Tag Archives: spelling

InDesign Every Fortnight: Five Essential ID Shortcuts

InDesign Fortnight proved quite popular, and although I can’t do an InDesign Tip every week (the other apps will feel all left out) what I’ve decided is to run another feature – InDesign Every Fortnight – and every two weeks there’ll be an ID tip here. To get you started, here are five essential shortcuts every InDesign user should know – they’re simple but effective!

  1. Use cmd-6 (ctrl-6 on Windows) to shift ‘focus’ to the first available input field on the control strip – want that in English? Thought so – try this: select an object on your layout, hit cmd-6 and you’ll notice that the x field becomes highlighted so you can simply type a new value there. Select some text with the type tool – hit cmd-6 and the font field becomes highlighted (if you’ve got the character options available, otherwise you’ll get the left indent field). Tab to move between boxes or shift-tab to move backwards – give it a go, you’ll see that even some of the icons respond to the keyboard!
  2. To exit the type tool and go immediately to the selection tool, just hit escape (esc) on your keyboard – short and sweet, that’s it – but a real time saver.
  3. Use the eyedropper to quickly apply paragraph styles: click on a styled paragraph to ‘load’ the cursor, and then click to apply on other paragraphs. To resample if you need to, hold down the ‘alt’ key. To modify what the tool samples double-click the tool in the toolbox.
  4. To add a vertical and horizontal ruler guide at the same time – hold down the cmd key (ctrl 0n Windows) and drag from the ruler intersection (see picture below) – bam! – Two for One!
  5. Use the ‘Jump to Page’ shortcut – cmd-J (ctrl-J on Windows) to navigate your document quickly. If you’re on page 1, and you want to go to page 7, do cmd-J, hit 7, hit return – you’re there. Want to go to a master page? Simply type the master page prefix – so, if I’m on page 7 and I want to go to my A-Master, cmd-J, type A, hit return and I’m there – when I’m ready to go back to page 7, cmd-J, hit 7, hit return.

Ruler Intersection Point


InDesign Fortnight 10: Libraries

Well, here we are at the end of this InDesign Fortnight feature – I hope you’ve gained some useful stuff over the last two weeks and if you’d like to see something like this again, let me know!

We’re going to finish up with libraries, and this video should give you a good start – I hope you enjoy it.

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InDesign Fortnight 9: Super-powered Styles

Here’s one that can be used if you’ve got any strictly repeating structure and one of the tricks that I love presenting – it’s so much formatting applied with just one click.

I’m using a document containing some soccer fixtures – it has everything we need in the way of structure (which is essential here – any variation will cause this to break) and if you want to download a copy (in IDML format) via this link.

Mis en Place

Although mis en place is a culinary term I’m going to borrow it here – it means ‘everything in place’ (chefs don’t want to go scrabbling around for utensils while they’re preparing food) – and the InDesign equivalent is the workspace. As we’re going to be dealing mainly with typography let’s use a suitable workspace – go to the workspace switcher and choose Typography from the list – it’s probably a good idea to expand the panels by clicking the double-arrows at the top of the panel set, too. Workspace switching isn’t used enough in my opinion – it’s a lightning fast way to access the tools you need without having panels littered all over the place – if you don’t use it already, you really should give it a try.

Creating the Type Styles

We’ll begin by creating paragraph styles for each line, and a character style for the match date – we’ll do that first so that we can use it in one of the paragraph styles. Create a new character style which we will call “Red” and set it up as follows: Font Style: Bold, Character Colour – choose red from the default swatches. Don’t add anything to any of the other fields to make this style as flexible as possible – we’ll let the paragraph styles do the rest of the work.

There are going to be three paragraph styles here (as shown above) and we’re going to create them in the reverse order that they’ll be used, so that we can use Next Style.

Begin by making the style for the match detail – we’ll name it “Detail” and the options I’ve used (you may want to vary these – I’ve kept them very basic and specific to my region) are as follows:

Font: Arial, Regular, 10pt

Language: English UK

Space After: 3mm

I’ve also created a nested style to apply the character style “Red” to the first ‘word’ in that style which takes care of the date. Just in case you’ve never done this before, here’s how:

In the Drop Caps and Nested Styles category, click the New Nested Style button. From the drop-down choose your “Red” character style and if necessary modify the other options in that line to “through” “1″ and “words” as in the image above (click on it to see a larger view if you need to); this will work as there are no spaces in the date so it’s considered as a ‘word’ here. We’ll have to revisit this style at the end of this process but for now you can click OK and then we’ll create the next style for the ‘group’ line – I’ve called mine “Group” and it has the following attributes:

Next Style: Detail

Font: Arial, Italic, 12pt

Space After: 2mm

with that style completed we just need to create one more, called “Match”:

Next Style: Group

Font: Arial Black, Regular, 17pt

Space After: 2mm

Finally, we need to go back into the “Detail” style options and set the Next Style there to “Match” – now we’ve created a formatting loop and – again – that’s why a consistent structure is vital, any change to the pattern will cause this to break.

How Next Style Works

Next Style is a really powerful little feature – what it does is when you reach the end of a paragraph as you type, it automatically switches to the next style. Combining that with Quick Apply to get to the top of the ‘style tree’ means that you can format type incredibly quickly – one of my two minute tip podcasts covers it and you can watch that here. So how is it going to help us with that list if it’s meant to work when you’re typing? The answer is by putting it into an Object Style.

Creating the Object Style

In the Control Strip locate the Object Style button and drop-down. Click on the button and select New Object Style – we’ll call it “worldCup”.

Although it won’t hurt to leave them on, I’m going to set most of the Basic Attributes categories here to Ignore (shown by a small line in the checkboxes) with the exception of the Paragraph Styles – you can do this by alt-clicking on the Paragraph Styles check box twice (once turns all the attributes on, the second turns the others off). Now click on the category to access its detail area and then set the Paragraph Style to “Match” – enable the Apply Next Style checkbox and you’re done – it’s ready to use!

Click on the text frame containing the unstyled list and then either by using Quick Apply or the Object Styles drop-down, choose worldCup and – as if by magic – your list is completely styled. There are so many ways to use this feature – I use it on call-out boxes all the time and the only thing is that they must adhere to a rigid repeating structure (think of what we’ve done here: Match – Group – Detail – Match – Group – Detail… ).

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InDesign Fortnight 8: Captions

Although probably not one of the show-stopping features of InDesign CS5, the new options for captions are a great productivity bonus for so many document types – and every little helps.

Static Captions

Of the two kinds of captions available you’re likely to come across static captions first – you’ll notice that when you import an image there’s an additional option available in the bottom of the import dialog: Create Static Caption.

Placing an image

Placing the image caption

This will generate you a text box at the same time and by default will contain the file name of the file being placed – although this can be modified in the preferences. Any changes to the content of the box will need to be modified manually, but at least you get a frame populated with some text ready to work on.

Live Captions

The power of this feature comes from InDesign CS5′s increased support for metadata – data stored in a file about the file – and it is becoming more and more an essential part of everyday workflows (especially cross-media and variable data publishing), so if you’re not familiar with this already then now might be a good time to start learning! Just an aside for a moment – if you want to have a look at a ‘metadata panel’ go to File > File Info… (in InDesign, Photoshop, Illustrator, Flash, etc.) and you’ll see just how much data can be added to the file – you can also use Bridge to add/edit metadata for several files at once. To find out more about metadata in general – and how it enhances the file (searchability…) – try reading more on Wikipedia for starters and follow that up with a link (on the same page) to the Adobe eXtensible Metadata Platform: XMP.

Now that’s out of the way, back to Live Captions – the best place to start is with caption setup, that can be accessed from Object > Captions > Caption Setup. From here you can set up exactly what you want your caption to include – you can type directly into the two available fields, or add special characters from the small menus to the right of each field.

The drop-down in the middle gives you access to the different metadata you can add – there’s a lot – and if you need still more then¬† there are two icons at the end of the row that allow you to add and remove more. After that, you can determine the position and style of the caption – these attributes can be set and applied to static captions also – such as where the caption appears, the caption’s offset, paragraph style and even the layer on which the caption is placed.

The important thing to know once you’re out of the dialog is that the frame containing the caption must be either touching an imported file’s frame or grouped with it (the option to do that does also exist in the Caption Setup dialog) – if not you’ll get text inside the frame with the words <No Intersecting Link>.

Adding captions to links that are already placed is simple, too – right-click the link and choose Captions > Generate Live Caption or simply create a copy from an existing caption by alt-dragging it to the other links and it should update with the new data.

You can also convert your live captions to static captions (right-click and choose Captions > Convert to Static Caption) and indeed it may be necessary at certain times to do so – the captions are essentially a text variable and text variables don’t wrap; if you have a particularly long text string in a description for example, it may have to be converted so that you can wrap the text.

BTW – this works with other placed files, not just images – even placed ID files!

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InDesign Fortnight 7: Lists: Numbers and Nested Lists

Yesterday we took a look at bulleted lists, today we’re going to take a look at numbered lists and nested lists – lists inside a list item.

If you’re a registered use of this site, you can use the link below to download an InDesign CS4 copy of the file I’m using here (zip archive).

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Creating Your List

Creating a numbered list is remarkably similar at the outset to creating a bulleted list (see yesterday’s post: http://bit.ly/9t7EFP) but there are more options to be explored and some powerful features that make working with more complex multilevel lists much easier.

For that reason,¬† although the same ‘one-click’ functionality is available in the options bar, it is best to work with numbered lists inside a style for all but the simplest single-instance lists. Not only that, but to allow InDesign to manage the list numbers across stories and even documents (in the case of a book file) it is best to begin by defining a list.

Defining Your List

To do so, go to Type > Bulleted & Numbered Lists > Define Lists.

All you need to do here is to click the New button and name your new list (my example is called adobeProductList). Completing this step enables InDesign to do three things, two of which can be determined in this dialog – enabling the continuation of list numbers across stories and/or books, and additionally list levels – the key to multilevel lists.

Creating a Style for the Top Level of the List

With a text cursor placed inside one of the paragraphs to be at the top (first) level of my list, We’re going to create a new paragraph style. Making sure to check the Apply Style to Selection and Preview boxes, we can begin by naming the style – my example here is called productListMain – then set some simple text attributes (font, size, style, space before/after and so on); after that I’m going straight to the Bullets and Numbering category. As soon as you choose numbers from the List Type drop-down, you’ll see your text change and a number is inserted before the list item.

Next, associate your paragraph style with your list from the earlier step, although if you’d missed that out you can see that – just as with character and paragraph styles – you’ve got the option to create a new list from inside this dialog; choose your list from the drop-down and leave the Level field set at 1.

Now to choose the numbering format – I’m going to keep the top level of my list with the default numbering (1,2,3…). The number field is next and you’ll see that this is already populated with some metacharacters – ^#.^t . All they add up to is a number (^#) – to be precise, this actually means the current number from this level) – followed by a period (.) and then a tab (^t). Let’s decide not to have the tab character at this level and replace it with something else; highlight the ^t and then from the menu over to the right of the field, choose Insert Special Character > EnSpace – you’ll get a new metacharacter that looks something like this: ^>.

Now to add a character style for the number – there’s a good reason for doing this – the number will take on the style of the list item, which means that if you have a list item that has an italic style on it for example, then the number will take on that style. I created a style from inside the dialog that set the character format to regular with a red colour. Leave the Mode drop-down set to Continue from Previous Number. As there may be more than nine items at this level, we’ll set the alignment options to Right so that single and multiple digit numbers will align correctly. We’ll finish off this style by creating some indent for the numbers (I’ve gone for 10mm in my example); in this list there will only be single words so there’s no need for us to set a negative first-line indent. We can now click OK and a few moments later (using Quick Apply – if you’ve never come across it before read the section ‘applying the style quickly’ from day one of InDesign Fortnight) the top-level items are styled.

Creating the Next Level of the List

This is where the nested part comes in, and you’ve probably already guessed how it’s done – all we need to do is create a new paragraph style for the next level of the list, associating it with our existing list (that’s the magic step). With a text cursor inside one of the nested items, we can create a new paragraph style (mine is called productListDetail) and continue as before by setting the basic text attributes. When we get to the Bullets and Numbering category, again choose numbers from the List Type drop-down and then choose your list from the List menu – this time set the Level field to 2.

We can now set the format – I’m choosing letters (a, b, c…) for this level – and then turn our attention to the format field. This time, we’ll click before the current number metacharacter (^#) and from the menu on the right choose Insert Number Placeholder > Level 1 – if you’ve got preview turned on you should be seeing 1a now at the front of the list item. If you want, you could copy my example – I’ve manually added some parenthesis around the current number metacharacter, removed the period and replaced the tab with another En space: ^1(^#)^> is how it looks. After that it’s just a matter of playing with the indents to get them looking good and you’re done!

Converting the Numbers for the Clipboard

Something you need to keep in mind is that the numbers are added almost like an effect to your paragraphs – they don’t actually ‘exist’ as such (try selecting them – you’ll be there awhile) and this can cause you a problem should you need to paste the text into another application (like Keynote, Word or Powerpoint for example). The workaround is to copy the text into a new text frame (so you don’t ruin the flexibility of your original), then select it, and go to Type > Bulleted & Numbered Lists > Convert Numbering to Text – you’ll then be able to copy that text and paste it into your other application.

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