iCal and address book

what in the name of hideous monstrosities was apple thinking when they shipped lion with those fugly interfaces for iCal and address book? that faux baby-poo leather and torn page look is the naffest thing apple have done since that white crumb-catcher keyboard.

the styling for the app must have been outsourced to some executive’s pampered, brain-damaged, drug-addled nephew.

thankfully it’s easy to fix — to ease your troubled eyeballs, just replace all the graphics in the app package with new ones.

you can find aluminium-look graphics and instructions on how to install them at MacNix. if you appreciate how easy it is — flick MacNix a donation.

screen grab of iCal before and after updating graphics

macgrunt icon


InDesign scripting : lesson 23

here’s a quickie based on a question over at the InDesignSecrets forum. how do you centre the page without changing your zoom level?

there are a few different ways to centre a page :
cmnd-0 = fit page
cmnd-opt-0 = fit spread
cmnd-opt-shift-0 = fit pasteboard
but all of these change your zoom level.

applescript is perfect for this kind of problem — you’ve got something that you want to do time and time again, but it’s not available in the standard package. as with most scripting solutions, you need to be a little bit cunning — if there was a ‘centre page’ command, it would be available in InDesign, but there’s not, so you have use a combination of other commands to get what you want.

for this lesson we’re using CS2, but it’s pretty much the same for other versions. let’s look at the dictionary — search for ‘zoom’ :
screen grab of CS2 dictionary showing zoom command
(click the image to get a clearer view) there’s a whole bunch of entries relating to interactive elements — probably not much use to us. there’s also a ‘zoom’ command — which, you can see, matches up with our zooming options directly in InDesign (view menu). there’s one other dictionary entry for zoom — zoom percentage — let’s check that out :
screen grab of CS2 dictionary showing zoom percentage property
bingo! here we see that the current zoom percentage is a property of the layout window. SO, all we need to do is capture that percentage, then centre the page, then reset the layout window to the correct percentage :

tell application "Adobe InDesign CS2"
  tell layout window 1 of document 1
    set theZoom to zoom percentage
    zoom given show pasteboard
    set zoom percentage to theZoom
  end tell
end tell

awesome — works perfectly… UNLESS you have something selected — then, as you know, InDesign’s default behaviour is to centre on the selection. now, if that’s what you want it to do, no problem. but the original spec was to centre the page. SO, first we need to drop the selection :

tell application "Adobe InDesign CS2"
  tell layout window 1 of document 1
    select nothing
    set theZoom to zoom percentage
    zoom given show pasteboard
    set zoom percentage to theZoom
  end tell
end tell

awesome — again.

just save whichever version works for you into your scripts panel folder. if you don’t know how to do that — go right back and have a look at InDesign scripting : lesson 01. remember to update the first line to your version of InDesign.

then, to complete the awesomeness, assign your preferred keyboard shortcut to activate the script. if you don’t know how to set your own keyboard shortcuts, you need InDesign tip : #06.

and now for your homework…
how would you change the script so that it centred on the page, but still maintained the selection?

macgrunt icon

InDesign tip : #24

InDesign’s preflight panel is a great tool. as mentioned previously, live preflight is a dog, but the preflight panel is pretty much a compulsory tool for anyone sending stuff to print.

however, there’s still no substitute for doing your own manual and visual checks of a document before sending it out into the world. just as spell checking and grammar checking are no substitute for a proper proof read.

one invaluable feature which you should take a look at before sending EVERY job to print is the separations preview panel — if only to check your black plate. here’s a simple job about to go to press — boring design, yes, but looks fine to go :
screen grab showing simple page layout

now let’s take a look at it with the separations preview panel (click to enlarge). here we can see three common problems :
screen grab showing simple page layout with separations preview panel activated

the first is the spot colour (this is supposed to be a process job). whether or not that would be picked up by your preflight panel depends on how you’ve set it up. but this is a problem easily spotted in your swatches panel too.

the other two problems are highlighted by turning off the black plate in the separations preview panel (click on the eye to turn it off). you’ll notice all the black text has disappeared — this is how it should be.

that graphic is going to be a bitch to print — especially those fine diagonal lines — you’re just about guaranteed to get coloured halos around those lines when the heavy CMY plates hit the sheet (note: you can get readings of ink coverage by hovering your mouse over part of your artwork. the readings in the screen grab are from that graphic). BEWARE — images downloaded from online sources will not necessarily be well prepared.

ok, the last problem is that first bit of black type knocking out the coloured background. again, you’re creating a potential registration problem on-press with this fine type knocking out — it should overprint. in this case the problem is due to the type being inadvertently set to 99% black (as soon as type is anything but 100% black, it will knock out by default).

so there you have it — two common black plate issues which will not be picked up by your preflight panel but which could still compromise the quality of your printed job. remember — when sending a job to print — ALWAYS check your black plate in the separations preview panel.

… and keep grunting

macgrunt icon