Help! I Need Somebody!

Won’t you please help me help you?

Do you have any problems using InDesign or Photoshop? Ongoing struggles? Unanswered questions? Do you lie awake at night thinking there must be a better way of doing a particular task? Do you wish you were better trained in some little aspect of either of those programs? Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your errors.

I am starting a new project where I will be collecting and answering as many burning InDesign and Photoshop questions as I can. Not here, but on another famouser website, to be named later.

I’m looking for specific, finite questions that can be answered in a couple minutes or so. Quick hits. Things like “When is it better to use a vector mask instead of a layer mask in Photoshop?” or “Is there a way to update all missing links at once in InDesign?” Stuff like that. As long as it’s specific, no question is too simple, too obscure, too weird, too whatever.

If you have a question, post it here as a comment or shoot me an email at jmvrankin [at] I’d like nothing better than to have an inbox full of your problems. Thanks!

16 Responses

  1. Ok, well here’s one: how to omit pagenumber prefixes in the Table of contents in InDesign?

    This one I’m breaking my brain over. If you have a section prefix but have show prefix off, the section prefix shows up in a generated TOC wich I do not want. I did not in 5.0 and 5.01, but it does in 5.02 and latets 5.03. How can I get this right.

  2. Hi Wa-
    That’s a good one. As soon as I get some time to poke around, I’ll let you know if I find a way. Thanks for the comment.

  3. I discussed this on the Adobe forumes as well, it seems a bug: as long as the prefix is with an chapter that is made on the first page of the document all goes OK. As soon as you make a new chapter in the same document and apply a prefix it ends up in the TOC. I logged it as a bug…

  4. Gotcha. Do you have a workaround to use until the bug is squashed?

  5. >Do you have a workaround to use until the bug is squashed?

    Sadly. no. After the TOC is generated I use find/replace to get rid of the prefixes…

  6. i’ve just imported a word document containing bulleted list styles into indesign. i’ve mapped the word doc styles onto the indesign styles, but the bullet images are still the ones from the word doc style. any idea? it uses the correct paragraph style in indesign, but in the character styles palette, it also brought in a “Word Imported List Style1” style. someone suggested creating a correct character style, and mapping that onto it when importing. but… in the import dialogue box, that Word Imported style isn’t in the list, so i can’t actually map it against anything.

    Any suggestions?

  7. I don’t think there’s any setting that can make InDesign override the Word bullets automatically, but there are two workarounds I can think of.

    For lists already in InDesign:
    1. Select all the text and choose Clear Overrides from the Paragraph Style menu. It’s not an instant solution, especially if you have other overrides in the text around the lists, but it does work.

    For stuff you haven’t imported yet:
    2. Change your Word Import Options to include Convert Bullets and Numbers To Text. Your bulleted items will then have both kinds of bullets. Do a Find/Change to replace the converted Word bullet and tab to nothing.

  8. That’s a great work around. I hadn’t realized there was an option to convert bullets to text right on the import.

    Thanks for the quick reply. By the way, I love your posts and I’m a faithful reader. Keep it up!

  9. This is a low-level problem, but I’ve got the “command + H” blues.
    (Cue Elvis singing “GI Blues.”)

    I like being able to hide ID with this short key command, but it’s now hard to get used to using “control + command + H” to hide frame edges. I keep hitting “command + H” instead.

    Since I’m still making this blunder a lot, I was wondering if there’s a key command to easily bring ID back from hiding, rather than having to click the ID icon in my dock, or worse, use command + tab to scroll back to ID through all my open apps.

    “I’ve got those hup two, three, four, operation comm-H blues . . .”

  10. The only thing I know of to bring it back via the keyboard is command-tab. It is a pain if you have a ton of open apps, but at least if you hold tab down you cycle through them pretty quickly (about ten per second by my reckoning). But don’t overshoot! It’s kind of like one of those arcade games where you try to stop the flashing light at the precise spot to win a prize. Only your prize is you get to go back to work. Also command-shift-tab cycles through them from right to left.

  11. Thanks, and sorry for the emoticon. That was an accident; I was going for a close paren.

  12. Hi. Is there any way to undo the “Sort by Name” command when you’ve selected it from the Character or Paragraph Style palette’s fly-out menu? Just askin’ . . .

  13. Amazingly enough, it is undo-able! Command-z works miracles. I think all document-level preferences are undo-able, since they need to be saved in order to travel with the file. You could also close the doc and not save and get your old style sorting back. Don’t you love a story with a happy ending?

  14. Right, I understand Command-z, and it would have been nice to be able to use that, but unfortunately I did multiple document saves since that preference change, and I cannot revert.

  15. Guess I spoke too soon on the happy ending bit. I just tried loading styles from a document where they were sorted differently, and ID stubbornly keeps the order of the receiving document. Oh well, it was worth a try. Ummm…nothing else comes to mind that wouldn’t be more trouble than just dragging all the styles back to where you wanted them.

  16. Aww, thanks for trying; that was a good shot!

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