All Your Base Are Belong To Our Style

This topic was going to just be another bit in the next episode of Ohs and Wows, but I think it demands a few paragraphs, and those suckers are long enough as it is.

When you’re creating text styles in InDesign, the Based On feature can be a dream or a nightmare. Use it wisely and you can neatly tie elements of your design together so that when the boss/client/cat changes his/her/its mind at the last second, you might be able edit one style to make everything fall into place. Use Based On blindly and the next person to edit those styles will be saying “Somebody set up us the bomb.”

First, an ounce of prevention. With no docs open, peek at your Control panel. What’s in the Paragraph and Character Styles pop-ups? Unless you have a house style that you always want to start from, these should read [No Paragraph Style] or maybe [Basic Paragraph] and [None]. Let’s see what mine says.

Hmmm, that’s a little scary. Let’s check the Paragraph Styles panel.

Heavens to Murgatroid, what the hell have I been doing? If your panel looked like this, all of these styles would worm their way into any new document you created. Fortunately, they would not penetrate any existing docs you open. But there is potentially one more bit of bad news. And that is the “Paragraph Style 3” way up under the Paragraph Styles panel tab. See it up there? ID remembers the last style you clicked on. It shows up at the top of the Styles list, in the Control panel pop-up, and…wait for it…the Based On pop-up. So now if I create a new style it will by default be based on Paragraph Style 3.

This may or may not be a big deal, depending on what kind of mystery meat Paragraph Style 3 is, and whether you edit it down the road, thus altering every style based on it. Better to clean out the panel and start fresh. Or, if you really must keep all those kooky styles, just go to the Control panel and select [No Paragraph Style] from the pop-up menu. You’ll know you won’t have any based on problems when you see (No Styles) at the top of the panel.

On the other hand, if you are carefully planning out your Based On strategy, and you muck up a child style, click Reset to Base to make the child exactly match its parent style.

So now, “you know what you doing.”

Vol 3: Son of Ohs and Wows

The Continuing Highlights of the InDesign CS3 Help file.

Herein, pages 101-150.

p. 105
export to XHTML gotcha: ID doesn’t export hyperlinks. it also doesn’t export master page items unless they have been overridden

p. 106
objects grouped in ID are grouped in XHTML

overset text is exported to XHTML

command-drag a text frame handle to resize frame with the type tool, pause for one second before dragging to see the text recompose as you drag

using the selection tool, press command to scale text within as you drag a frame handle

add shift to keep your text from distorting

p. 111

with the scale tool, hold command to scale the frame but not the text within

master text frames will not change when you change document setup unless you choose Enable Layout Adjustment

p. 112

when placing text into linked frames based on a master page: they won’t stay linked unless you hold shift to auto flow, or override one frame first.

once you override a frame, changes to text on the master won’t be reflected on the document pages

word and character counts are available in the Info panel for the whole story with just a blinking cursor, or for a range of text, when you’ve selected one

choose All Info or Text Only under clipboard handling to get (or not get) styles and swatches with pasted text

p. 113

to change the text used as placeholder text, name a file Placeholder.txt in the application folder

p. 114

don’t forget the option of choosing edit > paste without formatting

Adjust Spacing Automatically When Cutting And Pasting Words may be the longest preference name in all of InDesign

p. 123

The four flavors of text flow
• manual
• semi autoflow: option+click
• auto flow: shift+click
• fixed page auto flow: shift+option click

All these also work when you click the out port of an existing frame.

p. 125

The five baseline offset options
• fixed-specified distance between the inset and the baseline
• leading-leading value is the distance between the inset and the baseline
• ascender-the height of the d character falls below the inset of the top of the frame
• x-height-height of the x character falls below the inset
• cap height-top of the uppercase letters touches the top inset

All these set the distance between the top inset and the baseline of the first line of text

if you want text to snap the top of the frame to a grid, choose fixed or leading

p. 126

by default, triple-click = select a line
quadruple-click = select paragraph
quintuple-click =  select story

p. 127
Them’s the Breaks
enter=column break, but it functions as frame break in single column frames
shift+enter = frame break (no matter how many columns there are)
cmd+return = page break

p. 129
you can have multiple story editors open by having the story editor in front and choosing New Window

p. 130
At last the identity of my Structure Pane Gremlin is revealed! But how the heck did Kenten get in there in the first place???

p. 132
use Edit >Find Next so you don’t have to keep the Find/Change dialog open

p. 133
use wildcards to find all word variations. sˆ$ng = sing song sung.

p. 138
select one character, right click and choose Load Selected Glyph In Find (or change)

p. 139
Find Font is available in the Preflight dialog box, Fonts tab. Talk about last minute changes…

To see exactly where InDesign is finding a font, select the font in the Find Font dialog and choose Reveal in Finder/Explorer.

p. 140
to load saved queries someone else gave you, put the query files (XML, natch) user/library/prefs/adobe indesign/version 5.0/find-change queries/(glyph, GREP, object, text)

filter what’s shown in the Glyphs panel by choosing numbers, symbols, math symbols, punctuation etc.

p. 141
more fun Obscure InDesign Terminology: did you know the teeny arrows to the left of some panel names is called the Cycle Widget?

p. 142
Weird! The Glyphs panel keeps track of the 35 most recently used glyphs in a line a the top of the panel. But the only way to see all 35 this way is to expand the panel horizontally till it’s practically as wide as the Control panel.

Or just choose Recent Glyphs from the panel’s Show menu.

p. 143
the little u that appears alongside a glyph means it was saved with the font not remembered, and thus the unicode value determines the appearance of the glyph. you turn font remembering on and off in the Edit Glyph Set dialog.

p. 144
right click on a glyph in the panel to load it in Find/Change or delete it from a custom glyph set

p. 145
glyph set files are kept in user/library/preferences/adobe indesign/version 5.0/presets/glyph sets
this is the file to send to your GSFs (glyph sharin’ friends).

preferences>dictionary is where to go to choose different glyphs for single and double quotes

cmd+shift+option+’ switches Use Typographer’s Quotes on and off

p. 146
em space = width of the type point size, so in 12 pt type, an em space is 12 pts wide
en space = 1/2 of a em space
nonbreaking spaces come in two flavors: regular, which expands and contracts with justified text, and fixed width
third space = 1/3 of an em space
quarter space = 1/4 of an em space
sixth space 1/6 of an em space
flush space= fixes the problem of the last line in a fully justified paragraph
hair space=1/24 of an em space
thin space=1/8 em space. suggested usage: on either side of em and en dashes
figure space=width of a number suggested usage: aligning numbers in tables
punctuation space: width of a period.

p. 147
when you click Ignore All in spell checking, ID ignores those words until the next time it is restarted

p. 148
you can also enable auto correct for capitalization errors too

if you accidentally click Ignore All, and want to un-ignore a word during spell checking, click Dictionary and choose Dictionary List: Ignored Words, select the word and click Remove.

p. 149
More Spell Checking Tidbits
you never actually alter a dictionary, you just three additional lists:
added words = words that aren’t already in the dictionary
removed words = existing dictionary words that you do want flagged as misspellings
ignored words = ignored for the current session because you clicked Ignore All
there are separate lists of these kinds for all languages

p. 150
user dictionaries have the extension .udc

paragraph and character styles allow you to choose dictionaries for the text to which they are applied, in the Advanced Character Formats section.

Journey to the Center of the Screen

Two more little InDesign tips from the Didja Ever Notice Department, to keep you “centered.” They are both semi-obvious, but I have seen seasoned users smack their foreheads in disbelief that they didn’t notice these. My lawyer advises me to state that any injuries resulting from forehead smacking are not the responsibility of, me, or my two cats.

Didja ever notice that if you have an object selected and zoom either in or out (cmd+= or cmd+-) that InDesign attempts to scroll the window to keep the selected object centered onscreen? I say “attempts” because sometimes it’s not possible to center the object when you’re zooming out, or when the object is on the pasteboard. I think this is because the width of the pasteboard is fixed in size and based on the width of the document. In any case, it works pretty well with objects on the page, and you can use the trick to navigate to a different page when you’re zoomed out.

Like if you want to work on the blue box on page 4, just select it and press cmd+= a few times.

To get here.

Also, didja ever notice that if you cut or copy an object and paste it, it gets pasted in the middle of the screen? Back in the days before there was the option to Align to Page, this was how your grampa quickly centered an object on a page (Cut/Copy, Fit Page in Window, Paste). Back in his day the journey to the center of the screen was uphill. Both ways.

Swatching the Detectives

Psychologists say that through focusing our attention, we ignore nearly all of the stimuli around us. 99% of all the sights and sounds vanish as if they were never there. Sometimes attention is a good thing, like when you’re watching that burrito in the microwave so it doesn’t explode. But then you don’t hear the train whistle in the distance, or the cat meowing from inside the piano. My attention runs in cycles. Sometimes I can focus for hours on a handful of pixels, or a sentence. Sometimes, it’s 5 seconds per topic, or even five topics per second. I blame years of exposure to Sesame Street, MTV, and the pencil lead that got stuck in my hand in the 3rd grade and is still there.

All this to say, that our tools are speaking to us all the time and if we pay close attention, we’ll see many more things they can do. Doesn’t matter if it’s a chisel or InDesign. Since this isn’t, let’s put on our detective caps and really examine a piece of InDesign, say the Swatches panel, and see what we’ve overlooked. Just keep one eye on that burrito.

The Thin Black Line
Last spring I did a post on Kuler, and some other Swatch panel tricks, including how to make shades using Mixed Ink Groups. Good enough. But once you’ve got a collection of tints or shades, wouldn’t it be nice to be able to flip through them quickly via the keyboard arrows? Or even summon a swatch by name? You can, if you pay attention to a thin black line.

First draw a frame.

No fill, no stroke. No shirt, no shoes, no dice.

Mesdames et messieurs, regardez, le panel de swatch.

Look closely. Now, dismiss the panel by pressing f5, clicking the close button (da little x), or choosing Window > Swatches.

Now, bring the panel back (f5 again, or Window > Swatches).

Notice anything different?

Immediately after you show the Swatches panel there is a black line around list of swatches. Note that it is not there if you open the panel from a dock, or click on its tab, only if you open it fresh from the Window menu or f5.

Hmmm, what could that line mean? It looks like InDesign is telling us that it’s focused precisely on that list. And sure enough it is. We can now use the keyboard arrows to move through the list, and the fill of our frame dutifully changes as we slide down the list.

We can also change the fill of the frame by typing in the name of a swatch. Hopefully you’re a fast accurate typist. Otherwise, you’ll be using the arrows. If you do like this trick, you’ll want to pay close attention to how you name and arrange swatches in the panel. Also note that InDesign ignores the brackets surrounding the invincible swatches, so to get [Black] you can just type a b, for [Paper] type p, [None] is n, and [Registration] is r. Actually InDesign pays attention to all the letters in a swatch name, so for example, you can fill the frame with [None] by typing n, o, or e. Any of them will get you to [None] as long as you don’t have any others swatches that start with those letters. Or w will take you to a swatch named Yellow2, so long as you don’t have another swatch with w earlier in the name. Because we’re focused exclusively on the swatch list, x won’t do it’s usual thing of flipping the stroke/fill control. Nor will j change the frame/text control. Sigh.

What if we hit tab? Focus moves to the tint field and we can type a different number or use the arrow keys to adjust the percentage.

Tab again and focus is back on the swatch list. Just remember, any time you click outside the swatch list, even elsewhere on the panel itself, you change the focus and all these tricks don’t work. So what do you do then? I can think of 3 choices:

Hide the panel and show it again (f5 or menu).

Click on the word tint to highlight the tint field, then press tab.

Or use the supersecret keyboard shortcut. Shhh! Don’t tell anyone else, but you can also place focus on the swatch list by command+option clicking on a swatch.

OK, now go get the cat out of the piano.

Accidentally Awesome

You gotta love accidental discoveries. Penicillin, chocolate chip cookies, the Western Hemisphere. All found by people who were trying to do something else. I don’t have anything as big as those to share with you, but today at work I did stumble on a trick for superslick application switching on my Mac.

If you’re a Mac user, you know about command+tab to invoke the list of running applications. They pop up into the middle of your screen and you can tab or shift+tab (click or hold) to cycle through them. It works well enough, so long as you don’t have fifty open apps and find your self tab tab tab tab tab tabbing to oblivion.

But what I didn’t know till today is that this list is aware of the mouse as well. Command+tab once to get the list. Keep command held down. Mouse over an app to choose it. Release command to switch. Very slick. There’s no clicking involved, you just glide to your destination. It’s almost too easy, since your cursor was probably in that vicinity anyway, and the app icons are big, inviting targets. It makes tab tab tabbing seem, like, sooo 2007.

Now my only question is, what do we call this technique? A keyboard shortmouse? Mouseboarding? Maybe just a mousecut. Guess that makes me the first Mousecuteer.

Call the DJ

If you’ve been reading Publicious for a while you have figured out that one of my hobbies is beating dead horses. If it’s worth bringing up once, it’s worth bringing up 5 times. That Fit Selection in Window thing was nearly the end of me. But this I promise will be the last word on the j thing.

One other neat way to remember and use the j trick in the Swatches panel is to combine it with the d key. Remember, d returns text and frames to InDesign’s default colors. For text, it’s no stroke, black fill. For frames, it’s no fill and a 1 pt. black stroke. If you play around in the Swatches panel with no objects selected, you’ll probably set a new and unwanted preference for coloring frames and text. Then you’ll place text from Word and it will come in with a gradient fill and a 10 pt purple stroke.

Yum! That’s actually kind of cool. But probably not what the client wanted.

To fix your muddled preference in 2 seconds, call on the DJ. With no items selected, press d for default, then j to switch focus, then d again, then j again. Just, djdj. If it helps (and you grew up in the 80s), picture Morrissey singing, “hang the DJ, hang the DJ.” The last j returns focus to text or frame, whichever you started with, so it’s very tidy.

And now I will never speak of j again. It returns to its former roles as H’s 2nd banana in Hyphenation and Justification, and i’s funky, if deformed cousin.

An Absolute Tangent

Still can’t believe I got scooped on that “j” post yesterday. My ADD mind keeps thinking j, j, j…Jay and Silent Bob…J. Jonah Jameson…Jamie Summers (the real one, 1976 Lindsay Wagner)…J.J. Jackson…J.J. Evans (Dy-no-mite!)…J Lo… and behold, I just thought of something else.

Let’s go back to good old command+j, which “jumps” us to any document or master page in InDesign. Technically, it opens the Go To Page dialog, but think “jump” and you’ll never forget it. That shortcut and I go waaay back, to my Quark XPress days. And so does the following twist.

By adding a “+” you can make use of Absolute Page Numbering. Say your document starts on page 739. You want to jump to the 3rd page of the document. You could do command+j, and enter 741. Or you could do command+j and enter +3. Done. You just saved a keystroke and all the trouble of learning addition in base 10. You could’ve skipped first grade math and instead frolicked with the dancing bears and butterflies in your 6 year-old imagination. Or you could’ve just eaten another crayon. Life is all about choices.

Absolute numbering is recognized in every InDesign dialog and field where page numbers are found, including all the Pages panel commands, the Print and Export dialog boxes, and the document window itself. One twist on the twist (a surtwist?): if you set the General: Page Numbering preference to Absolute,

then leave off the +.

Page Numbering is an application-level preference. It affects the display of all your open documents, but it doesn’t affect the documents themselves. Others who open the documents will see numbering according to their preferences, not yours. You may want to set the preference to Absolute if you’re dealing with documents with annoying page numbering, like big, nasty section prefixes,

or high Roman numerals

The Absolute Numbering preference does have the potential to make things confusing. With it on, the only place you’ll see real page numbers is on the document page when the Current Page Number special character has been used. Every document will look like it starts on page 1 in the Pages panel.

In the case of Romans, absolute numbering will save you the trouble of remembering how to write 49 in Xs V’s and I’s. Or is it L’s? My personal Roman numerality only goes as high as the current Super Bowl. And even then, I’m one year behind, because as Pats fans all know, the events of last February never happened. Right? I mean a journeyman QB eluding a sack thrice by inches, heaving a wobbly ball into coverage to a 3rd string receiver who wrestles the ball into a catch with one hand on his helmet? That could never happen. I mean, what are the odds? It’d be like two InDesign blogs writing about the exact same feature…