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Adobe Bridge is a great tool—and not just for photographers and their files. In Bridge CS4: 10 Things Designers Need to Know, Adobe Certified Instructor Anne-Marie Concepción reveals how Bridge can be used for web and print designers, layout artists, and production managers. She shows how Bridge integrates with other CS4 programs, demonstrates how it can be used for locating files quickly based on colors and fonts, and teaches eight other valuable functions that help enhance creativity and streamline workflow. Exercise files accompany the course.
The most basic feature that designers need to know about Adobe Bridge is what is it for? And what it is is an alternative to using the Finder on the Macintosh or Windows Explorer on a Windows machine. Now, when you start up Bridge in its default state, that's what we are looking at right now on the Macintosh, what you see is a lot of little panels. I know it's a little confusing. But the main panel that you want to look at is over here, Favorites, and as well as Folders. All right, what you see in Favorites and Folders are the representation of every single file and folder that is accessible to you on that computer.
So for example, here in Favorites, my Home directory is selected and I see these various folders in my Home directory and if I switch to the Finder, you can see that's what I am looking at over here in my Home directory. I see the same exact files here that I see here. Same is true by the way in Windows. Here I am in Windows looking at Bridge and I have my Documents folder selected and inside the Documents folder is AMC files. If I switch to Windows Explorer, you can see that with my Documents folder selected, I see AMC files and inside AMC files, I see the four folders that I have.
So I will jump back to Macintosh Bridge and talk a little bit more about how this is an alternative to using the Finder and Explorer. So basically, you know that you have access to every single file that you could have access for in the Finder or Explorer, but Bridge is a better way in many cases to work with the files and folders. For example, Bridge can show previews of many more file formats than your computer's operating system can. If I open up AMC files and I look inside this folder called Illustrator clip art for example.
I immediately see thumbnails of all of these native Adobe Illustrator files. And I can make them large and small with the little Thumbnail slider at the bottom; I could look at them in Details view and get information about each one of these files along with the big fat Thumbnail preview. If I have a ton of files, I can look at them in List view. I still see a preview but I can fit many more in this view. The default is this little thumbnail and I am cicking these little icons at the lower-right. Now, what happens if I look at this in the Finder? So a quick way to jump to the Finder from within any Bridge window is to select what you are looking at, the thumbnail, right-click or Ctrl+click and chose Reveal in Finder.
So in the Finder, here's what that folder looks like, just a whole bunch of icons. The Finder does not show previews of native Illustrator files; neither does Windows. If I jump over to Windows and I look at the Illustrator clip art folder, that's what I see. Even though I am using Vista, the most modern operating system for Windows, this still cannot get into those native Illustrator files and show me even if I try large icons, I just see humongous icons. So when the file names aren't descriptive as you can see here and you can't see icons, it's really a crap-shoot about what image you are going to be opening from this window.
But, if instead you try opening it from Bridge, then I can see all the icons here and if I wanted to rename them, so they were clearer then this place to be a lot easier to rename them. So that is something else that you might do in the Finder or Windows Explorer, is that you might rename the file. So here I can just select this little pie chart and click on its name and we will just call it pie chart. Renaming it here in the Bridge window, also renames it in Windows Explorer.
There it is, pie chart. So it's not like a separate program that's doing things to duplicates or aliases or shortcuts of your files. Anything that you do to a file in Bridge is actually being done to the file. So you can jump back and forth between Explorer and Bridge, or the Finder and Bridge and use whichever one that you feel most comfortable in. You are going to find though that Bridge offers so many more features. So I switched over to the Mac Bridge and we are going to look at some other files. So inside Miscellaneous files here, which I stacked with lots of different file types, you can see that Bridge will show you previews not just of TIFs and AI files but also of things like movie files that you can play here. You can see Camera Raw images of course. Some file types you cannot see previews of like RTF files or XML files, or Office files like this Excel file.
But I want to get across to you that even though you don't see previews of them, Bridge is not just for Creative Suite files. It's for all the files that are available to you. So anything that you might want to do to a file in the Finder or Windows Explorer, you can do in Bridge. You can double-click a file of course to open it, or you can right-click on it, and there's lots of commands available to you that you might want to do with this file. An interesting one for Mac users is the Move To command which the Finder doesn't have. Windows Explorer have this, but you can't do move in the Mac Finder.
All you can do is Copy To. So that's very useful as well. To see a big fat close-up, just select any image here in the Content pane and then press the Spacebar. Press the Spacebar again to have it go away. To see the interior of PDF files, select any PDF file and in the Preview window which you can enlarge and there's lots of different ways to get an even larger preview. Check this out. You can see actually the individual pages within the PDF. So I am just clicking this little Page button down here and there's even a Loupe tool for preview that lets you zoom in really close and move this whole thing around to see what it says very closely. So this is great for when you are looking at type as well as details on images.
So long as you understand that anything that you can do in the Macintosh Finder or Windows Explorer, you can do in Bridge. You can find the files, you can open them, you can rename them, you can move them, add folders and so on, plus you get a bunch of more features which I'll be talking about in this title, then you can understand why Bridge can be so great for designers.
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