InDesign tip : #35

sometimes your InDesign files may get a little feral and tracking down rogue colours can be a bit tedious. obviously deleting unused swatches is pretty easy, but this doesn’t always get rid of all ‘unexpected’ colours.

here’s the easy way to find those buggers …

first change that random colour into a spot swatch :
screen grab of swatch panel with random colour
changing swatch to spot colour
screen grab of swatches panel showing spot

then set up a preflight profile that treats spot colours as ‘not allowed’ :
setting up spot colour preflight check

this will pinpoint exactly where the problem swatch is being used in your document. then you can decide how to proceed with those elements :
screen grab of preflight panel

if the preflight check doesn’t show anything up, then the swatch is probably being used by a style (paragraph, character or object). delete all your unused styles, and if that swatch still won’t budge then the style attached to the swatch is probably the base for another style — get it?

you can go ahead and delete the swatch, replacing it with whatever other swatch you choose — or not bother, if it’s not being used, it’s not being a problem.

keep grunting.

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InDesign tip : #34

sometimes things go awry with InDesign and it behaves abominably. sometimes things go even more awry and you can no longer open the application at all. these are the times to trash your preferences. but sometimes even this doesn’t work — and that’s what we’re going to cover in this post.

but first — trashing preferences. the best way to do this is to manually remove two files (if it’s running, quit InDesign to do this). both of these can be found in the user ‘Library’ which is, in recent versions of OSX, a hidden folder which does not normally show up in the Finder’s Go menu. but if you click Go and then hold down the option key — you’ll see Library get added to the list :
two version of the Finder's Go menu.

once inside the library folder, navigate to and delete these two files (after making a backup copy somewhere) :
> Preferences > Adobe InDesign > [version number] > [language] > InDesign Defaults
> Caches > Adobe InDesign > [version number] > [language] > InDesign SavedData

unfortunately, deleting those two files will also delete handy things like print and document presets and whatnot (luckily, things like workspaces, customised keyboard shortcuts, and PDF presets are not lost) BUT it will fix InDesign in the overwhelming majority of cases.

sometimes however this DOES NOT work and InDesign will continue to crash when attempting to start up. this may be caused by some recalcitrant recovery data. so the next thing to try is deleting this folder — also in the caches folder (again, after making a handy backup copy somewhere) :
> Caches > Adobe InDesign > [version number] > [language] > InDesign Recovery >

but once in a purple-polka-dotted moon you may find that EVEN THIS DOES NOT WORK. then it’s time to get radical and delete everything else inside that last level of the caches folder (again, after … you know the score):
> Caches > Adobe InDesign > [version number] > [language] >

if even THAT doesn’t work then … well … you’re on your own. sorry.

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InDesign tip : #33

this post may become a bit of a hodge-podge of a couple of different things, but the main message for today is …

if you have not already ‘upgraded’ to InDesign CC

the CC version of InDesign is proving to be a real dog — it sporadically suffers from serious time lags for even the most mundane tasks (eg. selecting text) and is clunky in a bunch of other ways (the UI is simply grotesque — quite windows-like — click to enlarge) :
dialogs comparison between CS6 and CC

we’ve already looked at solving one speed issue that’s been with us since CS4 — the live preflight ‘feature’ — way back in InDesign tip : #09.

upgrading your operating system to OS X 10.9 does help the CC time lag issue significantly, but does not completely resolve the problem. so, you need a couple of other workarounds to help speed things up. these are NOT optimum solutions because they take away some handy functionality which many of us have come to rely upon — but they will help to save you from punching yourself in your own head.

with CC, the speed issue seems to become noticeable once you’ve imported a bunch of high res images (anything more than about half a dozen appears to unsettle the poor blossom). so here are two things to change to get things rolling again (somewhat).

the Pages panel generally looks something like this (screen grabs have been taken from CS6, but most versions are similar) :
pages panel with thumbnails

click on the little icon in the top right corner and you’ll get a dropdown menu — select Panel Options … :
pages panel dropdown

then you can uncheck the thumbnails checkbox :
pages panel options dialog

and all you get is blank page previews :
pages panel without thumbnails

then do the same with the Links panel :
links panel with thumbnails

links panel dropdown

links panel options dialog

links panel without thumbnails

while you’re in the links panel options dialog, you may want to have a bit of a look at the other things you can display in the columns (top section of links panel) and the link info (bottom section). you may find there’s stuff here which is specific for your workflow :
links panel with additional rows
the columns of the links panel can be resized (click and drag the little black line between column headings) and rearranged (click and drag the column heading itself).

you may even find it helpful to set up different versions of the links panel for different workspaces (see tip #08 if you have not yet discovered the benefits of workspaces). for example, some people find it handy to have a basic setup (similar to above) for standard work, but a more extensive set of choices for a separate prepress workspace :
links panel extended

as mentioned, this is not an ideal workaround, but if you’re stuck with InDesign CC and you find the time-lag issue excruciating, then give this a go, at least until Adobe get their act together and restore InDesign to its former glory.

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InDesign tip : #32

it’s amazing the stuff you’ll find sometimes just by poking around in a program. it seems that if you hold the command key while selecting InDesign > about InDesign you’ll get this panel :
InDesign Component Information Panel

it contains all kinds of gobbledegook — the top section of the panel relates to the InDesign application, the bottom section is about the current document.

no doubt this stuff is useful to professionals who know what’s what, but the bit that’s probably most informative to us amateurs is the document history in the bottom left corner. if you scroll down in that panel you find a blow-by-blow rundown of what’s happened to the document since it was first created in InDesign :
Indesign Document History 01
this one shows a document that was originally converted from a QuarkXpress file back in 2009, has been ‘saved as’ several times, and went through a conversion this morning when it was opened on a different machine in a different version of InDesign.

the listed dates may well help you track down earlier versions of a document but it’s particularly good at letting you know when a file might be getting a little tired (before it finally falls over and refuses to budge).

there are two ways to quickly build a fresh version of a failing file. the first way is the ‘authorised’ technique : save or export your file to the idml format, then open and save. the advantage of this method is that you get an exact duplicate of the old file (with ALL styles, swatches, etc.). the new document history will look something like this :
Indesign Document History 02

but way back in tip #05 we looked at a different method. it basically involves moving pages to a new document :
Move Pages dialog

this is a superior method in several respects : it’s faster, especially as documents get bigger (‘converting’ an idml file can often take some time) ; it also strips out all unused styles, swatches, master pages, etc. so you basically end up with a cleaner file. and the new document history will look something like this :
Indesign Document History 03

have a look and add a comment if you find another cool use for the Adobe InDesign Component Information panel.

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InDesign tip : #31

the last couple of scripting lessons (#30 & #31) showed a couple of examples of how to use applescript to assist with reformatting an existing table. but if you are setting up your own tables you’d use table and cell styles to make your life a little easier.

as with paragraph, character and object styles — if you are going to use particular formatting settings more than once in a document, it’s smart to create a style for those settings. so, if your document has several tables with similar formatting, you’d create a table style. this example only has one table, so we’ll just look at cell styles.

when we first change our text to a table it will look something like this :
screen grab of unformatted table

then we start to create the table formatting we want :
screen grab of partially formatted table

to create the cell style for the reversed row, highlight that row and then choose “New Cell Style…” from the flyout menu on the cell styles panel (windows > styles > cell styles) :
screen grab of cell styles panel flyout menu

you can also access this functionality directly from your control panel :
screen grab of cell styles menu in control panel

the new style takes on the formatting of the selected cells. we’re calling that style ‘header row’ and you can see that, as well as the colour of the cells, the cell style will also apply a paragraph style to the text in those cells. that is, the paragraph style does not need to be applied separately — it’s part of the cell style :

then repeat the process for each different cell type. for this table we’ve created three different cell styles :
screen grab of new styles in cell styles panel

the easiest way to proceed from here is to first apply the most common style to the entire table. to select every cell in a table, first place your cursor somewhere within the table and then move your mouse to the top left corner of the table until you see a downward pointing arrow, then click.

here we’ve applied the ‘basic row’ style to the entire table by clicking that style in the cell styles panel (or from the control panel dropdown) :
screen grab showing entire table with bsaic row style applied

then go through and apply the other styles to their relevant cells (here we’re doing entire rows in the same style) :
screen grab of table with complete formatting

now here’s why you’ve gone to all that trouble … when the client comes back and says they want all the reversed rows to be thicker and all the blank rows to be thinner (or any of a gazillion other possible alterations), you don’t have to change each row individually (or use applescript) you just change the cell styles. unfortunately InDesign does not yet allow you to specify a specific cell height in the cell style (who knows why), but you CAN change the spacing — or cell insets. here we’re changing the top and bottom insets for the ‘header row’ style from 1mm to 2mm :
screen grab showing cell style options for the header row style

and like magic the entire table is updated automatically :

so, if you’re working with tables but not using cell styles, you’re probably working way too hard.

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