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1. Adobe Indesign Tips and Tricks

Q: How to Join Open Paths
A: Let's say you're using InDesign CS3, and you want to join the endpoints of two separate open paths. You go to Object > Paths, but you don't see a command in the submenu that seems to do the job. You're not out of luck. InDesign CS3 does have commands that will connect the endpoints of two separate open paths, but they're tricky to find.Go into the Edit > Keyboard Shortcuts. In the Product Area dropdown menu, select Object Menu and find Paths: Connect. This command creates a line that connects any two open paths. Assign a keystroke to the command and click OK. While you won't see the command in the menus, it will work -- click the Direct Selection tool, drag over two end points (one in each path), and then hit the shortcut you created.You can also assign a keyboard shortcut to Paths: Join. This will merge two endpoints into a single point and join the paths. However, the points have to be less than 6 pts from each other.In InDesign CS4, the Join command will do the work of both Connect and Join in CS3. And the command is in the logical place: Object > Paths > Join.
Q: How Can I Show Guides at Certain Zooms Only?
A: When you zoom out on your InDesign document, do all those guides clutter up your screen? Sure, you can hide the guides or turn off the layer showing the guide or change the view options for the guides on a layer. But here's a better technique. Before you start dragging guides out, go to Layout > Ruler Guides, and change the View Threshold from 5% to something higher, like 101%. From that point on, any guide you create will only be visible when you are zoomed in to 101% or higher. This means that guides that you need for close up work are visible when you're zoomed in, but they're not visible when you zoom out to see the entire page.

Q: How Unlink Text Boxes Without Disturbing Their Contents?
A: You can unlink text boxes without disturbing the boxes' contents by running one simple script that you already have. In InDesign CS3, open your Scripts panel (Window> Automation> Scripts) and look in the Application folder, then the JavaScript folder. You'll see a script called SplitStory. Place your cursor in one frame of the story and double-click the script name in the panel. InDesign will split all the frames of the story into individual frames.

Q: What is Alphabetize Lists?
A: To quickly place a list of words in alphabetical order, make sure each word is in its own paragraph and select the entire list. Then open the Scripts panel (Window > Automation > Scripts). Go to Samples > JavaScript, and find the listing for SortParagraphs.jsx. Double-click this script and InDesign automatically alphabetizes the list of words. This script also sorts numbers from lowest to highest. Unfortunately, it puts 10, 11, and 12 immediately after 1 and before 2, so it's not exactly a perfect sorter.
Q: How Can I Add Files to a Book?
To add individual InDesign files to an InDesign book (File > New > Book), choose Add Document from the Book panel menu or click on the plus sign at the bottom of the Book panel. To add multiple InDesign files, drag and drop files from the Macintosh Finder, Windows Explorer, or Adobe Bridge into the Book panel. You can drag and drop multiple files at a time. You can even drag and drop a top-level folder, and all the InDesign files in that folder, as well as all the subfolders, will be added to the book.

Q: Safe Style Editing
A: If you have the Type tool in a text frame and realize you want to edit a Paragraph or Character Style but don't want to apply that style to the selected text or paragraph, select Shift-Option-Command (Mac) or Shift-Alt-Ctrl (PC) and double-click on the style name you wish to change. Alternately, Control- or right-click on the style name in the panel and choose Edit "Style Name."

Q: Draw, Reposition, Continue Drawing
A: Start drawing a frame in InDesign, then (still holding down your mouse button) press and hold the Spacebar so you can reposition the frame. Once it's in the correct position, release the Spacebar and continue drawing.

Q: Compare Two Layouts
A: You have two InDesign layout files that look identical, but you suspect they're not. Short of going through every page with a fine-toothed comb, how can you find the differences? Simple: Export each layout to PDF with a unique name and then use the Document > Compare feature in Acrobat Pro 8 or 9. It can churn through even the longest layout files in a minute or so and present you with a page-by-page breakdown of where formatting, position, and/or text changes occur in the two PDFs you selected.


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