5 InDesign Hacks Every CreativePro Needs to Know
by David Blatner
posted on 10-22-2019
How well do you really know Adobe InDesign? CreativePro is the home of InDesignSecrets.com, InDesign Magazine, and The InDesign Conference (part of CreativePro Week), and we offer essential “how-to” resources to help make you more efficient and productive with Adobe InDesign, Illustrator, and Photoshop.
Here are five InDesign hacks every creative professional should know. When you’re done reading, come visit us at Booth 815 to pick up a free wall-sized InDesign keyboard shortcuts poster, mingle with your favorite experts, and enter to win a 5-day Platinum pass to CreativePro Week in Austin, Texas (June 1-5, 2020).
Set your preferences
The more you customize InDesign to the way you work, the more efficient you’ll be. That means you have to open InDesign’s Preferences dialog box (Command/Ctrl-K) and make some changes! But remember, many of these preferences only affect the document you currently have open. So, close all documents! When all docs are closed, your changes to the Preferences dialog box will apply to all new documents you create.
Some preferences you should change:
- Turn on “Apply Leading to Entire Paragraphs” in the Type pane.
- Choose your preferred ruler measurements in the Units & Increments pane.
- Set “Greek Below” to 2 pt in the Display Performance pane.
- Turn on “Autocorrect” in the Autocorrect pane.
Change your document defaults
While all documents are closed, you can also add color swatches, paragraph styles, character styles, and object styles. That way, all those swatches and styles will appear in all new documents you create from now on. If you cannot see the Swatches and Styles panels when no documents are open, you’re probably in the Start workspace. Choose Window > Workspace > Advanced. Then make your changes. (And then you can change back to the Start workspace if you want.)
Frame fitting options
Are you forever resizing graphics inside frames or resizing text frames to fit the story? You can make InDesign’s frames do more for you!
- For graphic frames: Choose Object > Fitting > Frame Fitting Options. Choose “Fill Frame Proportionally” from the Fitting pop-up menu, and make sure the Crop Amount fields are set to zero. This way, any image you place in this frame will automatically scale to fill the frame!
- For text frames: Choose Object > Text Frame Options (or press Command/Ctrl-B), then click the Auto-Size tab. Set the Auto-Sizing pop-up menu to Height Only. This way, your text frame will grow or shrink automatically as you edit the text inside the frame.
Use Story Editor
Sometimes your text frame is too small, too wide, or too long to edit easily on your page. That’s where Story Editor comes in! Just select the frame (or some text), and press Command/Ctrl-Y to open the Story Editor window — it’s like having a text editor built into InDesign where you can type or edit your story quickly, without having to worry about all the normal page formatting. When you’re done, press the same keyboard shortcut to close the window.
(Bonus tip: No one likes the font in the Story Editor! Fortunately, you can change it in the Story Editor pane of the Preferences dialog box.)
Check Ink Manager
InDesign users often make or apply spot colors by accident. So before you print or export your document to PDF, do yourself a favor and check the Ink Manager! You can find the Ink Manager inside the Swatches panel menu. (There is also an Ink Manager button inside the Print dialog box and the PDF Export dialog box.) Look to see if your document has unintended spot colors. If you find one, you can use the Ink Manager to set it to convert to a process CMYK color if you want.
We hope you enjoyed these InDesign tips and tricks! If you love InDesign (and Illustrator and Photoshop), then visit CreativePro at Booth 815 and let’s connect!
Topics: News, Adobe MAX
Products: Photoshop, Creative Cloud