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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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  • Features and Fixes…things we’d like to see in CS3

    April 3rd, 2006 by Russell Viers

    Just today I was demonstrating the Text Wrap feature of InDesign and, once again, I had to accept the hard truth…InDesign isn’t perfect…yet.
    I know, it’s difficult to swallow, but let’s face it. If InDesign were perfect, we wouldn’t have anything to look forward to.
    Yes, there will be a CS3 someday. And when that happens, we will all, once again, be filled with that childish excitement generally reserved for birthdays and first dates. When it happens and what it will offer is only for the Adobe Gods to answer.
    But for now, we can do our part. Let’s compile a list of features we would like to see added to future versions and I’ll submit it to someone who will care. After all, one needs only use InDesign for an afternoon and it’s pretty clear that Adobe has been listening to us since they first released this great product.
    I’ll kick this off with a feature that was actually mentioned as a possible feature with the release of InDesign back in 1999, when Adobe was still calling it K2 and demonstrating it in dark warehouses on the edge of town…top secret stuff.
    I remember clearly that they hoped you could not only place, but edit PDF files in InDesign. It was even written in on of the white papers introducing the world to what this program was going to be.
    I’m not bitter about it…not trying to beat anybody up…just mentioning it again in case it was forgotten. Can you imagine if you were a newspaper and you placed a PDF ad on a page and could also edit it without outside software…at least for some basic stuff like typos?
    Another feature that would help the few spell checkers of the world would be a “previous” button, so when you’re cookin’ on deadline and click too fast, zipping by a word you meant to check, you could just press the previous button and go back.
    How about a button (it’s always a button) that will allow the frame, frames or group you have selected to be centered on the page automatically…and instantly?
    An Illustrator feature I would love to see added to ID relates to the align palette. When you have two objects selected to align, you can click on the one you want to have stay put, in Illustrator, and the other object, or objects, will align to it. Doesn’t work that way in ID. You are best served to lock the position of the one you want to align to prior to pushing the button…and I’m too lazy for such things.
    Now this article is called Features and Fixes… I have a whole list of things that I think should be “fixed” in the next version. I’ll list a few, but I don’t want it to seem like I’m whining. I don’t want to whine about it…just mention a few things to get this forum started.
    Before I do, however, Adobe has a place for such whining…and it’s important. It’s their Bug Report page and they actually read it. It helps them, and ultimately all of us, when you report things that aren’t working well for you. Then they can jump all over it and get a patch made to fix the problem.
    I can’t imagine how much goes into making a program like InDesign and have it work. I can’t even organize my keys, let alone make all the buttons and switches work in these programs. Thanks to them for doing it for me.
    Anyway, the link is http://www.adobe.com/misc/bugreport.html.
    Some things I’ll be listing today include:
    • In CS and previous, if you skewed a photo, you could select Fit Content Proportionally and it would reset it to the proper scale…that doesn’t work in ID CS2. You have to rely on Undos to get back or selecting the percentage menues in the Control or Transform palettes.
    • If you have a text frame with Corner Effects and you go to Text Frame Options, you can only adjust one of the inset spacing options, which uniformly insets top, bottom and the sides. That’s not the bug…that’s expected behavior. No, the bug is that if you do the same thing and make an Object Style, InDesign lets you set the four sides independently, but only the top one is actually working and it’s also setting the inset uniformly. The big difference is that when you do it outside the Object Style three of the four sides are grayed out so you know what’s going on.
    Flashback to my morning training session…and the Text Wrap.
    This isn’t a bug, it’s a feature I would like to see added to it. I want to have a button that allows me to tell the type to NOT run on both sides of an object. It would be even better if I had a second button that told the Text Wrap palette which side I wanted it to run down. Until then, I’ll just draw empty boxes to force the text out of the area in question…boy, that just seems so Quark-like.
    So now I turn it over to you…what are you looking for in your pagination software?

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