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DesignGeek #49

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January 25, 2006 - 1:00am

Cool Tool for Previewing Web Fonts

Anyone who's ever tried designing a web site or any sort of screen-based presentation knows how difficult it is to come up with good-looking text styling that works cross-browser and cross-platform.

Web designer/designgeek Marko Dugonjic came up with a neat web application that will save you hours of time. TypeTester (free) lets you compare how various sizes and styles of "web-safe" fonts (Arial, Times, Georgia, etc.), OS standard fonts, and any additional fonts active in your system will look on screen:


In each of three side-by-side columns, you use convenient drop-down menus to choose a typeface and its CSS attributes such as size, leading, decoration, color, and background. Your choices are immediately applied to sample placeholder text below the settings area.more >

Nested Styles Tips in InDesign

Are you a fan of InDesign's Nested Styles? For the uninitiated, I'm referring to the ability to tell InDesign something like, "Hey, whenever I tell you to apply the Bullet paragraph style to some text, be a pal, wouldja, and apply the Character Style I made for the bullets too? Just to the first character in the paragraph. Thanks, man."

You set up these requests in the "Drop Caps and Nested Styles" panel (in ID CS or CS2) of the Paragraph Style Options dialog box. You only have to deal with four simple drop-down menus or fields per Nested Style. As long as you've already set up the Character Styles you want ID to apply, and can figure out a consistent pattern to their application ("first character," "up to the second sentence," "first three words," etc.), you can save yourself a lot of mousing around applying the same Character Style over and over throughout your text.

Here are a few Nested Styles tips I've picked up along the way to help you get more out of them. more >

Take Quark 7 Out for a Spin, Free

In case you've been busy working instead of surfing the web and reading non-essential things, you might have missed the fact that Quark has created a "public beta" of QuarkXPress 7.0 available to anyone who feels like testing it out.

It's free, it's fully enabled (yes you can print from it), and you don't need to own any previous version of QuarkXPress to run it. But since it's a beta — a close-to-final test version — expect a bit of bugginess and crashiness. It's not meant for actual production work at all, just testing. The beta expires on March 31, 2006, which hopefully means the official release will follow shortly thereafter. more >

InDesign Podcast: Join the Fun!

Late last year I announced in DesignGeek that David Blatner (my co-author for InDesign CS/CS2 Breakthroughs) and I were starting our own podcast called InDesign Secrets:

So here it is a couple months later, a half-dozen episodes under our belts, and let me tell you it's going great! What a blast! I never knew it'd be so much fun to do this, nor did I realize how much other people might enjoy hearing us go back and forth on cool InDesign tips and tricks. (We've received a ton of e-mail feedback, and often answer user questions "on the air.").

I think what makes our podcast so lively is that there's two of us, and the fun we have talking about InDesign together comes through loud and clear. There's a lot of laughter and good-natured teasing. We don't take ourselves too seriously, but there's very little fluff. We jump right in to the content of the secrets we want to share in each episode and thoroughly cover a bunch of topics, one right after the other. more >