Recently, I’ve been asked to highlight Ten Great InDesign Features. These features are not the most commonly used features but they do make life easier when using InDesign. The list is as follows:
Presentation mode – As the name describes, presentation mode is a full preview view similar to full screen mode in Acrobat or Microsoft Word. Press “Shift+W” to activate this function, escape to exit. Presentation mode is ideal when presenting your InDesign documents to a client. It removes all menu items and panels for a full screen view.
Arrange pages vertically/horizontally – By default, pages are set up vertically in InDesign so you have to have a very long pages panel. It was formally located under the pages panel and it looked like this feature disappeared in CS6 but it is now located view pages pop up menu. You can also make this change using alternate layout.
Links panel – People do not customize their links panel. The links panel is usually used to link graphic files stored in other directories, on either local or remote servers. Put your information right in your links panel. When you show “show in column”, page information such as resolution shows up in the links panel.
Convert shape – From the object menu, click convert shape. You can convert the shape of any object. For example, you could convert a square to a triangle.
Slug feature – The slug is an area outside the printed page where you can put information about project – time, date, client, job number, notes, registration marks, dimensions, author etc. It is very similar to the comments section in MS PowerPoint and appears outside the active area. The slug is trimmed off when you print the page out. Access the slug settings through the Document Setup menu item.
and link– By using place and links, when repurposing InDesign files, you won’t have to remember all the files to update. The feature works brilliantly when the same images, objects or content appears in multiple documents. You can change the parent incident and it will follow through to all the copies. You don’t copy it, you place and link it!! Access place and link through the Edit menu item.
Discretionary Hyphen is a great feature if you want to squeeze a hyphen between 2 words but you’re not sure if the content could change. The discretionary hyphen is also called a soft hyphen and ideal if you need to put a hyphen anywhere near the end of a line. If you use a regular hyphen, and the content changes, you could have a split word like discret – ionary in the middle of a line. Choose discretionary hyphen from the Type -> Insert Special Character menu item and the hyphen is automatically removed and the space closes. Alternatively, use the short cut codes Command-Shift-hyphen on MAC, Ctrl-Shift-hyphen on Windows.
Split window is a new feature is new in InDesign CS6 that takes
one window and splits it into 2 windows in the same windowpane or tab so you can look at 2 layouts at once. It makes it easier to view the different versions of your design. The split window feature is accessed through a little button on the lower left hand side of the screen – it looks like the pause button on your DVD player! Simply click on it and it splits the window into 2.
Key object – This is a new feature in InDesign CS6 but already forgotten by many. This feature comes in handy when you want to align a lot of key objects in the middle of a page. Select all the objects you want to align, then click on the key object you want the other objects to align to. And voila, all your objects align.
Auto-correct has been around for a while but not turned on by default in InDesign. It is located in preferences and you must checkbox for autocorrect. Auto correct works similar to autocorrect in MS word. This feature has been around since 2007 but people don’t use it as it is set to off by default. We’re not all English spelling experts so turn it on and leave it on!