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In this series, David Blatner and Anne-Marie Concepción, co-hosts of the web's top resource for InDesign tips and tricks, InDesignSecrets.com, share some hidden and sometimes surprising workflow tips that will make working in InDesign more efficient and more fun. The course covers built-in timesaving features such as Quick Apply and auto-expanding text, but also little-known tricks, such as using the eyedropper to copy and paste character and paragraph text attributes and making accurate selections by selecting through or even into objects.
New techniques will be added to the collection every other week, so check back early and often. Find more tips and tricks at indesignsecrets.com.
Anne-Marie Concepcion> There are lots of places in InDesign where there are hidden features and most users never discover them, even though they've been added versions ago. For me, one of those kinds of features is the ability to really customize the Links panel. They've completely rebuilt the Links panel and how it works in CS4. If you click it, you'll see that it automatically opens up this part at the bottom called Link Info. When you select an image or placed elements in your InDesign file, the link to that image is highlighted in the top part of the links panel and then underneath that you see a lot more information called Link Info, all about that link.
So if you scroll down here you can see, for example, what is the actual resolution and what is the effective resolution, after you scaled it. Apparently this thing was scaled much smaller so now it's 1181. It's a pretty big file, and so on. You know, the problem with this to me is that I hate this part down here and I'll almost always click the little disclosure triangle to hide it. I don't want to see it. But now how do I get that information? I have to keep clicking down here. Well, you can completely customize this top part of the Links panel, what I called the main part with all the interesting information from the bottom part.
So that you never have to look down here. You just have to look in the main area. And I do that on my production machines with all of my documents. Let me show you how easy it is to do that. First of all, I'm going to detach the Links panel from the dock so that it's a little easier to see. And widen this out bit. We have all this room to play with over here. Go to the Links panel menu, down to Panel Options, and you see here there's two columns. One says Show Column and Show in Link Info. So Show Column means this top area, what I call the main area.
Show in Link Info was this bottom area that we have currently hidden. What we want to do is show, for example, resolution and effective resolution up here in the top area. So scroll down here to wherever you find that and there it is. Actual PPI and Effective PPI and say I want to see that in the columns. You can add other things to the columns as well. Like for example you might want if something is RGB or CMYK. You might want to know if you've scaled it. This is great to be able to see that at a glance whether something has been scaled or not.
As you scroll down here you'll see lots of things you can add, but remember they're going to add a column, so you don't want this thing taking up a 21-inch wide monitors. So be judicious and just select the things that you really want to see often. Remember, you can always turn on Show in Link Info. You can always expand this bottom part to see other bits of information. But let me scroll down here and see if anything else pops up. Oh yeah, what about things like the folder that it was in? So if you want to know what folder did I pull this from, that would be folder zero.
If you want to know what was the parent of the folder that pulled it from, that was folder one. This I use all the time. I show folders, your own folder one, because I often will place images from the links folder of other projects. If I just showed folder zero, I would just see a column that said links links links links links. But if I said folder one as well, I'd I see links, annual report, links, brochure, and so on. So I know where I'm actually pulling those images from. I think that's good enough for now.
Let's just click OK. And there they appear. Now this information can be sorted by any one of these fields. For example, this is the resolution. So if I click, I can sort by resolution and see all the 72 PPI images, all the way to the top, or if I want to do it the other way I just click again. And it shows them to me in descending order. And I really don't care what they original came in as. I want to see what they are now before I export it I can click in the effective resolution. This is the scale and I can see some things were really scaled small.
And sometimes like for this one here -- let me bring this out, see if I can see more information. This one was not scaled proportionally. One dimension was 6% and the other dimension was 6.1%! Horrors! Of course we don't want anything like that happening. So you can get a lot of information just by looking up here. A couple other cool features that may not be obvious once you have added these elements to the columns area, is that you can drag-and-drop the headers if you want to change the order. So if you're mostly interested in the scaling amount you could drag that over so that the scale appears even before the page number.
And as you can see I can also drag the column orders. You can even drag the column in front of the very first one. So for example if I want to see what is the color type of all these images. All these appear to be RGB so it's not that interesting, but a lot of people don't realize you can put things right in front of even the name. Let me move that back. I like that, so I'm going to put this back in the dock and then when I click it, it pops open. They all await. One last thing I want to mention to you is that all your work will be for naught if you forget to save this in a custom workspace.
Because you have now customized one of the default workspaces. And it's okay if you go to another workspace and come back here. If you go to let's say Essentials. Or let's say Book. You go to Links you see that your changes weren't saved in the Book workspace, but if you go to Advanced and open it up, they are there. Until you choose Reset Advanced. And I don't to want to do it because it's going to erase my work. It's going to reset it back to the factory Advanced.
So my customizations will still be in the Links panel. Even after I switch back to Advanced. Even if I quit out of the program and start it up again tomorrow it'll still be here, because it's been saved in a file on my computer as Anne-Marie's customizations to Advanced. But as soon as I choose Reset Advanced then it would delete that file and it resets it back to the factory Advanced. So what you need to do is choose New Workspace. I don't want this to be open is part of my workspace, so I'll go here. New Workspace.
We'll call this Enhanced Links. Click OK and now even if I mess around, like let's come over here and come over here and we go to Essentials, we go to Advanced. Remember Advanced had it here. And we choose Reset Advanced. Now they're gone. If I go to Enhanced Links-- Oops, let's reset Enhanced Links. Yay, they're still there.
Because I saved it with the custom workspace. So take a moment right now, move over to InDesign, open up the Links panel, go to Panel Options, add these customizations and save it in a custom workspace and you'll be a happier person for it.
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