page in a different article.


3. In the URL field that appears, type in navto://Articlename#0

navto:// tells DPS to "navigate" to a particular page in the DPS app

Replace Articlename with the name of the article you want it to go to, as it is displayed in the Folio Builder panel

#0 indicates which page of the article to go to. Be careful: the first page of the file is page 0, the second page of the file is page 1, the third page is page 2, etc.


You may put buttons like this on your master page if you want them to repeat on every screen of the app. For example, in this app the word "Contents" appears in the bottom left corner of each screen. This word is on the Master Page, with an invisible frame on top of it that is a button linking to "navto://Contents#0"



Creating a button that just turns to a specific page within the current article is easier. Just create a frame, select it, and choose Go To Page for the Action in the Buttons panel, and then enter the page number in the Page field.


One "gotcha" with this type of button, however: It doesn't work correctly in the current version of the desktop preview. It will function correctly when viewed on the iPad, but if you preview your article or the entire folio on the desktop, you will need to click on the button, and then click somewhere else on the screen before the page will turn.

Note that the Go To Next Page or Go To Previous Page button actions don't work in DPS. So if you want to create a button that advances from page to page in a DPS app, you will need to specify the button destination on each and every page.