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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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  • InDesign CS4 won’t do WHAT anymore?

    October 21st, 2008 by Russell Viers

    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.


    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.


    4 Responses to “InDesign CS4 won’t do WHAT anymore?”

    1. David Blatner Says:

      Thanks for pointing this out Russell. I’ve been kvetching about it to Michael for the past month or so, and was very disappointed that it didn’t get in the CS4 6.0 release. I assume it’s because the new XMP File Info dialog box all seems to be made with Flash now. Sigh. Two steps forward, one step back.

    2. Russell Viers Says:

      At least it’s pretty. Aesthetics before functionality, I always say.

    3. Janet Says:

      Color me stupid, but what is “paginator”? InDesign help only wants to tell me how to add more pages to the document.

    4. Matt H Says:

      Hi there,

      This workaround has saved us a lot of time. But can you tell me how to stop the scripts thing from importing cutlines on to every photo on the page… even if we only select one picture and get the info for it in scripts…. a box and caption appears under everything on the page?

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