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    Russell Viers is a Transition Expert in the publishing world. Since 1997 he has helped newspapers and magazines adapt to changes in the industry. Read more...

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  • Archive for the ‘InDesign’ Category

    Print Separations from InDesign CS5 and Snow Leopard

    Tuesday, May 17th, 2011

    DISCLAIMER: By giving this information, I am in no way endorsing this type of behavior and don’t want to be labeled as an “enabler.” If anyone asks where you learned how to do this, just say “This guy I know in Poughkeepsie.”

    The question came up again today, this time from my buddy Jimmy Hines in Houston, TX: “Russell, using InDesign, can I export to PDF and get color separated files? Some of my printers only take color separated PDFS (process and spot), and the latest MAC OS no longer supports printing to PDF.”

    No. Nope. Can’t.

    You can Print and Distill a separated PDF from InDesign, however, and that’s probably what you are really asking since you NEVER could export a separated PDF from InDesign.

    With Snow Leopard and CS5 some of the rules have changed. In short, the Adobe PDF Printer is no longer an option in your apps. If it is, it’s a dirty lying trick and it doesn’t work correctly.

    So what do you do if your printer insists on separated PDFs? Tell them to get with the times by either buying newer equipment or learning how to use what they have correctly. The other option is to switch to a printer who doesn’t drive an AMC Matador to work while listening to 8-track tapes.

    Why am I so harsh? Printers have been able to print separations from Acrobat from version…um…six (don’t quote me on that, but it’s been a long time). Which means you can give them a composite PDF and they can control the color separations on their end. So if they are still asking for separated PDFs, they are either using older versions, didn’t know they could do that or [advance to next paragraph].

    Some printers have workflows where PDFs are simply dropped in a hot folder and it zips through the RIP to output. If this is the case, they must not have an output device that can handle in-RIP separations. Printers in the room, help me on this…name some RIPs that cannot separate as part of the imaging process.

    “Why NOT send a separated PDF, Mr. Smarty Pants?” you might be asking me. Well, you can’t impose it, can’t edit it in Acrobat, it’s been flattened, doesn’t have metadata in the images and other good reasons not to.

    AND NOW FOR A COMMERCIAL BREAK: I just finished a video titled “11 Things Every Newspapers Should Know About PDFs” and you can buy your copy here from Video2Brain.

    All that aside, let’s pretend that you absolutely, positively HAVE to create a separated PDF from InDesign on Snow Leopard…you CAN!

    You need to do a couple of things first.

    Step One: Go get a [insert favorite beverage here, unless it's alcohol and you're driving while reading this on your smart phone]

    Step Two: Download an unzip this PostScript Printer PPD, which you can do right here at this link I’ve cleverly titled: Click here to download the PostScript Printer PPD.

    Step Three: In the Adobe InDesign application folder, in the Presets folder, create a folder named PPDs. Exactly that…not PPD Stuff I need, not My Cute Little PPDs not even PPDelish…just PPDs.

    Step Four: Put the PPD file you just downloaded in that folder.

    Step Five: Restart InDesign.

    AND NOW FOR ANOTHER COMMERCIAL BREAK: I just finished a video titled “11 Things Every Newspapers Should Know About PDFs” and you can buy your copy here from Video2Brain.

    Step Six: When you go to print your document, you can choose the PostScript file as your printer and choose RTI RIP-Kit v3 as your PPD. For the record, you can use any PPD for a postscript device that allows custom page sizes, this is just one I had handy. See dramatic graphic below.

    Step Seven: Now you can go to the Output tab of the Print Window and change Composite CMYK to Separations and then do whatever custom settings your Printer as asked of you.

    Another reason I don’t recommend separated PDFs is because of all the controls the Printer has put in Your hands. Not that you can’t handle it, but it’s YOUR responsibility to know screen angle, line screen, etc. I just think you lose flexibility when working with a printer with multiple presses, various paper types or maybe you want to send a PDF that’s going to be printed in multiple locations. If so, separated is going to be problematic.

    Let me know if this helps. But remember…I’m not encouraging this type of shenanigans.

    AND NOW FOR A FINAL COMMERCIAL BREAK: I just finished a video titled “11 Things Every Newspapers Should Know About PDFs” and you can buy your copy here from Video2Brain.

    One reason I don’t write books

    Wednesday, December 17th, 2008

    I’m often asked if I have written a book or plan to write a book…and the answer is no.

    I get asked to write books from time to time by various publishers and the answer is always the same: “I’ll think about it.” Then, after 15 minutes or so…”No thanks.”

    There are many reasons I don’t want to write a book, but one of them involves my unwillingness to put something that is ever-changing, like the technology we use, into a permanent form. I just can’t think how much sleep I would lose if I wrote something in a book, then, after it was printed, realized a better way or that I was just plain wrong about something.

    An example of this is this nifty new feature in InDesign that I demonstrated awhile back at the Photoshop Convention in Munich, Germany. I was showing Adobe Bridge CS4 and all the new features…cool stuff…and wanted to show how you can use Bridge with InDesign to place graphics and text quickly.

    I selected several photos in Bridge, held down my mouse and flipped over to InDesign. This loaded my cursor in InDesign with 12 photos.

    If you’ve never used the Multi-File Place before, InDesign CS3 and CS4 allow you to cram a bunch of files for placement into the cursor for faster page layout. You can choose multiple files, including all file formats InDesign supports, including text, photos, Word, PDF, InDesign and more…very fast.

    And you can scroll through the contents of the cursor previews by banging on your right and left arrows. If there is a file you don’t want, after all, just hit escape and it will be…uh…unloaded.

    New in CS4 is the ability to hold down your Cmd/Ctrl + Shift keys and your cursor icon changes from the preview into a grid of small squares. You are now setup to place your files in a grid on your page.

    As you drag, you’ll notice there are only nine frames. You can hold down your left/right/up/down arrows to change the space between the frames, which is cool, too, but there are only nine of them.

    When you let go of your mouse, the files are placed in the newly created frames, and any files left over are still loaded for placement elsewhere.

    BUT I WANT 12 OF THEM!!!

    So this is where my reason for not wanting to write a book comes in. While demonstrating this new feature, an attendee at the conference raised his hand and said “How do I get 12 of them?”

    Crap…

    In my job of learning software, I try lots of things. I push buttons and hold down various key combinations to see what happens. For the life of me, I had not figured out how to get InDesign to change the number of frames from nine…and I tried everything…so I thought.

    I told him “I don’t know of a way…”

    What a loser I am.

    Well, after a few days I was playing with Bridge and InDesign again and I lifted a finger (not the way you might think) and there it was. The secret key. The hidden code. The secret passage.

    After you start drawing the grid holding down your Cmd/Ctrl + Shift keys, release your Shift key and now, if you bang on your up/down/left/right arrow keys, you will remove and add frames both horizontally and vertically, depending on which you hit. And it’s sticky, so if you create a 12-frame grid, it will be a 12-frame grid the next time you do it (this session…next time you restart InDesign it goes back to the default nine frames).

    Imagine my turmoil if I had written that in a book instead of only letting down 30 people, or so. I still lose sleep at night thinking of ways to contact those people in Munich and admitting my ignorance and showing them the missing link to total grid control.

    I need therapy.

    And finally I’ll note that even though there might be some use for this, it’s limited, in my opinion. It automatically places the photos in order of their names, and you can’t control it. So if you wanted to place photos in a certain order, that is not numeric or alphabetical based on the first character, you’re out of luck on this one

    You also can’t numerically control the spacing (gutter) between the rows and columns, so from a design perspective, it’s not as precise as I would like. What if you hit your up arrow twice and left arrow twice to create the look you want for this grid…how are you going to remember that in six months when you need to recreate it?

    But it’s fun to show your friends.

    Linking Text Between Multiple Documents

    Wednesday, November 5th, 2008

    If you have ever wanted to link a text frame from one InDesign document to another, you can’t. But I have written a little step-by-step trick that allows you to do it now, thanks to CS4′s Conditional Text feature.
    I just posted the tip on my buddy David Blatner’s InDesign Secrets Blog. Check it out at: http://indesignsecrets.com/threading-text-from-one-document-to-another.php.

    InDesign CS4 won’t do WHAT anymore?

    Tuesday, October 21st, 2008

    I was showing the publishing power of InDesign at a newspaper in Warsaw a couple of weeks ago and I starting showing one of my favorites: how to build pages faster by adding cutlines to the description field of a photo’s metadata in Bridge then pulling it out in InDesign and pasting it under the photo. All of a sudden it didn’t work. I wasn’t sure if it was a bug or I was having a small stroke right there in front of everyone.

    All was going as planned. I clicked on a photo in Bridge and selected the Metadata pane to enter information into the Description field. I typed like the wind and everything was going fine. I placed the photo in InDesign CS4 and was telling the audience how you can access this information from the Info Panel Menu and proceeded to demonstrate.

    There it was, right in front of everyone as I had promised…the Description field with the cutline I had just typed moments before. This is where things starting falling apart. I told them you can select the contents and copy it, then paste it onto the…uh…you can select the…uh…hmmmmm.

    Well I didn’t really feel like trouble-shooting the problem in front of everyone so I told them there was also a script that would automatically pull that info out and place it under the photo.

    Back in my hotel, I started trying to figure out what I had done wrong. Keep in mind I’ve done this literally a thousand times since Adobe added the Info Panel back in version, like, version CS1 or something. But on this day I had a small malfunction.

    As I was banging away on it, I realized it wasn’t me or my computer…InDesign CS4 just wouldn’t allow you to have access to the fields anymore. You can see them…you can read them…but you can’t select and copy them.

    So I emailed my good buddy Michael Ninnes who is in the know on these things, since he is the product manager. I just wanted me see if there was something I was missing…a preference or a shortcut key or something. He informed me that, in fact, during the re-architecture of that part of InDesign it was inadvertently changed (broken).

    He has also assured me this has already been fixed for any future releases, say, if there’s a CS5, for example.

    That’s good to know, but what about today?

    In CS4 Adobe gave us some scripts in the Scripts Panel that are pretty handy. One of them addresses this very problem and is actually better workflow than the copy/paste thing we’ve done, so ultimately, this is not going to be a problem.

    Go to File> Automation> Scripts and you’ll see two folders listed there, Application and User. Expand Application and you’ll see Samples…expand that and then expand the JavaScript folder (I’m worn out).

    Toward the bottom is two scripts we can use: LabelGraphicMenu.jsx and LabelGraphics.jsx.

    If you select a photo or photos on your InDesign page then double-click on LabelGraphics.jsx, you will get a menu that gives you the choice of a few of the XMP metadata fields to choose (I recommend just sticking with the description field) and you can apply a Paragraph Style to it and InDesign will automatically stick it, formatted, under your photo for you.

    You can even have it put the text on a specific layer if you build your document with graphics on one layer and text on another.

    Cool.

    The LabelGraphicMenu.jsx ultimately does the same thing as the LabelGraphics.jsx except it puts a menu item at the bottom of your contextual menu in InDesign so you can right-click on a graphic and select this option instead of going to the Scripts Panel each time. Keep in mind that this menu item will only be available until the next time you restart InDesign and then you’ll have to use the script again to reapply this functionality.

    So in the end, our workflow is unchanged: Photographers take photos, download photos, add cutline (caption) information into the description field of the Metadata in Bridge, Paginator places photo, Paginator uses script to add captions automatically under all the photos on a page at one time.

    Simple.

    InDesign: Dynamic Spelling

    Wednesday, May 2nd, 2007

    Admit it…you’ve had an embarrassing typo in a project that sneaked through the proofers.
    Well, there’s no automatic way to keep you from writing about the pubic library, but there is a nice way to double-check your spell check.
    InDesign now offers Dynamic Spelling, which will let you check and correct your type as you type your type…hmmmm.
    Click Here to Watch the Video (more…)

    Stop complaining about Text Wrap, will ya?

    Monday, April 23rd, 2007

    I can almost finally quit complaining about the way InDesign handles Text Wrap. Over the years I’ve gotten used to it and learned the workarounds of what I thought was a poorly designed tool from the get go. But now Adobe has revamped the Text Wrap Pane (palette) so that I only have one complaint left…and I’ll get to that in a bit.
    But for now, let’s celebrate InDesign CS3’s new Text Wrap functions, like the ability to sync all four sides of a bounding box when setting the wrap distance. Remember how you used to have to enter p9…tab…p9…tab…p9…tab…etc. Unless, of course, you are paid by the hour, in which case it’s p9…grab mouse and highlight next box…p9…grab mouse and highlight next box…p9…etc.
    Some of you probably just selected the Wrap Around Object button and set the one value to go on all four sides. This trick was faster, but the corners were rounded and didn’t always give the desired results.
    Well, now it’s fixed.
    Watch the video to see it in action.
    The bigger new feature for me is the ability to have the text flow along only one side of the object it’s wrapping, just like Quark XPress does. But in Adobe’s typical style, they one-upped them by allowing you to select which side the text flows.
    That’s right, you can tell InDesign to flow the text on the right or left side of the object, or to flow where there is the Largest area.
    And for those of you who might do books, you have the nifty choice of having the text flow toward or away from the Spine. This is only offered if you are using the Facing Pages option when building your book.
    You won’t know you can control this unless you look for it, because the default setting is to flow text on Both Right and Left Sides, which is how it has behaved since the beginning. Look for the menu on the Text Wrap Pane.
    There is more subtle fix that many may not feel. This is for the Master Page users in the room.
    Have you ever built a Master Page with an object on the page you want to have force a wrap on the document page. But then when you flowed text onto the corresponding document page it ignored the Text Wrap. Yep. And it wouldn’t recognize the object on the Master Page unless you did an Override on the document page? Frustrating.
    Well, it’s frustrating, no more. Nowadays, with CS3, you can put an object on the Master Page and apply the Text Wrap to it and it will work on the document page automatically. And in case there are a few sick people out there who actually liked the way it behaved for the past seven years, you can change it back in the Text Wrap flyout menu. Just select the object on the Master Page you want to have behave the old way and select Apply to Master Page Only.
    So what is it I still have to complain about? No keyboard shortcut for Ignore Text Wrap. You know what I’m talking about…you want to put a text box over a graphic that has Text Wrap applied to it but the text keeps disappearing. You have to go to Object> Text Frame Options and click on Ignore Text Wrap. It might be a little quicker to hit Cmmd + B (Ctrl + B Windows), but not much. I want a short cut to toggle the Ignore Text Wrap on or off.
    Until Adobe fixes this feature, we have to thank brilliant InDesign mind Dave Saunders for coming up with a script for us that does it. Here it is for you. Just drop this into your scripts folder and assign a shortcut to it and it will do the job.
    If you want it, just go to www.russellviers.com/files and either Ctrl + click (Macs) or Right Click (Windows) on the file named ToggleTextWrap.jsx and selectDownload Linked File.
    Well, time to wrap up this article…haaaaaaaa…get it…wrap up this article…Text Wrap…wrap it up…get it…oh, my, that’s funny…wrap it up…sometimes I slay myself…okay…that’s enough.

    Why the new Agates in InDesign CS3 are so important

    Friday, April 13th, 2007

    If you’ve never heard of an Agate, or you didn’t know people were still using them, then this new feature of CS3 probably doesn’t mean much and you may want to stop reading right now.
    Watch the video about Agates here
    I don’t use agates…never did. So why am I writing about agates? Because it proves, once again, that Adobe is listening to us.
    I remember the time I was training at a newspaper in Canada on InDesign CS2 and someone asked “How do I set InDesign for agates instead of picas.”
    “Under Preferences> Units and Increments,” I quickly replied, not knowing if InDesign offered agates, but if it did, that’s were they would be. I knew they had ciceros, and I thought if they had ciceros, they HAD to have agates.
    “It’s not here,” they quickly pointed out, with great disbelief that InDesign wouldn’t offer such an oft-used system of measurment.
    Well, every day of that Canadian training tour was met with the same question: “Does InDesign have agates.” At which point I could confidently reply, with as much sympathy as I could muster, “No…with deep regret, I have to inform you that it does not.”
    Honestly, I didn’t think anyone still used agates until that trip.
    In fact, I was so upset with myself for not having my thumb on the pulse of the industry’s need for agates, that the next week I was doing a seminar in Boston to about 100 newspaper people and I had to ask: “How many of you are using agates?” Not one hand was raised. Someone asked “What’s an agate?” and someone else shouted out “They still have those?”
    Yep.
    So you know, an agate is the equivalent of 5 1/2 point type and was used as a common measure of column length in newspapers.
    So back to my real point…if Adobe cares enough to put agates in the new InDesign because of a select group of users (and I’m not saying that only Canadians use agates, I’m sure they are used in Albania and Liechtenstein, as well) then they are really trying to create a piece of software that meets our needs….all our needs. And if you need agates, we’re going to give it to you.
    You want to be able to place multiple files at once? Okay, we can give you that. You want a better Text Wrap, okay, we’ll get on that.
    You may say “Yea, but I’ve been asking for a better Text Wrap since InDesign came out in 1999,” and I’d agree. But they did it…and a lot more in that time.
    So if Adobe is listening to us, the question then is, are you talking? There has been functionality changed in Adobe products in the past that I didn’t like, and I’m convinced it’s because the wrong people were talking. If you want this software to behave the way you want, you need to let them know about it.
    An example is the renaming of the Black Channel in a grayscale image. It’s not gray…it’s black! Why? Because it’s going to print in black and look gray due to the dots.
    Ignore me…I’m venting.
    Adobe has set up forums for us, the average users to go for information and idea exchange. Have a look at http://www.adobe.com/support/forums and you’ll notice there are forums for all the applications as well as the Creative Suite as a whole. Follow the rules and know that this is a great opportunity to be heard.
    And heard you will be. I was amazed during the beta testing at how quickly someone from Adobe replied to my bug reports. They wanted more info, or sample files, etc., but I knew there were people on the payroll reading my forum submissions. And they will read yours, too.
    So when the next version of Creative Suite comes out and you don’t like something about it, don’t go around with a bumber sticker that reads “Don’t blame me, I didn’t report my complaints and suggestions to the Adobe forums.” You’ll just have to live with it.
    And as a “thank you” to Adobe for listening to us, from now on I’m going to use agates. Not for my InDesign documents, because I use inches and picas too much. No, I’m going to start using agates in all other parts of my life. When my kids ask me “how much longer” when we’re on a trip, I’m going to say “Oh, about 37.2 billion agates…or so.”
    When asked how tall I am next time I’m arrested, I’ll kindly tell the officer “991 agates.”
    You try it…just know that there are 14 agates in an inch, 36 inches in a yard and 1760 yards in a mile.
    The rest is simple math.

    InDesign CS3: Multi-file Place and InDesignInDaInDesign

    Thursday, April 5th, 2007

    What’s the big feature in InDesign CS3?
    You know the one I’m talking about. Everytime Adobe releases new software there’s that one new thing that, when demonstrated, makes everyone in the room sound like their at a fireworks display… “ooh…aaahh!”
    For me it’s a combination of the Multi-file placement feature and the ability to place InDesign documents inside other InDesign documents.
    Big stuff.
    First, the Multi-file plac-a-lizer.
    Watch the video
    So here’s the scenario: You’re at your desk, you just finished putting frames on an 11” x 17” spread for a product brochure you’re doing and just as you’re done, the photos and text come in. “Finally,” you mumble under your breath.
    All you have to do to finish this bad boy up and hit the road is drop in 20 photos, a couple of text files and a few logos…and thanks to InDesign CS3, you can go File> Place and select the whole shootin’ match and you’ll see a thumbnail of each graphic, text, etc. so you know where to drop ‘em. Click, click, click and a bunch more clicks later you’re on your bike heading home to catch the game, or movie or whatever you do after work.
    And just like any new feature release, it only takes 15 minutes before someone says “Yea, but will it do this?”
    Thus is the case with Jeremiah Shimshak with the Winona Post in Winona, MN, who writes:

    “I do alot of Real Estate ads which of course have many graphic frames that I have to place photos of houses into. I’ve got the photos saved by the MLS number, such as (2921234_55 E 2nd St.psd). Now, using CS3 I can select all the photos to place at once, and see a preview of the photo next to the cursor. But that really doesn’t help me. What I really need is to be able to see the Filename instead of the preview, so that I can make sure I get the correct photo with the corresponding description in the ad. Is that possible at all?”

    Uhhh…No…not that I’ve found, but I’ll bet it will be in the next version. Great suggestion, thanks.
    As for putting an InDesign document inside another InDesign document, is this a dream come true?
    Watch the video
    Now you can keep ads or parts of a design you want to use in multiple projects editable all the way through the project. No more making a PDF, placing it on a page, seeing a typo, finding the original file, editing it, re-PDFing it, hoping you rename it correctly so it overwrites the old one, etc.
    Wow…good stuff.
    There is a dark side, however, and one we should all be aware of. You can’t embed fonts into an InDesign document. So if you are working alone or in a controlled environment like an agency, you should be fine. But if you start sending InDesign documents in lieu of PDFs outside of your four walls, you may have some problems.
    And even though you can embed graphics in an InDesign doc, I only recommend it for specific instances…and I’m not sure, yet, if this is one of them.
    Until I get a little more live production time with it, I see this feature as a huge collaboration tool with people on the same network, with access to the same fonts, graphics, etc.
    Designer A works on a part of a design that is going to drop into many different magazines his company produces. By placing an InDesign document instead of PDF or other format, designer A still has the ability to edit up until the page or pages are going to be output or packaged for press. In theory, designer B could drop the InDesign document on the page while it’s nothing more than a blank space, and as A works on it and saves, B will get a Modified File notice in his links palette. When B updates, he can see the current state of A’s work. In fact, since A’s work is placed in many different magazine, when the document is updated, it will be changed automatically for designers C, D, E, F & G, as well.
    For a lot of what I do, Snippets and Libraries are still the answer. Why, you ask? Because you can’t edit the InDesign doc inside the other InDesign doc. Not a big deal as you can opt/alt + double-click on it to open it in InDesign and edit it, but it’s a different way of working.
    This is yet another example of where the new tool is really nifty and powerful, but it won’t replace all the old ones. There will still be value in Libraries, Snippets and PDF. This is just one more new tool to tackle a different need.
    Together, the Multi-file place and InDesign in InDesign, or perhaps InDesignInDaInDesign feature, are a powerful new way to get to deadline quicker.

    Photoshop CS3: Black & White Adjustment

    Monday, April 2nd, 2007

    If part of your daily routine is converting RGB or CMYK images to black and white, you’re going to love a new adjustment tool in Photoshop CS3…called the…um…Black & White adjustment tool.
    Watch the video to see it in action.
    There are tips-a-plenty all over the internet on how to convert to grayscale. Most customers I watch work just use the standard Image> Mode> Grayscaleand get it out the door. Others will often create an action to convert an image to LAB mode, select the Luminosity Channel, then Image> Mode> Grayscale and discard the A and B channels. Others do all sorts of other nasties to get the job done.
    The big challenge is that certain colors that look different in RGB become the same shade of gray in grayscale.
    This new tool gives you total control over the different colors and how they translate to grays. For example, if you have a red shirt on a blue background, it could easily become nothing but a continuous gray. With the new tool you can have the red become dark and the blue become light…with the simple movement of a slider.
    Look at the rainbow graphic, Figure 1.

    Photoshop Black and White 1

    If you simply convert to grayscale, you get Figure B, which loses definition between some of the colors, like the cyan and green and megenta and red.

    Photoshop Black and White 2

    Instead, if I go to Image> Adjustments> Black & White, you’ll see that with no adjustments the colors have more definition, Figure 3,

    Photoshop Black and White 3

    but if you play for a bit moving the individual sliders, you can really create some contrast, Figure IV.

    Photoshop Black and White 4

    I can’t imagine ever converting to grayscale again without it. And if you are tinting photos, you not only get to apply the color cast you want, but you can still control the colors to create the contrast necessary, as well. This is far more useful than the Hue/Saturation techniques to create a CMYK duotone effect. How many of you used to create a true duotone, then convert back to RGB or CMYK? And, of course, there is the Color Overlay of Photoshop’s Layer Effects, but this beats ‘em all.

    Where do we begin?

    Saturday, March 3rd, 2007

    I’ve noticed a lot of new InDesign users are a really new. I don’t mean new converts from Quark XPress or PageMaker…or even Microsoft Publisher. I mean new to the “desktop publishing” world, altogether.
    Perhaps I’m seeing it more now because PageMaker used to absorb this type of new user. Maybe it’s because InDesign has finally taken its place as the respected tool of the industry.
    Regardless of the reason, there are people buying and installing InDesign who have no prior knowledge of layout, design, tools, fill, stroke, frame, PDF, etc. They are sitting down at computers and realizing very quickly that before them on the screen is a very powerful tool that has a learning curve…and it’s even bigger for a newbie.
    So here is my question to all of you experienced users: Where do we begin? If you had to give one bit of advice to a new user who knows nothing about print production, design, layout, InDesign, Photoshop, Illlustrator, you name it…what would it be?
    Of course there are the obvious things, like the basic tools, or fill/stroke, or what is a frame and how do you fill it with photos and text.
    But you probably wouldn’t jump right into Edit Keyboard Shortcuts, now, would you. Or XML, or Data Merge (unless they were doing something that specifically needed that).
    So, where does the new user start?
    When we talk about publications, I’m a firm believer in the power of templates. I would, therefore, recommend a new user understand what a template is, what it can do for them and what goes into one. These would include, Styles, Master Pages, Swatches, design elements, page numbers, frames, preferences and more.
    “Your cheating” you say, noting that this would show the new user nearly ten items, not the “one thing” I asked about. I said “one bit of advice” not show them one feature.
    So now I continue.
    If the user were heavy into design I would focus on that. Perhaps they have a history of design, but the computer is new to them. I would get this person right into the “toys” that will make them want to learn more about the program and keep them growing. I wouldn’t spend all day on Story Editor and Preferences.
    But what if someone is a wordsmith? I don’t think I would waste my time on Mixed Ink Groups, but rather focus on the nifty editing and typography tools of InDesign.
    Just some thoughts…and now I turn it over to you.
    Pretend your mom, or your aunt Josephine has just bought a new iMac and the Creative Suite to work on the church newsletter, as well as some other projects. What’s would you tell them to get them started in the right direction as quickly as possible?
    And don’t say “Just let me do it.