One of my biggest gripes with InDesign has always been that the PageDown and PageUp keys no longer move the document a full page up or down. Why? Why? Why? It worked in PageMaker. And it’s just intuitive. So why change it?
Beats me, but they did and they never changed it back. So are there better ways to navigate through a long document in InDesign? Yes, there are! Thank you for asking.
- Most folks know these first two shortcuts but for the newbies among us we want to share them:
- Regain that true PageUp/PageDown capability by adding the Alt key. So Alt-PageUp will take you to the previous spread and Alt-PageDown will take you to the next spread.
- You can skip to the first page of your document by pressing Shift-Ctrl-PageUp, and to the last page by pressing Shift-Ctrl-PageDown.
- To jump to any page in your file, Ctrl-J will open up a page number dialog box. Enter the page number that you want to jump to and it will take you right there. (Think J for Jump)
- Want to go back to the page you just jumped from? Use the Go Back command (Ctrl-PageUp) and Go Forward (Ctrl-PageDown) to jump back and forth between the page you’re on and the page you just jumped from.
I understand that if you don’t use them all the time, keyboard shortcuts are almost impossible to remember. Just using the mouse would be a better option for the occasional user or for those who just don’t like keyboard shortcuts. Adobe has built in a very good resource for mouse users, but they’ve cleverly hidden it in plain sight.
On the bottom row of your InDesign document window, on the same row where the horizontal scroll bar is, there is a tiny navigation panel on the left side of the scroll bar that you can operate with your mouse.
You may have noticed that the page number of the page that you are viewing appears there. Besides just telling you which page you’re currently on, this miniscule panel does a bunch of nifty mouse-able navigation tricks:
- Use your mouse to highlight the page number, then type in another page number and hit Enter. It will jump you directly to that page.
- To the right of the page number in this little navigation panel is a down arrow. Clicking on it will open up a scrollable drop-down window that will let you select any page that you want. Even better, if you are using one or more Master Pages with this document, it will allow you to go directly to any of them as well. All of the Master Pages are grouped at the bottom of the list of document page numbers.
- On either side of the little page number navigation box are a pair of arrows, facing left and facing right. If your entire spread is being shown in your document window, clicking on the left arrow to take you to the previous spread and clicking on the right arrow will take you to the next spread. But if you are zoomed in to any degree before you use these arrow buttons, they will take you to the previous or next page instead of spread. (Tt actually takes you to the previous/page at the same zoomed-in area.)
- Just beyond the left and right arrow buttons are buttons that show an arrow with a vertical line. As you may well have guessed, these buttons will jump you to the first spread or the last spread of your document.
Good stuff, eh? So while the PageUp and PageDown keys on your keyboard will still frustrate you, it’s good to know that there are other options that InDesign has provided and then completely forgotten to tell you about.
But then, that’s what we’re here for.
In Adobe’s ongoing quest to add even more value to their Creative Cloud software subscription service, they are now including free online video tutorials on many of the products that make up the Creative Cloud suite. These tutorials are only free to Creative Cloud subscribers. They have been produced by some of the top software training companies, who will continue to add new content each month.
Under their agreement with Adobe, Adobe gets exclusive access to these new tutorials for 14 days, even before the training development companies can make them available to their own paid subscribers. What’s more, the tutorials will remain permanently available to Adobe Creative Cloud subscribers. You can access them from anywhere on any kind of Net-connected device by logging in to your Creative Cloud account and clicking on “Learn” in the black menu bar at the top of the screen.
As good as this training is, and as good as free is, it’s not as good as our favorite source for online training, Lynda.com. There are a couple of reasons for that. First, it’s just not as comprehensive. Adobe currently has a couple of hours of instruction on each of the products covered, 22 courses in all right now. I know that this is just the initial rollout of a new service and that they will be adding to it monthly, but it’s just not fully there yet. Lynda.com offers hours and hours of training on Adobe products — on not just the most current version, but many previous versions as well. As for the number of courses offered, it’s not even close. Lynda.com currently has over 2,000 courses available to their subscribers, and not just on Adobe products, but just about anything you can think of. That’s 2,000 complete courses, not just individual training segments. Viewing a course on Lynda.com is like attending an expensive workshop or seminar on the given product or procedure.
My other critique of Adobe’s free training is that in addition to not being comprehensive, it’s also not cohesive. Granted, I haven’t watched a lot of it, but in the time I spent in the InDesign training area, I saw videos from three different training vendors. In other words, Adobe has assembled training segments from various different sources and cobbled them together to make a topical package. Once again, I like the Lynda.com approach better, where you have one or two industry-leading instructors that teach the entire course. I have some assurance with this approach that there are no gaps in my instruction. If it’s an Intermediate Photoshop Techniques course, I trust that I’m getting a thorough and consistent overview of that level of common Photoshop features.
So kudos to Adobe for launching a service that comes at no extra charge to Creative Cloud subscribers. I look forward to it becoming more fleshed out and valuable in the months and years to come.
If you know me very well, you know that a motto that I live by is, “If it’s for free, it’s for me!” That’s almost always true. Not this time. For the very reasonable price of $25 per month (or $250 for a full year), you can subscribe to what I believe to be the best value in online software instruction available, worth far more than the very reasonable price of the subscription. So if you have some training money left in your budget or you want to make yourself more valuable to your employer (or more marketable to your next employer), check out Lynda.com. Click on the ad above to sign up for a free 7-day trial. You’ll be glad you did. Here’s a sample of a training video from Lynda.com. (You’ll need to move your mouse over the black rectangle below to access the video.)
Computer industry news source ZDNet published an article today called “Microsoft security research paints bleak picture for XP users”. You can click on the title to read the whole report, or you can save yourself some time and just peruse our executive summary:
- Windows XP was released in October 2001. That’s 12 years ago, which is forever in computer years. But, as Windows versions go, XP has been a rock-solid workhorse. Thrifty users, both individuals and businesses, who don’t have a pressing need to upgrade to the latest and greatest new software, have hung onto Windows XP and milked it for all it’s worth.
- That ride is coming to an end. You can still continue to use your antiquated XP, but do so at your own risk. Microsoft will stop issuing security updates for it in April of next year. Once the last Windows XP patch is issued, unpatched vulnerabilities will begin to emerge. With no one watching the store, the bad guys will loot and pillage to their hearts’ content.
- Even before all this happens, the vulnerability situation for XP users is bad compared to later versions of Windows. Microsoft has steadily incorporated new defensive technologies into Windows with each new version. Windows XP is 12 years behind in that defensive technology. As such, Windows XP users are many times more likely than Windows 8 users to become infected with malware. The number of vulnerabilities in Windows XP has steadily increased over the last few years. Things will get worse — much worse — when Microsoft stops releasing security patches in April.
The moral of the story is that it’s time for every XP user who is connected to the Internet or who receives files of any kind from any outside source to make plans to scrap their beloved operating system and make the move to Windows 8 (or at least to Windows 7 if you can still find it). XP has become a “bad neighborhood” for system security, a magnet for malware. It’s time to pull up stakes and head to higher ground.
On the bright side, Windows 7 and 8 open up the bold new world of 64-bit computing. Windows XP was a 32-bit operating system, a 32-lane data highway so to speak. (OK, there was a 64-bit version of XP, but it was rare. Who needed 64 bits in 2001?) It moved data around in 32-bit (4 byte) chunks. Windows 7 and 8 come in both 32-bit and 64-bit variations. Take the 64-bit option. It allows your system to access more memory, it runs all of your 32-bit software, and it opens the door to 64-bit software. Notably, the newest versions of Adobe’s Creative Cloud software require a 64-bit operating system, so go with the 64-bit option and hopefully you won’t have to upgrade your operating system for another 12 years.
But don’t count on it.
There are four types of guides in InDesign:
- Margin guides (which aren’t really referred to as guides in Adobe literature, but they look a whole lot like things that are called guides, so I’m including them in this list)
- Column guides
- Smart guides (which I often find to be more annoying than smart, but they do come in handy sometimes)
- Guides (also called layout guides, ruler guides or ruling guides)
In the following video, I show you how to create and change the settings for column guides, smart guides and layout guides.
If you’ve got text on your page, it needs to be edited and proofread. The act of writing, especially on a computer (is there any other way these days?), is error-prone. When I write something I’m frequently tweaking it as I go — lots of deleting and adding, cutting and pasting. If you don’t watch it, things can get pretty garbled in the process.
Case in point — I recently had the pleasure of proofreading a very short piece written by someone else (who will remain unnamed) on the topic of “the key to creating quality documents.” Here’s what she submitted to me:
This is probably the most single significant control in the development of your document. Poor version control means wasted hours errors.
I trust that proves my point. She knew what she was trying to say, and I was able to figure out what she meant, but left on its own, it was not a “quality document.” The addition and deletion of words is like a surgeon who stitches up a patient, leaving a sponge and tweezers inside. You need to take a good look at these things before you call it a done deal.
I’m a pretty solid proofreader, if I do say so myself. I’ve always taken great pleasure in finding fault with other people’s work. Aside from that, I believe that a shortcoming of mine contributes to my thoroughness as a proofreader; namely, I’m a very slow reader. I’m like half a notch up from moving my lips while I read. I “subvocalize.” I took a speed reading class once and boosted my reading speed by over 300%. It also decreased my reading enjoyment by 300%, so I pitched it and went back to my glacial pace.
But I think my subvocalization really works for me as a proofreader. When I got the hot mess mentioned above, I went back to Sandy the author and asked her to read it out loud. In the words of late, great American novelist Kurt Vonnegut, “It read like it was written by Philboyd Studge.”
I made a couple of tweaks to it. The finished product said:
This is probably the single most significant safeguard in the development of your document. Poor version control leads to errors that waste hours of your time.
Yeah, that’s what she meant to say.
Proofreading and editing. If you want a higher quality product, one that won’t make you cringe when it comes off the press, proofreading must be a priority — and multiple proofreaders reviewing the document multiple times is the best approach.
Check out this blog from a few months ago for more proofreading tips.
Click here to download our proofreading checklist.
And by the way – the document I was proofreading was our enewsletter, the Alpha Channel. If you’re not on our mailing list and would like to receive it, click here.
To checkout archives of our enewsletter, click here.
MySpeed™ by Enounce allows you to speed up (and slow down) videos as you watch them. “Speedreading for videos” is how Enounce describes it on their website. I’d say it’s a whole lot easier than speedreading.
We watch a good number of training videos here at Data Designs. I love this utility.
- The average reader processes 200 to 250 words per minute.
- The speed of most speech is only 100 to 125 words per minute.
- MySpeed keeps me from becoming impatient and giving up on the video before they get to the part I really need to learn.
- MySpeed saves me time while I’m spending time on training. That’s a good thing.
Speeding up videos occurs without any loss of audio quality – that means you avoid the Alvin syndrome – and it’s as easy as clicking a slider. You can increase the speed of videos up to 5 times faster or decrease them up to 3 times slower than their normal speed. You can alter the speed of online videos (including YouTube) or offline videos (with their Premium version only).
Best news: They offer a free trial. Give it a try here.
Most of the videos we watch are short, so we don’t save a lot of time on each video, but it all adds up. Since most of the videos we watch are training and how-to videos, there’s a good portion of the them that we don’t want to speed up because they’re doing demonstrations or we’re taking notes (in fact, sometimes we’ll slow them down at those times), but there are always other places where either we know the material or we’re not interested in that portion of the video.
Watching these types of videos, I did a few timed trials. I reduced a series of videos totaling 16 minutes, 40 seconds by two minutes. That may not seem like a lot, but it translates to saving 7 minutes for every hour of video you watch. That’s nearly a 12% time savings. And I got these results on videos by David Blatner, an InDesign Expert who could easy be described as a fast talker. I only increased the speed to between 1.1 and 1.3 times for this test. I’m looking forward to using MySpeed on videos in which the speakers talk much more slowly.
I did that once – just the other day I was watching a Toodledo tutorial. (I blogged about Toodledo here.) In this video I varied the speed between 1.0 (normal speed) and 2.0.
Apparently I finished that Toodledo video at 1.5. The next morning, I turned on Pandora as I often do. The first few songs seemed a little fast, but it was background music and I didn’t fully process what was happening. Then an oldies fave came on – “Saturday in the Park” by Chicago – and I knew something was definitely wrong. MySpeed was speeding up my Pandora tunes! (Fortunately, a click put it back to normal speed.)
In our last blog, we talked about the best way to insert graphics into Microsoft Word and demonstrated the settings that would preserve the quality of the original image without decompressing the life out of them. Following that procedure is a huge improvement toward maintaining the quality of your final printed document, but the best approach is to always keep the original graphics files as separate files, not just a copy of the file embedded within Word.
But we all live in the real world. Sometimes images are inserted into a Word document and then wander away from the herd. How do you extract graphics from Word and get them into your InDesign document in a way that gives something better than poor results? We’ve found a couple of approaches, one better than the other, and we’re happy to share that knowledge with you.
First Method: Word to HTML conversion
- First, do a Save-As of your Word document, selecting as your new file type “Web Page, Filtered”. It will create an HTML version of your Word file and open it in Word. (You might want to remember this tip for the next time someone asks you, “How can I make a webpage from a Word document?”)
- We’re not concerned with the resulting Word / HTML file itself, so you can go ahead and close it.
- Use File Explorer to go the directory (aka folder) whree you stored your Save-As HTML file and you’ll find all of the graphics from the Word file saved as GIF files. They’re small and they’re bitmapped, but they’re there. Use them as you see fit.
Second Method: Word to ZIP conversion
- Save a copy of your Word file as a DOCX file.
- In File Explorer, rename the DOCX copy from filename.DOCX to filename.ZIP. (You’ll get a warning message that says something like “Are you sure you want to do this?” Yes, you want to do it.) The Word DOCX file format is really just a disguised ZIP file! Who knew?
- When you unzip the newly named ZIP file, there will be a number of folders inside. You might need to drill down through a layer or two of folders to find what you need, but you’re looking for a folder called “Media”. The Media folder has all of images broken out as either EMF (Enhanced Meta File) or JPEG files, either of which can be imported into InDesign. Or you can bring them into Photoshop and edit them as desired.
Recent Results from Testing Both Methods
In a recent test we performed, the files extracted by the ZIP method were much better quality than the GIF files produced by saving the Word file as a Filtered Web Page. By comparison, one of the extracted GIF files was 14 KB, 72 dpi, and measured 2.83″ x 3.25″. The same file extracted from the ZIP file weighed in at a hefty 2,596 KB at 96 dpi and measured 7.83″ x 9.24″. Now that’s something you can work with! While 96 dpi is too low resolution for high-quality printing, the graphic was only needed at 3″ wide. When we downsized the graphic (without resampling it) we were able to boost the resolution to an acceptable level.
This process is an emergency recovery method that you don’t really want to have to resort to. Even the better of these two (darned cleaver!) approaches will not give you results that are as good as using the original source graphic files. Your best option is always to keep the original graphic files and provide them to your desktop publisher when you’re ready to move your document from the draft stage to a professionally desktop published document. Your promotional products vendor will also thank you when you provide a decent logo for an order of pens or T-shirts.
One final thought: Always keep the original graphic files!
I’ll bet you already know how to insert an image into Microsoft Word. You’ve probably been doing it the same way for years. It’s easy and it works. Right up to the point where you want to print the file with anything close to decent quality. The graphics come out looking anywhere from marginal to pure crap. Why is that and how can you prevent it?
Word’s default setting compresses graphics by decreasing their resolution. It does it automatically in the background, and I’ll bet dollars to doughnuts that you didn’t even know it. And you probably didn’t know that there was something that you could do to change it. (We didn’t until recently.)
Go to the File menu and select Options down near the bottom of the list. The Options dialog box opens with a menu in the left column.
You want to select Advanced.
The Advanced Options dialog box has a lot of stuff in it that you’ve probably never seen before. Some of it can be darned useful for giving you more control over how your Word documents are created, saved, and printed. The various options are grouped together under subheadings. I’m using Word 2010. In my version, the stuff we’re looking for right now is in the third subhead, called Image size and Quality.
Right next to the words “Image Size and Quality” is a drop-down box. This will give you the option of applying the settings you’re about to change to this document, to any other Word document that you currently have open, or to all new documents. I went with the All New Documents. (See the top circled box above.)
There are a couple of check boxes under the subhead of Image Size and Quality. The second check box says “Do not compress image in file.” There it is! Put a checkmark in that box to disable the automatic file compression that’s been taking place since forever. (See the second red circle above.) Not only will this make your images print better, it will also be the best option for when you lose the source graphic and have to resort to copying the image from Word and pasting it into another file.
In our next blog, we’ll discuss extracting graphics out of Word when you have to have a discrete source file.
Need to create a calendar for 2014? Check out Sandee Cohen’s blog on InDesignSecrets.com. She’s written about scripts and templates for creating 2014 Calendars that are available InDesign. Sure, there are lots of calendar programs that will print out a calendar for you, but that calendar will undoubtedly lack design and you may not be able to print it in the format you’re looking for. Find a script or template that will meet your needs in Sandee’s blog.
Why reinvent the wheel when someone else has already done the heavy lifting?