inDepth inDesign

inDesign tips and tricks

inDesign Tip #19 Advanced Underline Options

What we are accomplishing: Using advanced underline options to create double stroke, triple stroke, and other stroked underlines.

Everyone knows how to underline a word or sentence in inDesign.  You highlight the sentence and click the underline button, simple as that.  But what if you need a double underline, or even a triple underline?  Well my friends, there is an easy solution to that.

To begin, underline the text as you normally would.  With the text highlighted, click on the button directly to the right of the quickapply button (1).  A drop down menu will appear giving you the option to select Underline Options (2).

After selecting Underline options, you will be presented with a dialog box with plenty of options.  In this practice text, I need to make a triple underline to define that the “t” should be capitalized.  To do this, I change the underline type to “Triple”, change the weight to 40 pt and the offset to 26.25 pt.

Voila!  The text now has a triple underline!  The same steps can be taken to create other types of underlines, including double underlines, thinner underlines, dotted underlines, etc.

That is it for today’s tip, be sure to leave comments or suggestions.



October 27, 2010 Posted by | inDesign Tips | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

inDesign Tip #18 Using layers effectively in inDesign

What we are accomplishing: Using layers to optimize workflow and to create alternative document settings.

Sometimes you have a project that requires an alternate version, say a 20 page document with 2 different backgrounds.  The most obvious plan of action would be to create a 2nd document that has the alternative background.  However, this can be frustrating as you must modify that second file every time you modify the first.  There is a better solution however, and that solution is layers.

To view your layers go to Window>Layers or press F7.  A tab will show up where you can view your layers.  For those used to illustrator, using the layers in inDesign is not very different from using layers in illustrator.  The major difference is in application.  What we want to do for the inDesign document is to create a new layer to hold our backgrounds.  Click on the “new” icon to create a second and third layer.  The top layer should be labeled “content” while the other two should be named “background 1” and “background 2”.  Now that you have your layers positioned, you can put them to work.  Go to the master page for your document.  Once here, you can place the two separate backgrounds on their corresponding layers.  Make sure that anything that is not the background is in the contents layer (selection borders will match the color of the layer you are currently on, making it easier to tell which layer your object is on).  After that, just change the visibility of the two background layers to change the image for the entire document. Voila!  The document now has the ability to interchange backgrounds quickly and efficiently.

That is it for today’s tip, be sure to leave comments or suggestions.

July 16, 2010 Posted by | inDesign Tips | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

inDesign Tip #17 Quickly edit a vector object’s colors

What we are accomplishing: Quickly editing a complicated vector object’s color pallette.

Usually when using vector artwork, you expect to have clean lines with easily editable data.  Sometimes however, this is not the case.  If you have been handed a vector object that has layer upon layer of shapes and points and only need to change the color, then you are in luck!  To change an objects color quickly without all the hassle of going through your library of colors, simply cut and paste the graphic into a new indesign document.  In your color pallette you will have the default colors for a new indesign document.  However, once you paste the new object into the document, you will also have the colors found in your shape.  Simply double-click the color you wish to change and watch the shape change colors as you scrub to find the right color.  Voila!  Your seemingly over complicated object is now a different color, without having to pick through layers and layers of vector artwork.

March 23, 2010 Posted by | inDesign Tips | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

inDesign Tip #16 Creating your own shortcuts

What we are accomplishing: Creating custom keyboard shortcuts.

Many of your day to day tasks require that you know keyboard shortcuts to get work one faster.  Sometimes though, you find a command that you use all the time and there is no shortcut assigned to it.  This is an instance where you will need to create your own keyboard shortcut, so you can make your work-flow as effective as possible.  To do this, go to “Edit > Keyboard Shortcuts..” to open the shortcuts dialog box.  Once here, you need to find the command that you wish to add or change the shortcut command for.  After selecting the command, you can type in a new shortcut at the bottom of the dialog box.  Just hit “Apply Shortcut” and voila, you now have assigned that shortcut to the appropriate command!  You can add as many shortcuts as you want, as long as that shortcut is not already in use.

December 17, 2009 Posted by | inDesign Tips | Leave a comment

inDesign Tip #15 Converting shapes

What we are accomplishing: Using the convert shapes command to create new shapes from existing ones.

This is one that I don’t think I could live without.  Converting shapes is essential tool for any designer in need of a new shape fast.  To change the shape, first make sure you have the shape you want to change highlighted.  Then, you can go to “Object>Convert Shape”.  Here, you will be presented with a decent list of shapes, such as rectangles, ellipses and triangles.  Just click on the shape you want and voila, you now have a new shape!  Now, for most designers, this would suffice, I however take this a step further. 

To make changing shapes easier (and because I measure shapes easier using rectangles) I set the main 4 to my numeric pad keys 0, 1, 2 and 3. 
2-polygon (which changes according to your current polygon settings)
If you wish to know more about making your own shortcuts, be anticipating next week’s post.

December 3, 2009 Posted by | 1 | Leave a comment

inDesign Tip #14 Using leaders and aligniment options for tabs

What we are accomplishing: Using the leader and alignment options located in the tabs palette to allow you to do advanced editing with text.

When working in inDesign, certain tasks may call for special formatting of tabs.  For this example, let’s say that you have a table of contents that  contains a list of chapters with a corresponding page number that appears on the opposite side of the page.  You will probably want to do 2 things.  One,  you need to have a dotted line that will go across the page to connect the page number to the chapter title. Two, the page numbers should be aligned so that a word or character (in this example I will use BOOK 2) is always aligned so that page numbers extend to the left when they become larger.  Now, there are plenty of ways to accomplish both of these feats.  However, using the tools provided within the tabs palette will save a lot of time and frustration.  To begin, you will need to open your tabs palette.  Go to Type > Tabs to open this palette.  Once open, you will be able to set your tabs to the desired positions.  For now, place a “Center Justified Tab” in the area that you want the page number to be.  Now that this tab is here, make sure that you select it and that the tab appears to be highlighted.  With the tab selected, fill in the “Leader:” box with the character that you would like to repeat (in this case, using a ° to circle to create a line of dots) and press enter.  Now you should have dotted line of characters.  If you need to make further adjustments to the dotted line, you can format the “tab” character as if it were typed text.  Now then, to change the tabs behavior to react to the word BOOK, select the center tab that you created previously.  With the tab selected, change the tab itself to the “Align to Decimal” tab type located on the right of the tab selections.  Next, select the “Align On:” located to the right of the “Leader” box.  Here, you can enter in the word BOOK to make it recognize those characters.  Voila!  Now when you type to the left of the word BOOK, the text will continue to flow to the left.

November 24, 2009 Posted by | inDesign Tips | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

inDesign Tip #13 Creating a custom stroke style

What we are accomplishing: Creating your own custom stroke, so as to fit your needs.

Creating a custom stroke is quite simple, it’s just not very obvious.  First, you will need to open your strokes palette.  If you do not have it open, you can go to Window > Stroke to open it.  Once here, you should click on the flyout menu and select Stroke Styles.  This will bring up a new dialog box that contains the stroke styles you currently have.  Clicking on New will bring up another dialog box where you can change settings to create your new stroke style.  Just change the name and modify the settings to fit your preference.  Voila!  You have successfully created a new stroke style.

November 19, 2009 Posted by | inDesign Tips | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

inDesign Tip #12 Converting Typographer’s (Smart) Quotes into Straight (Dumb) Quotes

What we are accomplishing: Changing Typographer’s quotes into straight quotes, or vice versa, for an entire document.  For a detailed explanation over dumb/smart quotes, visit this link.

For some designers, quotes can be a bit of hassle if a situation calls for a specific type.  Some company’s prefer the smart quote because it is more appropriate for design than the dumb quote.  However some instances would require the use of the dumb quotes to fill a certain criteria.  Here are two examples that I have faced regularly.

1.)  The use of dumb or straight quotes is the proper way to define measurement.  Therefore if you have inches (“) or feet (‘), the proper way to display them would be with straight quotes.

2.)  When using the Adobe program Flash, programming language is set to recognize straight quotes instead of typographer’s quotes for certain functions.  Therefore, if you copy text that you have written in inDesign over to Flash’s Actionscript without using straight quotes, any code that uses quotes will not function correctly.

So, now that I have fully explained the use of straight and typographer’s quotes, I shall move on to the solution to change all instances of them in a document.

To change your documents default use of quotes, go into your “Preferences” panel and select “Type…”.  Once here, you can turn on or off the use of Typographer’s quotes at the top the dialog box.  Now that your typographer’s quotes are off (or on) you can proceed to change them.  Please note, that turning on or off the typographer’s quotes in the dialog box will not change all the instances that you currently have in your document. To change all instances, you will have to do a find and replace.  Press ctrl+F to open the “Find and Replace” dialog box.  All you have to do is type in a quotation mark in the “Find” and a quotation mark in the “Replace” and hit “Replace All”.  Voila!  You have successfully  changed all of the quotations into their smart or dumb counterpart!

Also, if you are wondering how to change only a specific instance of the quotes, say in a sentence or a single time, you can find your font’s counterpart within it’s glyph set.

November 12, 2009 Posted by | inDesign Tips | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

inDesign Tip #11 Rotating a page or spread within a document

What we are accomplishing: Re-orienting a single page inside a document, so as not to rotate other pages.

To change the rotation of a page, you first need to go to the page you wish to rotate.  Once on the desired page, go to “View > Rotate Spread”.  Here you will have the option to rotate the spread (or single page if you have page spreads turned off).  Just click on one of the degree options and voila!  You have successfully changed the rotation of a single page within a document.

November 5, 2009 Posted by | inDesign Tips | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

inDesign Tip #10 Get rid of the first page when working with spreads

What we are accomplishing: Making the first page of a spread sheet document not start with a cover page.

First I would like to thank those of you who have been patient in waiting for this post.  I have been really busy lately and have not had a chance to do a post this last week.  From here on out I will be trying to do a post at least every Thursday.

Alright, on to the tip!  Today’s tip is a bit tricky.  The thing that we are trying to correct here is fixing that first page in a spread document so that you can start with a spread at the left, instead of a single page set to the right.  The easiest way to fix this is to actually renumber the pages.  The reason why inDesign puts that first page to the right is because it is an odd number.  All odd numbers are to the right, and all even numbers are to the left.  So, if you open your pages panel and right click on the first page of the document, your contextual menu will have an item called “Numbering and Sectioning Options”.  Clicking this will take you a screen that will let you change the page number.  There will be a field that starts with “Start Page Numbering at:    “.  You will want to put an even number in this field.  Voila!  You’re first page is now set to start from the left.  Now then, the second way to approach this problem is to turn off automatic page shuffling.  Follow these steps, which are taken from the official Adobe Help Resource Center, to fix the problem.

  1. Make sure page 1 of the document is blank.
  2. Choose File > Document Setup. Be sure the document contains at least three pages and that the Facing Pages option is selected. Click OK.
  3. In the Pages panel, select all the pages except page 1. (The easiest way to do this is to select page 2 and then Shift-select the last page of the document.)
  4. In the Pages panel menu, deselect Allow Selected Spread To Shuffle.
  5. Select page 1. In the Pages panel menu, choose Delete Spread.

That’s all there is to it!

October 29, 2009 Posted by | inDesign Tips | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments