I confess, like a lot of graphic designers, I've been a little underwhelmed with Adobe Bridge, the free file management hub application that comes with every CS2 program. Until recently, my feelings ran along the line of "Are you kidding me? Yet another program to learn? Forget it. Let the full-time Photoshop geeks figure it out. I have publications to design."more >
Heads-up that Adobe posted bug fix updates for both InDesign CS2 and InCopy CS2 a couple weeks ago, bringing both programs up to version 4.01. The patch eliminates a few of the strange little bugs I've seen people reporting on the forums, such as Unexpected Quits during spell checks and missing inline images. You can read the list of all the fixes in this PDF:
The easiest way to download Adobe updates and install them is to use the Adobe Update Manager, which is like Mac OS X's "Software Update" feature for all the applications in the Creative Suite. To access the Adobe Updater program, open any program in the suite and choose Help > Updates. After consulting with Adobe's web site, the program will list all the updates available for the Suite programs you have installed. You can set it to download and install them, or just download them but install them later, or ignore them altogether.more >
QuarkXPress 6.X has an interesting feature called Synchronized Text, useful for keeping the contents of multiple text frames in synch with each other. When you modify the text of one of these boxes, all the other boxes you tagged to "synch to it" update automatically with the same text modifications (but keep their own formatting intact).
It's great for those times when you need more flexibiity than a master page text box affords, since a synched text box can be placed on any page on the fly, in different locations with different formatting, even in multiple layouts in the same project (file). No need to go to a master page to edit it, just edit the text in any of the frames and the ones in synch with it immediately update to match.
Surprisingly, everything you need to add a Synchronize Text feature to InDesign CS and CS2 is sitting right there in your program installation CD. They're called the InCopy Plug-ins. Look inside the program CD for a folder called Technical Information and you'll find them.more >
David Blatner and I spent almost a full year writing InDesign CS/CS2 Breakthroughs, and it was a sweet, sweet day when it was finally published (Peachpit Press) this past June. It’s available in most major bookstores as well as online, such as Amazon, for under $20:
We were both thrilled with the end result, even before anyone else had read it. The book is stuffed to the gills with 4/C screen shots and detailed step-by-step solutions to common problems reported by ID users, grouped in sections like “Master Page Migraines,” “Scaling Insanity,” and “Color Mismanagement.” Since a lot of issues can be avoided in the first place with a bit of forethought, we also wrote up side articles in relevant sections, such as “Mastering the Eyedropper,” “Using InDesign Scripts,” and “Transparency and Your Print Vendor.”more >
A while back I read some very interesting, detailed information online about a couple of new features in InDesign CS2; specifically about its enhanced XML workflow for text styles and tables. I'm not an XML pro (yet!) but a number of my publishing clients are really putting it through its paces, so it caught my eye.
The author, who posted this in a private forum, said the information would be included in an upcoming Adobe white paper focused on using XML with InDesign CS2. Most of Adobe's end-user information (white papers and tutorials) on InDesign and XML appears in their Cross Media Resources page, which is where I assume it'll pop up (it hasn't yet, I've been checking):
A couple issues ago I talked about how I had finally finished the book I was co-authoring with David Blatner for the past year, InDesign CS/CS2 Breakthroughs (Peachpit Press, 2005).
In case you missed that issue, the book is a compilation of over 200 of the most commonly-encountered <ahem> "challenges" users encounter with InDesign (Word styles, transparency and pre-press, scaling, etc.) and their solutions, of course. Some content is for newbies, but the lion's share is aimed at the seasoned InDesign user who's already tried all the obvious solutions and is still stuck.
David and I spent months just researching and compiling the topics we cover (interviewing users, trainers, combing the online forums and listservs), let alone writing and testing our solutions, so chances are if there's something about InDesign giving you trouble, the answer's in there.more >
Yes, it's true that I've missed a couple issues of DesignGeek, but I have an excuse: After months of hard work, my publisher (Peachpit Press) and my co-author (David Blatner) preferred I pay attention to the looming deadline of lucky Friday the 13th (of May) and get the final chapters of our new book written, laid out, and sent to the printer's. As a press-ready PDF of course.more >
Art departments making the move to InDesign from QuarkXPress or PageMaker probably have hundreds, if not thousands of vector EPS files lying around — logos, illustrations, clip art, posters, etc. InDesign can import EPS files, but sometimes the low-res preview that's included with the EPS causes problems with output.
A little tech background for newbies: When you're working in a PostScript-based drawing program like Adobe Illustrator and Macromedia Freehand, saving a version of the drawing in EPS format (instead of or in addition to the program's native format) is necessary if you want to import that image into other program's files like QuarkXPress, Pagemaker, and Microsoft Word. These programs understand that they should use the low-res screen preview of the file (included by default with a vector EPS) to show you what it looks like onscreen, but when the job is output, they should send the underlying PostScript code.
InDesign's Find Font and/or Find/Change (set to Search: Document) commands are the fastest way to change text formatting throughout a document. Both automatically search and replace in Master pages as well as document pages, and both can find text formatted with a missing font and change its typeface to one available.
Tiplet: Bet you didn't know that Find/Change's Find Format Settings, revealed by clicking More Options in Edit -> Find/Change, could find missing fonts, did you? If missing fonts are called for in the document, their names appear in brackets at the very end of the dropdown menu of typefaces in the Basic Character Formats panel. If you don't see yours, try choosing any font from this menu, click in another field, then go back to the dropdown menu and look at the bottom ones again. It's like a mini-Refresh … your missing fonts should now appear.
Find Font and Find/Change Format are also great for changing all usage of a Type 1 or TrueType typeface to an Open Type version. A lot of clients moving to InDesign/InCopy workflows are doing this to their publication templates to make cross-platform work easier. (The same Open Type font can be used as is on both Mac OS X and Windows 2000/XP.) And many other places are moving to Open Type to take advantage of OT-only features:
http://www.senecadesign.com/designgeek/opentype.html more >
When I'm helping new InDesign users understand exactly what "flattening transparency" means, I like to show them a concrete example. One way is to export the same simple InDesign file (containing a few overlapping transparent objects) to PDF twice: Once as an Acrobat 4-compatible (PDF 1.3) PDF, which flattens transparent objects, often splitting them up into "atomic regions;" and again as an Acrobat 5-compatible (PDF 1.4) PDF, which supports transparency and thus doesn't flatten.more >