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Designing on a Laptop? Keyboard Help

January 26, 2005 - 3:00am ||| 1 Comment | Add new

A couple years ago I got rid of my studio's last remaining desktop Mac. We're now an all-laptop (PowerBooks and iBooks) studio. Okay, there's one Dell Dimensions box still hulking in a corner, but that's next up for replacement with a slick little PC laptop.

A wireless network along with multiple LCD monitors and wireless keyboards and mice scattered around the place make long work sessions a pleasure, but many times — in the summer on the deck, in between appointments in a coffee shop — I've found myself laying out a website with just my laptop's keyboard and built-in 15" screen to work with.

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First Occasional DesignGeek Bookmarks Issue

November 23, 2004 - 3:00am ||| 0 Comments | Add new

Every day in my normal workflow, as I come across interesting web sites that may be worthy of a DesignGeek story, I add them to an ever-growing list of URLs I maintain just for this purpose. I've been collecting these URLS over a year now — the dropdown menu for them goes way beyond the bottom of my screen — and really only about 10% of them ever make it into an article.

So much content, so little time.

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InDesign CS's Auto-Trapping

November 2, 2004 - 3:00am ||| 0 Comments | Add new

A friend of mine, a meticulous designer (and a relative newbie to ID) e-mailed me two simple questions a few days ago: Does InDesign automatically trap, like Quark? And can you see those traps when you preview separations (in Window -> Output Preview -> Separations)?

The answer to the first question is yes. Sort of.

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Hidden InDesign Shortcuts

October 20, 2004 - 2:00am ||| 0 Comments | Add new

Yesterday afternoon, a DesignGeek subscriber e-mailed me asking if InDesign had the equivalent of QuarkXPress's "Ctrl-J" (Command-J) command to quickly "Jump" to a page. If you look at InDesign's Layout menu where the page navigation commands and their keyboard shortcuts appear, "Go to Page" is not one of them.

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14 InDesign Features Sitting in Your CD Case

August 19, 2004 - 2:00am ||| 0 Comments | Add new

InDesign CS users, did you ever wish ID could create crop marks around a selection? Export all the stories in a document to text files with one click? Do Illustrator effects like Punk, Bloat and Twirl? Fill a frame with a bunch of shapes, all randomly sized, filled, stroked and rotated? Clean up a text file? Automatically add ruler guides around the edges and center point of a frame? Change an ellipse to a rectangle and vice versa?

No need to file a feature request, it already can do all these things, and a few more. Just open InDesign's Scripts palette (Window -> Scripting -> Scripts) and double-click the script that provides the feature.

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Editorium: DesignGeek for Editors

July 26, 2004 - 2:00am ||| 0 Comments | Add new

The InDesign listserv and forums have had a lot of discussion recently about importing Microsoft Word files and their attendant style-sheet/local formatting problems. When I went to the InDesign Conference in Boston a couple weeks ago, the same topic came up in various sessions. On the Quark listserv and forums it's a perennial topic as well.

If only Word users had some inkling of how to apply (or not apply) text formatting correctly, we page layout people wouldn't have to spend hours fixing their files…that's the general gist. And oh, how true it is! (I can feel the earth shift a little as hundreds of you read this and nod your heads in commiseration.)

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Free History Menu for InDesign

July 7, 2004 - 2:00am ||| 0 Comments | Add new

It's so very cool that InDesign has an unlimited number of Undo's. Until you need to use them.

The problem is you can only Undo one step at a time — there's no History palette, thus, no way to click on a 'state" ten or twenty steps back. Just gotta keep on pressing that old friend, Command/Ctrl-Z, over and over again till you arrive at the point right before you screwed something up.

You can get a bit more control if you don't mind using the menu command, Edit->Undo, instead of the keyboard shortcut. The Edit menu tells you which action is on the chopping block: Undo Typing, Undo Scale, Undo Deletion of a Mess of Pages You Shouldn't Have Trashed You Imbecile, Undo Typing, like that. more >

Why Photoshop PDFs Rule

July 7, 2004 - 2:00am ||| 4 Comments | Add new

Most designers are aware that for the past few years, Photoshop has had the ability to keep track of vector data (crisp PostScript paths for live text and shapes) as well as raster data (pixels from regular paint layers) in the same file. When you print your layered .psd file from Photoshop, it sends the vector info along with the raster info to your printer, resulting in sharp type even at very small sizes.

Did you know the same thing is true of Photoshop PDFs? Even after being being imported into another program and printed/exported from there?

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Favorite InDesign Student Tips

June 16, 2004 - 2:00am ||| 1 Comment | Add new

When I'm in the middle of a software training session, I love how student's questions about and experiments with neglected corners of the program often lead to new discoveries.

I've been doing a lot of InDesign training lately. Here are a few of my favorites tiplets discovered by students during these sessions:

Change the Default Font

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Quark 6.1 Projects vs. Layouts

May 27, 2004 - 3:00am ||| 0 Comments | Add new

The first concept new Quark 6.1 users need to get their heads around is this program's unique (as far as I know) ability to combine multiple client projects in one file.

The file that you create in 6.1 by going to "File -> New" is called a Project (a project can contain multiple projects?) which doesn't help. :-)

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