In the olden days (pre-CS5), I’d build a book cover in one page, based on the dimensions of the front and back covers, plus the width of the spine. That approach was fine — unless the spine width changed. But now, using the spiffy new Multiple Page Size feature in InDesign CS5, it’s much easier to deal with changing spines. Here’s how: Continue reading
A student brought her MacBook to class and asked me to troubleshoot her new install of CS5. It would lock up when starting up, with the SBBD (Spinning Beach Ball of Death). I tried resetting preferences, to no avail. She had no third-party plug-ins, no font auto-activation — none of the common culprits. It was a clean install.
Poking through the Adobe forums, though, I came across a thread on the same problem. One poster found that deleting the SING.InDesignPlugin cured the problem.
Sure enough, that did the trick! She is now SBBD-free, and InDesign launches and runs with no problem. I didn’t have this problem on either my desktop Mac or my laptop, so I don’t know why it affects some folks but not others. But I’m passing it on in hopes it will help others.
The plug-in is here:
Applications> Adobe> InDesign CS5> Plug-Ins> Text> SING.InDesignPlugin
The forum thread is here (search for the poster “lipstickdesign”):
I’ve uploaded a Zip file containing two Photoshop exercise files and a PDF step-by-step guide to help Photoshop users overcome their fear (or hatred) of the Pen Tool. Here’s the link on the Practicalia website. It uses some simple geometric shapes, starting with straight segments and corner points, then moves up to curved segments. To get you ready for drawing around real objects, there’s a helpful bit on changing directions — corners to curves, and back again. Finally, the time-honored Photoshop ducky is used to give you a taste of using the Pen Tool on more organic shapes.
UPDATE: It’s finally been fixed! Download the 10.1 update and commence to TouchingUp.
Another reason to not uninstall your old software…
The Edit Object function (formerly TouchUp Object tool) is broken in the initial release of Acrobat X on the Mac. When you select an image or vector object, then right-click and choose Edit Object or Edit Image, it displays an error alert indicating that it can’t start the editing application.
No matter how hard you try to convince it to use Photoshop or Illustrator, it fails. Adobe is aware of the problem, but no date has been mentioned for a patch. Until this is fixed, you’ll have to use a previous version of Acrobat to do your repair work (if the original application file isn’t available), or use a PDF-editing application such as Enfocus PitStop.
Lucky Windows users — this doesn’t affect you. You can TouchUp to your little hearts’ content.
A number of my clients are construction-related groups who are planning to use InDesign for proposals and other company materials. Previously, they’ve used Microsoft Word and Publisher, and found it frustrating to be creative. If you’ve ever tried been forced to do page layout in Word, I’m sure you can sympathize!
Most of these clients want to keep the “look” of their new InDesign documents in keeping with previous materials. But it’s tough to create templates when you’re still learning the program, so many of these companies have contracted with experienced designers to create the templates for them.
Since I like to see typical client files before training (so I have an idea of what they need to know), I often have the opportunity to deconstruct these supplied template files before the client starts using them. And it’s a good thing I do. With only one exception, I’ve found that the designers are not giving my clients a very good start! Clearly, they need to be asking more questions before cranking up InDesign.
Some considerations when building templates for a client: Continue reading
InDesign allows you to create custom stroke styles. If you’re tasteful, you can create interesting dashed effects or multiple-stripe borders. If you’re willing to be tacky, you can use some of InDesign’s hidden Easter eggs to take it even farther.
To get started, choose Stroke Styles from the Stroke panel menu (or the Control Panel menu). Choose the Dash option (this won’t work with the Dotted or Stripe options). The settings don’t matter — what’s important is the name. Name your new custom style “Lights,” and click OK. Now you’ll see a little strand of Christmas lights at the bottom of your list of strokes. Whee!
Click OK again to exit the custom stroke style dialog. Now you can apply your festive new string of lights to a frame. While you can only apply a simple solid stroke to text, if you convert text to outlines, that restriction is lifted. Mwah-ha-ha.
Create some text (preferably bold enough to give your lights some elbow room), then select the text frame and choose Type > Create Outlines. Choose the Lights stroke style from the Stroke pull-down in the Control panel, and set the weight of the stroke sufficiently high to make the lights visible (probably somewhere in the 5-10 point range). You can apply a fill color, but your choice of stroke color will be ignored. If you choose a Gap color, it will appear behind the lights, filling the width of the stroke weight you chose.
I’m not saying it’s right. This may fall into the JBYCDMYS category (Just Because You Can Doesn’t Mean You Should), but that just adds to the fun. All we need now is Debbie Gibson Boone singing “You Light Up My Type.” 🙂
You can’t select bulbs and change their color in InDesign, but you can select the art and copy/paste into Illustrator and modify it there. Then just paste back into InDesign.
By the way, there are others: try creating stroke styles named Feet, Woof, and Happy.
Just in time for Christmas and Hanukkah! Now you can give Kindle books as gifts!
Adobe Systems has released the tenth version of the venerable Acrobat: Acrobat X (pronounced “ten,” not “ex”). Be prepared for culture shock: the interface is completely revamped. Not the “we moved some menu items around to keep you on your toes” you’ve seen in previous versions, but an utterly different environment. Like the “re-imagining” of recent Hollywood sequels, this one bears little resemblance to its ancestors.
As I explore more deeply, I’ll post more. But, for now, here’s how to find the full-fledged User Guide. From the Help menu, choose “Adobe Acrobat X Pro Help.” The Adobe Community Help application launches (as of CS5, the Help files appear in the Help application, not in your Web browser). Look for the PDF icon in the upper right corner of the interface, and click on “View Help PDF.” Once the PDF opens within the Help app, click the little floppy “save” icon to save the PDF to your hard drive.
When you package a document in InDesign CS5, the fonts are stored in a folder named “Document Fonts.” And there’s a special significance to that folder name. Open an InDesign file, and it looks around its current directory for that folder. If it finds it, whoopee, it automatically activates the fonts in the folder, without invoking a font manager. The fonts are active only for InDesign, only for that document, and only as long as that file is open. Those fonts are not available to other applications, or other documents (even if the “sanctioned” file is currently open). It’s a very personal relationship.
This feature ensures that the correct fonts are used when you package the job and send it to a commercial printer. But what if the printer has an established way of organizing customer files that breaks up the set? Many prepress departments have standardized directories similar to this:
—-Page Layout Files (working)
—-Original Customer Files
In this arrangement, the original InDesign file is inside the “Original Customer Files” folder, and its little friends the fonts are in the Fonts folder. And a modified InDesign file (altered to fix any problems or refine the file for the printer’s workflow) is in the “Page Layout Files (working)” folder. There’s no line of communication between this second-generation working InDesign file and the fonts folder. When you open the file, it assumes it’s fontless, and you get the “Missing Fonts” message and the dreaded Pepto-Bismol® highlighting.
But there’s a workaround: Place an alias (or shortcut) to the fonts folder in the same directory as the working InDesign file. Just make sure the stunt-double folder is named Document Fonts (not “Document Fonts alias” or “Shortcut to Document Fonts”) — the name of the original folder doesn’t matter. The InDesign file is happy again, you get to keep your folder structure, and all is well in Fontworld.
(Thanks to Rick @ Garner Printing for asking about this.)
Maybe I’m just resistant to change. But I don’t care for the new drag-&-zoom feature in Photoshop CS5. I believe Nature intended for you to drag a zoom marquee to enlarge an area of the photo, and it’s an old habit. In CS5, the same drag zooms the image enormously, as if it’s pulling it toward you, without centering on the area you’ve intended to capture. I looked in Preferences and the User Guide for a way to disable it, to no avail. So I settled for gingerly clicking and cursing under my breath.
I mentioned this to a group of SAS folks I was training in CS5 this week, and one of the guys sent me an email afterward, calling my attention to the “Scrubby Zoom” option in the Options bar. Doh! Now, of course, it’s obvious. If I’d known it was called “Scrubby Zoom” instead of “Pain-in-the-Butt Zoom,” I could’ve looked it up. Now I know, and I’m passing it on to those of you who like the Old Ways better.
*If you live in the South, no translation is necessary. But, for the rest of the world, the subject means: “Had it been a snake, lurking so close, in the same obvious location as the Scrubby Zoom option, it would have bitten you.”