A couple issues ago I mentioned that Shane Stanley and Ray Robertson's "unique training event," the AppleScript Pro Sessions, are coming to Chicago for the first time on Oct. 31 to Nov. 4. Any designer, publisher or pre-press professional who uses Macs would do well to attend for at least a few days; since a big focus of the ASPro training is automating tedious publishing, design and pre-press tasks with AppleScript.
Ray and Shane e-mailed out an update last week announcing that Olav Martin ("Ole") Kvern is joining them to teach two sessions on scripting Adobe InDesign and XML. (This is in addition to the full day plus that Ray and Shane devote to scripting InDesign.)
Ole is the co-author (with David Blatner) of Real World InDesign (and other books), as well as the author of the massive "InDesign CS2 Scripting Guide.pdf" that's found on the InDesign installation CD. more >
Almost a full year ago, I wrote a DesignGeek story about how to edit screen font suitcases in OS X:
I said there were two choices: Morrison Software's FontDoctor, and <ack> Font/DA Mover 4.1, old old Macintosh system software that runs in Classic.
Both solutions are still viable … but let's leave Font/DA Mover behind, shall we? I can't remember the last time I booted Classic. Luckily, FontDoctor is up to version 7 and is available for Windows, too. The Mac version costs $69.99 and the Windows version only $49.99, for some reason:
But what I find exciting is that Insider Software, the makers of the highly-regarded font management utility, FontAgent Pro, came out with their own Suitcase Editor a couple weeks ago: more >
So often on any of the design- or prepress-related listservs and forums I participate in, when someone posts a question, someone else answers, "You could probably script this," especially if the questioner is using a Mac. It can get quite aggravating after awhile.
AppleScript is purportedly so easy for normal people (non-programmers) to learn, it sometimes feels like software developers leave off features on purpose, knowing that the user can write a script for it if they really want it. And I am so jealous of those that know how to do this … I've never been able to get AppleScript to sink in my poor brain, though I've sat down with tutorials more than twice.
Tiger's Automator is supposed to help end users figure out AppleScripting, and it already has many adherents, especially among left-brained designers. For example, the top download on the Automator World web site is Photoshop CS Automator Actions (a CS2 version is also available):
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):
Mac OS X users who've made the plunge to Tiger (10.4.X) are exploring the world of "widgets," useful little programs, that run from Tiger's new Dashboard feature:
A starter set of widgets are included with the Tiger install. They're general purpose ones like a mini-iTunes controller, a unit converter, and a translator. Cutting edge, eh?
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.
In the last issue of DesignGeek I described two ways of extracting Word art from Word files that clients might give you. Soon afterwards I received a couple replies from readers wondering why I was doing things the hard way.
Dave Haglund of Cygnus Media put it best. In fact I'm thinking of hiring him … LOL.
He's given me permission to reprint his e-mail here:
So many clients love to use Word's clip art and drawing tools in their Word documents. Then they give us the files and expect the same artwork to be reproduced in high-resolution, process-color glory. Such a shame.
If you've tried it, you know what I'm talking about.
When you import a Word file containing Microsoft artwork into QuarkXPress, the artwork is ignored, only the text makes it through. When you place a similar file in InDesign, clip art makes it in as inline graphics, but not anything created with the drawing tools.more >
Have you ever been in a situation where you needed to figure out what was different, if anything, between two look-alike documents? Maybe you've got two differently-named files that look the same; but you want to make sure they're exactly the same before you toss one. Or you need to check that copy edits were made, and nothing else, between the "almost final" version of a page layout file sitting on your hard drive and the "final" version your freelancer just delivered.
If you're dealing with long documents, this task can be onerous. Even comparing a couple short ones — line by line, break by break — can be a pain.
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.)