It’s something that’s easy to overlook, but have you ever noticed those nine dots in the upper left corner of your InDesign control palette? Did you know they correspond to the nine points on a text or picture box?
That’s right, they’re reference points that affect how an element resizes if you change the dimension. For example, if you select the top right point and change the width and height of an object, the left and bottom edges will move, while the corner you selected stays put.
That’s just one of the InDesign tips Joe Greco, GateHouse’s Director of Creative Development, offers up to those on the Center for News & Design staff.
And he’s not the only one with tips on improving your speed while producing pages. Here are a number of tips collected from Greco and others at the CND:
Using the Quick Apply window
Control + Return to open up the Quick Apply window to quickly choose a paragraph or character style. Begin typing the style name and it pops right up. Hit enter and it changes the words to whatever style you need.
This keeps me from scrolling through lists of fonts and taking my eyes off of what I am doing.
— Jennifer Schaefer
No guides to proof
Not sure how helpful this is, but I turn off guides when proofing. Do this quickly by hitting ctrl and ;. It makes the page a lot easier to assess without the distracting vertical lines that you don’t need once someone has already done the design work.
— Jonathan Nolte
Familiarize yourself with some of them and create your own for things you often do like, fitting frame to content or linking an article to a template (or a saxo-aware box you create yourself). And you can modify existing shortcuts so if there’s some that look like difficult keystroke combinations, just change to something your fingers will have an easier time with.
— Doug Vehovec
Center the page
Control + 0 centers the page and fits it to window.
— Mike Eagan
Using the Align tools
Aligning elements is quick and easy when using the align tools, which you can find on the control panel in InDesign. Better still is the Align palette, which can be found here: Window > Object & Layout > Align.
Using the tools in either place are helpful, but there are more tools in the Align palette that are really helpful. Need to align the left edges of a kicker, headline, photo, cutline and story text box? Select them all and click the appropriate icon and all the items are in line on the left side.
You can also use the Distribute Spacing feature to select how much space you want between, say, a row of mug or other elements. Select the items, enter the Use Spacing value then select the horizontal or vertical spacing icon. The elements selected will be redistributed with the same spacing between each item.
I use the tools found on the Align palette many, many times a day when I’m designing pages.
— Joe Greco
InDesign has some default queries and allows you to save your own:
“Straight single to typographers quote” and “straight single to typographers quote” are two, and you can make your own customized ones and save them. This ONLY replaces “dummy quotes” with curly quotes, so you know exactly how many were on on the page. Sometimes there are hundreds.
Then I get rid of all the non-breaking spaces with regular spaces by replacing ^S (non-breaking space) with a single stroke of the space bar and hit “change all.” There are a lot of misused hyphens and en-dashes that should all be em-dashes, so replace ^= (en-dash) with ^_ and replace [space]-[space] with ^_ to get rid of all the characters that should be em-dashes. If there are round bullets on the page that should be squares, change all ^8 to n with the “change format” character style set to “bullet.”
— Jonathan Nolte
Grids are good
Designing for print calls for a strong adherence to a grid. Why? Content not on a grid is unorganized and can confuse readers. From a six-column grid of traditional newspaper pages to a centerpiece that uses its own grid, content requires structure to stay organized in a way that makes sense. Let the natural grid of a front page act as the frame around a centerpiece.
Let the content of the centerpiece dictate what the grid will be. Take inventory of the elements of a story and communicate with the editor to find out what needs to go out front. With the centerpiece elements in hand, don’t be afraid to use bastard measures on the centerpiece. Punctuate wide columns with breakout boxes and content promotions.
Another way to maintain a grid is by avoiding the wrapping of text around other related elements.
— Joe Greco