Los Angeles InDesign User Group

Topic 1: Don't Re-invent the Wheel, Topic 2: What's New in InDesign CS6

Thu, May 17, 2012, 7:00 PM

Los Angeles Valley College

5800 Fulton Avenue, Campus Center, Room 206, Van Nuys, California 91401

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Original Event Page



By Alvin Takamori


In a constant effort to spread InDesign knowledge throughout the Los Angeles area, we met in May at Los Angeles Valley College in Van Nuys. By the way, we’re always seeking new venues, so let us know if you have any suggestions.


This meeting began with a brief talk by Michael Hughes of World Financial Group, who offered some investment ideas for the self-employed that illustrated the benefits of having a financial planner.


Next, we were treated to a presentation by Erica Gamet, who is a regular contributor to InDesign Magazine and Design Tools Monthly, is the author of The InDesigners Workbook series, and tech edited How To Do Everything with Adobe InDesign CS4. She is co-owner of Digital Dimensions with her husband Jeff, and is the chapter representative for the Denver InDesign User Group.


Erica shared some of her extensive knowledge to teach us how to work more efficiently in InDesign and introduced us to CS6.


The first time-saving step that Erica pointed out is to set the Preferences in InDesign to the settings that you use the most, prior to opening a document. This way the settings are preserved and applied to every new document that you create. If you set the preferences with a document open, then those settings will only be applied to that file.


After that, Erica introduced us to various features of InDesign that are often ignored. Under the Object menu is Fitting, where the size and position of content that is placed in a frame can be controlled. Under Edit is Keyboard Shortcuts, where you can customize your own keyboard shortcuts for commands you frequently use.


When you open a new document, you can control various presets. The Intent optimizes settings depending on whether you intend to output the document to print or the web and now in CS6, you have a digital option for mobile devices. Whatever the output, you can control the page size, columns, margins, etc. and all that can be saved as a preset to be used on other documents.


There are also useful Presets in the InDesign application folder. InDesign Library files include the Button Library, which has a set of ready-made buttons with color variations that could be used for interactivity like rollover and clicked-on states. You can modify a library item by selecting the object on your document and in the Library window, making the modification on the object in the document, then clicking on the option menu in the upper right of the Library panel and selecting Update Library Item. You can also go into that same Library panel option menu and select Add Items on Page… whichever page is chosen, as Separate Objects and every element on that page will be added to the Library. Select a Library object then select Place Items from that option menu and you can drop multiple copies of that object into the same position on a page.


Another useful feature Erica pointed out is to turn InDesign files into templates. When you save your files, under Format, select template. Now your file is a template, so when you open it, it opens as an untitled document that you have to name. This prevents you from accidentally saving over the original file. If you have a set of paragraph or character styles that you created in one document and you want to use them in another, Load those styles from the Paragraph or Character Style option menu. If you aren’t consistent in naming your styles, like me, the Load Style window allows you to rename a style that you’re importing and avoid conflicts.


When you want to import color swatches from one document to another, you can always Load Swatches and import every swatch from the original document. But if you want to choose specific swatches to import, you can do this. Go to the swatch panel in your original document and select the color swatches you want, then in the option menu Save Swatches. This creates a new .ase file (I don’t know what that stands for), but you can load that .ase file into another InDesign document and it adds the swatches that you chose to that document.


In the second part of her presentation, Erica Gamet introduced some of the new features of CS6. The frames for images have a new feature in CS6. In addition to the little blue square for anchors and the yellow squares to manipulate corners, there is a sideways 8 icon that you can click to jump to the Links panel.


In Text Frame Options, you now have an Auto-Size feature that allows a text box to grow as you add more text. Another new feature is more realistic looking placeholder text.


Now you can create linked content that doesn’t simply connect to a hard drive, but links content from document to document or layout to layout within a document. If you go to Edit then Place and Link an object in another document, that object is linked to the original and if you make any changes to the original object, the frame of the other will show an exclamation mark indicating a need to update it.


In CS6, different page sizes are possible within the same document. Alternate Layouts allows you to create both a vertical and horizontal layout for mobile devices. The two layouts are linked, so any change you make in one layout will change the other. There are also Liquid Layout Rules that allow you to pin an element in your layout to the top or the right, etc. to give a little control over the design as the layout changes.


You can create PDF form fields inside InDesign CS6 before you export to PDF. You can also preview a color file in grayscale then convert that file to a grayscale version for export.


I probably missed a few things but, as you can see Erica covered a lot of information in a couple of hours.



Raffles and Prizes


This time, we had some very lucky, multiple raffle prize winners. Chuck Golding had a great evening. He won 25 Freebies for InDesign from Pariah Burke, an InDesign Magazine subscription, a set of Fotalia downloads and Stock Layouts.


Some Fotalia downloads, a Q2ID plugin and Suitcase Fusion 3 was won by Nancy Anne Fox.


The big prize InDesign and an eDocker Tablet Publisher were won by Dallas Dorsett Mathers.


Type DNA was won by Wayne Acrieve.


Creative and Easy PDF eForm Design for Designers from Pariah Burke was won by Ann Mazakas.


Remember, you can’t win if you don’t come to the meeting.


Thanks to Carina Marano who was top bidder for admission to the How Design Conference in Boston and hopefully, she had a great time.



Thank you


Thanks to all the sponsors and donors of raffle prizes: Adobe, eDocker, Fotolia, High-Logic, HOW Design Conference, InDesign Magazine, Markzware, TypeDNA, Stock Layouts, O’Reilly Press, Peachpit Press.



Job Opportunities


We are looking for people who want to get involved with the administration of the group. Maybe you have web skills, newsletter skills, an eye for photos, want to conduct the raffles. Whatever. Let's talk.





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