Say Happy Birthday to Adobe’s Creative Suite with these 5 InDesign Tips and Tricks

This year marks the silver anniversary release (25 years young!) of Adobe’s Photoshop, a program so popular and widely used it has become a verb. Photoshop is one important part of Adobe’s incredible Creative Suite, which also includes InDesign, Illustrator, and Acrobat. As the world triumphs Photoshop’s quarter-century birthday, it’s a Sweet Sixteen party for InDesign, which took the place of PageMaker in 1999, and is often overshadowed by its older sibling Photoshop.  To help InDesign get the party started, here are 5 Tips and Tricks to help improve your use of the program.

1. Use Vector Files Instead of Copy and Paste

Copy and pasting between Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign is very easy, but not the best way to share images on InDesign. Vector files are better used in Illustrator, and raster images are better manipulated in Photoshop.

Link the images instead of copying and pasting. Reoccurring links will only have to be updated once (instead of multiple times). You’ll be able to manage all of your images from the “links palette.” You can access this by using <Command + Shift + D>, or clicking on “Window,” and then choosing “Links.”

2. Let InDesign Calculate for You

If you need to resize an image, it’s best to let InDesign calculate the math for you. Using the “control palette” (accessed by clicking on Window>Object & Layout > Transform), you can use the number keypad as a calculator. For example, if the height is 22, and you need it to be 2.3 times larger, type in: *2.3 after the height, and then press enter. This will increase the size by your requested amount.

Remember: If “Constrain Proportions for Scaling” is active, then the width will change in proportion as well.

3. Create Autocorrect Macros to Save Time

Do you have a lot of long phrases, company names, or other words that are repeated often in your workbook? If so, you should create an autocorrect macro, which will automatically make InDesign type the word for you.

Simply come up with an acronym for the words, but don’t make it a real word. For example, if the word grouping is “in case of emergency,” you can make the acronym “icoe.” Typing “icoe” would automatically default to the full, spelled-out version.  Click on Edit>Preferences>Autocorrect to enable the autocorrect checkbox, and then click the “Add” button. Where it reads: “Misspelled Word” type in the acronym for the long passage you’d like the acronym to autocorrect to. In the “Correction” field, type in the phrase or the company name, and then hit“OK.” Now, every time you type in that acronym, it will default to the longer spelling, but you won’t have wasted all that time typing it out.

4. Adobe Product Security and Security When Sharing

Safety and security is incredibly important, especially when using programs like InDesign, which creates works for publishing (flyers, magazines, newspapers, books, brochures, etc.). InDesign makes it incredibly easy to share to the web, but what happens when a file becomes corrupted or the target destination has been hacked?

It’s important to install both Adobe Product Security, and a third-party security to protect your Creative Suite. Internet security software that is designed to provide advanced protection during use of social media sites is the absolute best way to stay safe while using InDesign. With a suite of security products, you’re ensuring you can send and receive files safely.

5. Compound Path Frames

Finally, create interesting visual effects by placing a single image into multiple frames. First, create two or more frames of different shapes and sizes, and then choose the selection tool, and <Shift+Click> each of the frames. Select “Objects>Paths>Make Compound Paths,” and then go to “File>Place.” Select your image, open it, and see that it has joined with your frames for a unique look.

If Adobe’s Creative Suite was a birthday cake, InDesign would be the icing because it’s a sweet program with great features and it’s not too overwhelming.