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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

    Watching the Clock

    Saturday, February 24th, 2007

    Have you ever done things the hard way?
    You know, like the project where the customer wanted extra space between paragraphs, so you put in an extra hard return after each? The when the customer wanted a little less space, so you went in and selected the returns and dropped the leading…line… by line… by line… for over an hour. Then when you showed the proof, they asked for a little MORE space.
    Then you discovered the Space Before/Space After feature…ouch!
    Or remember discovering Style Sheets AFTER you completed the 120 page directory with last names and phone number in bold…and the customer changed their minds on fonts 53 times?
    Oh, the pain.
    But what about the people who do these things on purpose?
    I was at a publishing company once and help one of the employees set up a way to automate a lot of the card creation, only to go back a month later and he wasn’t using it. He said “Well, I wasn’t getting in my 40 hours, so I just went back to the old way.”
    Go figure.
    Have are you guilty of using the Delete Anchor Point Tool in Illustrator to get rid of all those extra points on a path instead of Object> Path> Simplify, the whole time watching the clock for five o’clock to roll around?
    So, whether you have a war story of how you USED to do things the slow way or a technique on doing things the slow way just to get in the hours, please let us hear them. Or, you may have a slow technique to share just to be stupid…we welcome that, too.
    If we use your suggestion or story in a podcast or cartoon, we’ll send you a free Deadlines Suck! T-shirt… and who doesn’t want one of these?
    C’mon… I know you all have some great submissions. If you are too shy to post, feel free to email the story to me and I’ll post it for you, under an assumed name. Or you can start your post with “I have a friend who…
    I have to tell you, I can’t wait to hear from you on this one.

    InDesign Templates

    Wednesday, January 10th, 2007

    I get a lot of requests for InDesign templates.
    Illustrator has them now as well as other programs, but what about InDesign?
    Now, I’m not much of a template guy. Generally I start with a blank page and put my own ideas on it. But there are times when it would be nice to have at least some of the project done for me.
    InDesign doesn’t ship with templates, but there are ways to get some, even for free, if you need.
    If you happen to have converted to InDesign from either PageMaker 7 or PageMaker 6.5 Plus, you have an entire library of templates that can be opened in InDesign and edited at will.
    If you haven’t thrown them away already, go find your old PM install disks and drag them over to your computer.
    There aren’t thumbnails of them, but you can open them in InDesign and resave so a thumbnail can be created for future use (CS2 only).
    There are templates for business cards, ads, presentation folders, newsletters, etc. You can also choose between A4 and Letter size.
    If you don’t have PageMaker lying around, or you don’t like what it offers, do a simple internet search for InDesign Templates and you’ll find truckloads of listings…a lot of which are free.
    I can’t vouch for the quality, but it might be a good place to start if you’re a beginner.
    Remember, however, that using Templates doesn’t excuse you from knowing the program in depth. There is a difference between a template that simply puts text and graphic frames down and you fill in the blanks and a template that relies on the full power of InDesign.
    If the template you download is using Object Styles, Nested Styles, Tints, Master Pages based on Master Pages, Auto Page Numbers and more, you would be better off having a strong knowledge of these features before getting too far into it. Otherwise the document is going to feel like it has a life of its own and you don’t know why it is behaving the way it is.
    When I build templates for projects, I like to incorporate as much as I can into it to make my life as easy as possible…and it’s all about me.
    So just be aware…a template isn’t a replacement for an ability to build a document. It is merely a shortcut to get you there.
    And the quality of the template is only as good as the builder or their intent for it when it was built.

    Avoid output surprises…use the Separations Preview palette

    Wednesday, November 29th, 2006

    I remember the days when we would output a file as separated to the laser printer to see if anything was going to show up on an extra plate if the job was CMYK. While the job spooled, we would watch the progress bar and if it mentioned a fifth (or often more) color, we would either stop the printing or let it continue and look at the printout to see where the extra color was.
    We would also use this trick to check for CMYK blacks like type that had been colored as “register” instead of black, etc. or grayscale images that were really RGB or CMYK.
    A lot of innocent trees gave their lives for the pursuit of perfect film output.
    We no longer need to rely on luck or laser printers for precise output. Using InDesign’s Separations Palette will give you a good headstart in resolving output issues, like the ones listed above or others, like proper overprinting and knockouts.
    Keep in mind that some of the overprint issues may be resolved based on your RIP (Raster Image Processor) settings, but it never hurts to see what’s going on in a file before letting it go, either as a PDF or native file.
    Let’s give it a go…
    Open up a document in InDesign and go to Window> Output> Separations Preview (CS2) or Window> Output Preview> Separations (CS1). I wanted to be clear on the two versions since they are SOOO different, and I don’t want you confused.
    After this palette launches, select Separations from the drop down menu and you will see a list of all colors used in the document.
    To the left of the colors is an eyeball, which you can toggle off and on again to see where that color is…or isn’t.
    I often toggle off the Black to make sure that what’s black disappears. If it doesn’t, I know there is an unexpected CMYK black. In which case I go to that image or text and change it to meet my output requirements. Simple.
    I also toggle off and on varnish plates to make sure they are overprinting as they should. This also works with foil, opaque inks, spot UV or any other special application that is to overprint the image below.
    Just remember that the Separations Preview activates the Overprint Preview mode which hides your guides and frame edges. If after you’re done using it you wonder where all your guides have gone, just go to View> Overprint Preview and you’ll be back where you started.
    If you want to watch a video that gives you an overview of the Separations Preview Palette, we’ve created one and aptly named it Separations Preview Palette.

    The Woes of Overprint Problems

    Wednesday, November 29th, 2006

    I had a customer one time who had a magazine cover go bad because they wanted a spot UV over an arrow, but didn’t set the art to overprint. When a bigillion of the magazines came off press and there was just a big white arrow on the cover instead of the photo with a shiny arrow over it, she threw up right there on the floor.
    Don’t let this happen to you. Take control of your files with an understanding of how to make things overprint, or not, depending on what you are wanting.
    Watch the video OVERPRINTING for a quick overview of InDesign’s default and customizable settings.
    One of the main things you want to know is that InDesign will overprint ALL blacks if you leave the default setting alone. If you go to preferences and turn it off, it will knockout ALL blacks. Those are your choices…on or off. Hmmmm…
    I always check with the printer or service bureau outputting my file to see if their RIP is set up to knockout and trap overprints if they are in the PDF file. I suggest you ask the same question.
    The reason that’s important is that you can knockout and trap overprinted black if it’s in the file, but you can’t overprint knocked out black later if you decide you need it.
    Should you decide you want black to overprint sometimes and knockout others, and you want to control this manually, here’s a little trick. Create a swatch called Knockout Black and make it 99.9 percent black. You can then use Black for all objects and type you want to overprint and use Knockout Black for all objects and type you want knocked out. The 99.9 percent black will plug up to solid on press.
    It’s also important to familiarize yourself with the Attributes Palette, where you can manually set overprinting on fills and strokes of type and objects. Just remember that for type you need to have the type highlighted with the Type Tool, not just selected with the Selection Tool.
    When checking your work, depend on your Separations Preview Palette, a video of which is available called…uh…Separations Preview Palette.

    Quark XPress 7.0 vs. Adobe InDesign. Why?

    Monday, June 5th, 2006

    It’s a busy week in our industry when Adobe talks about the features of a yet-to-be-released InDesign CS3 the day before Quark releases XPress 7.0.

    From early reports, it looks like Quark has finally had a decent upgrade, and it is causing a lot of discussion in the industry.


    That’s not a rhetorical question, I really want to know. I need help comprehending why so many people in the design, print, newspaper and publishing world are sticking with Quark through so much. We haven’t offered this much loyalty to any company in the past.

    We dropped typesetters for computers in no time in the mid-80s. We dropped PageMaker for Quark overnight in the late 80s. We killed SyQuest drives for Zips in an afternoon.

    So why all the love for Quark?

    Who literally changed our world with PostScript, ushering in the computer age?

    Who changed our industry a second time with PDF?

    Who gave us Photoshop (be honest…who doesn’t LOVE Photoshop)?

    Who changed our industry, albeit with lesser impact, with Open Type, Transparency in layout software, and incorporating industry standards in a usable way into all of its software (including PDF X-1a, color standards and more)?


    What has Quark given us? Page layout software that was better than anything on the market at the time…then a bunch of mediocre or poor, yet expensive, upgrades since. Add to that the years of poor support and they haven’t done much for us.

    On top of that, they’ve ignored or been slow to adapt to the industry.

    For starters, when XPress 4.0 was released, it had no PDF support, either for placement or creation. It wasn’t until InDesign was released that they got on the ball and gave us something in Quark 4.1.

    And what about XPress 5.0 released not OSX compatible?

    And XPress 6.0 with no transparency support, even though transparency had become more than common in our industry, including PDF transparency support.

    So here we are at version 7.0. I ordered it. I got it quickly, in a couple of days (6.0 took three weeks), nice packaging and a bevy of new features the trades are saying are impressive. I’ll let you know.

    But back to the bigger picture. The new macs were released AFTER InDesign CS2 was released. And CS3 will not only be able to run natively on the new Macs when released, they will have a bunch of new features to go with it.

    Bottom line: Has Adobe ever let us down? Has Quark? I don’t think your choice of software should just be XPress vs. InDesign…it should also be Quark vs. Adobe.

    Hands down, Adobe has not only created our industry as it is today, they continue to revolutionize it.

    I LOVE InDesign, and CS2 just rocks. I LOVE Photoshop, and CS2 just rocks. I am absotely in LOVE with Illustrator, and CS2 just rocks.

    As for QuarkXPress?

    So help me here, I’m asking for your help in understanding this continued love for QuarkXPress. I just don’t get it.

    Unless it’s the Stockholm Syndrome.

    The Great Missing Font Mystery

    Saturday, May 13th, 2006

    Have you ever opened you InDesign document only to have it scream at that your missing fonts?
    Who needs ‘em? Just print it, anyway, you’re thinking?
    Ahh if it were only that easy.
    No, you have to find ‘em, one way or another. But what if the missing font isn’t really there? What if it’s on the list but InDesign won’t show you where it is or won’t let you swap it with something else…now that’s wierd.
    One trick I like to do first is the ol’ InDesign Interchange Format.
    I received a file from a reader just this week with Times Bold Condensed showing up for no reason. Sure enough, it didn’t exist in the doc. After running it through the inx format…good as new.
    Click Here to Watch the Video
    Or what about when you copy and paste from another document, or drag from the library and all of a sudden…when the fonts were fine…they’re not fine anymore? Now that’s just crazy.
    We’ve created a little video to show you one common reason for The Great Missing Font Mystery.
    Click Here to Watch the Video
    If you have other examples of missing font issues, be sure to let us know…we’ll add them here.

    Starting With a Spread

    Saturday, May 13th, 2006

    According to the Laws of Printing, odd number pages have to be on the right side…period…no questions.
    But what if you’re doing a simple two-page spread or four-page brochure and you want the two spreads as spreads in the Pages palette?
    Many people just ignore page one and build on pages 2-5…but who really wants to do that?
    Well, there’s a better way. In the fly-out menu of the Pages Palette, you’ll see the option Allow Pages to Shuffle, which, by default, is checked…uncheck it.
    Now you can move page one to the left, drop page two on the right side and add other spreads below.
    Click Here to Watch the Video

    Quick Apply

    Saturday, May 13th, 2006

    There comes a point when working with Style Sheets that you might have too many of them. Add to this the fact that there are now three kinds of styles: Object, Paragraph and Character.
    So how do you sort through them quickly without having to move your mouse all the way over to the three palettes?
    Quick Apply.
    There you go…Quick Apply.
    Simply Cmmd + Return (Mac) or Cntrl + Enter (Windows) and you’ll see a menu drop from the Control Palette. Type in the first letter or two of the style and you’re rockin’.
    Click Here to Watch the Video
    If you have an object selected with the selection tools, you’ll see the menu contains ALL the styles in your document. If you have your insertion point (cursor) inside some type, you’ll only be offered the Paragraph and Character Styles.
    Give it a go.

    Style Sheets for Objects…now that’s cool

    Saturday, May 13th, 2006

    How many centuries have we been using Style Sheets in our pagination software… PageMaker has ‘em… that says something.
    But in the past, we were only offered Style Sheets for type. Headline, body copy, cutline, etc. But what about the boxes?
    Nope, we had to click…shift + click… shift + click… our brains out until we selected, then changed all the objects manually… spread… after spread… after spread.
    Not any more. Nope. Now we’ve got Object Styles.
    That’s right. Style Sheets for boxes. Isn’t life sweet? And they’re as easy to use and create as Paragraph and Character Styles.
    Click Here to Watch the Video

    InDesign: Adjust Text Attributes when Scaling

    Tuesday, May 2nd, 2006

    Here’s a thing that gets some people so frustrated they throw chairs across the room…or at least growl a lot.
    When adjusting type, sometimes the size is shown as the original size, then, in parenthesis is a second size to the right. Now what’s that all about.
    Well, the size in parenthesis is the adjusted size and the other, to the left of it, is the original size.
    Click Here to Watch the video (more…)