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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.
I think one of the big stumbling blocks that designers have with Adobe Bridge is at the part of the window that lets you navigate the folders on your computer is just a tiny portion of the overall window. Just this little tiny Folders pane here with the 150,000 files that are available to you on your local hard drive and your attached FireWire drives and USB drive and then the servers. You're supposed to find every single file in this little tiny 3 inch x 4 inch pane. Compare that to like the Finder where the entire reason for being of a Finder window is to locate files. You have lot of room to breathe and different ways to get the files in the panel on the left and the panel on the right and so on, and for Windows Explorer, here we're running in Vista where I can just select a file and we have lots of room and if we had one of these folders with lots of files, they'd appear right next to each other, we have the entire window but compare that to Bridge, they are just tiny little panes. Even if you switch to the Folders view where it's a little larger or even if you resize it, it's still kind of a pain to have to just use this tiny area.
So lesson number one for designers who want to start using Bridge more regularly is take about 5 or 10 minutes and put your most commonly accessed folders up here in Favorites. So I am going to switch back to the default Essentials workspace to show you that usually when you start a Bridge, Favorites is right in front. Now you'll see that it has some Favorites that probably you don't use. Like for example, Bridge Home. Bridge Home has even been discontinued from Adobe.
It used to be sort of like a central location where you can do lots of stuff, but they've discontinued it. So you can just right-click or Ctrl+ click with a one button mouse on these guys and choose Remove from Favorites if you want, or actually a lot of these are up here because of Preferences. If you go to Preferences, which on a Mac is under the Adobe Bridge menu, on Windows, it's under the Edit menu. Go to Preferences in Bridge and at the bottom of the very first general panel, you'll see Favorite Items. So these are some of the default favorites.
So for me, for example, I really don't keep anything in pictures. I have my own folders where I keep images. So I don't need to see pictures there. And I actually don't keep a lot of stuff within Documents. I keep all of my files right here in my Home directory, and the computer is fine with me. So leave that up there, in case have other servers and things, they'll appear below Computer. So I'll just say OK. Windows Bridge is similar. So you'll see here's Bridge Home, here's Computer, Desktop, Documents, Pictures, and if you go to Preferences, you can choose which one of these to turn on and off. So after you've cleaned this up, I am going to turn off Bridge Home, Pictures, and I'll leave Documents up.
Then you add stuff to Favorites. Like for example, inside the Anne-Marie folder, there is the Documents folder and inside there, there is AMC files. When I double-click on AMC files, I see some other folders. Now I know that when I am working on this computer, I will often be going into this folder called Client Projects. So instead of having to drill down to Client Projects, I am just going to add it to Favorites just by dragging and dropping it right over here into the Favorites panel.
Inside Client Projects, maybe these are some archives projects but I am currently working on the Bliss Magazine project, so I'll add that also to the Favorites panel. You can drag it around in the Favorites panel and it will show you where it's going to appear. It's very similar to dragging panels around in any of the Creative Suite programs. You can drag any of these Favorites up and down to rearrange them. There's no limit on the number of favorites that you have. If you have a whole lot of them, you'll have to probably enlarge this a bit. But, I am going to go ahead and add some more over here.
Let's say that you had a server attached to your computer via a network cable, and you want to add say your Production folder from the server. Then, you just go to the Folders panel, and locate the name of your server wherever it might be. So here's Computer and then I could drag the names of the different servers onto my Favorites panel. Also, if you are buried somewhere deep within your hard drive and you're looking at it in the Content folder, you can always just right-click on a folder and choose Add to Favorites.
So how long will it take, 5 or 10 minutes? That 5 or 10 minutes will be one of the best investments of time that you'll ever make because that means that you hardly ever need to go into Folders. Almost all of your files will be available to you in a split second right here from the Favorites panel. And the Favorites panel is remembered even if you quit out of Bridge and you start it again, your Favorites will always be here.
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