InDesign Secrets
Illustration by John Hersey

InDesign Secrets

with Anne-Marie Concepción and David Blatner

Video: 008 Some great tips and tricks for the Swatches panel

Anne-Marie: These Swatches panel in InDesign is the source from whence all good things come. It's probably the panel that I use most often in InDesign and I want to show you some cool little tips and tricks that you can do with this panel to make it easier for you to work in your various InDesign files. I think the number one thing that especially new user should know is never use the registration color. We don't know why Adobe persists and leaving it in the Swatches panel. I don't think that I've ever used if the registration color once and the problem is that if you do use the registration color, it's almost impossible to distinguish from black.
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  1. 5m 14s
    1. 179 File naming for healthy EPUBs NEW
      5m 14s
  2. 51s
    1. Welcome to InDesign Secrets
      51s
  3. 10m 7s
    1. 176 Quickly empty out an InDesign document of text and images
      3m 41s
    2. 177 Add a font from Typekit in CC
      4m 35s
    3. 178 How to hide the content grabber donut
      1m 51s
  4. 15m 35s
    1. 172 Making a character style change only the tint of your text
      2m 27s
    2. 173 Editing table set up from the keyboard
      4m 40s
    3. 174 How to sort text in InDesign
      2m 34s
    4. 175 Making captions easy (ignore text wrap object style library item live caption)
      5m 54s
  5. 12m 59s
    1. 169 All about All Caps (change case open type option)
      4m 36s
    2. 170 Batch convert InDesign files to IDML and other formats
      2m 35s
    3. 171 Fun with placeholder text
      5m 48s
  6. 11m 52s
    1. 166 Creating blank entry spaces on forms
      3m 53s
    2. 167 Creative uses of the Slug area
      4m 45s
    3. 168 Change the UI languaging in InDesign CS6 and CC
      3m 14s
  7. 21m 11s
    1. 161 Keeping page numbers on top of master items
      3m 55s
    2. 162 Adding automatic currency symbols in a table cell or before text
      3m 50s
    3. 163 Make a pop-up footnote for your ebook
      3m 48s
    4. 164 Deleting tabs at the beginning of paragraphs and applying a paragraph style
      3m 10s
    5. 165 Five InDesign Presentation tips
      6m 28s
  8. 19m 54s
    1. 157 Sharing swatches (PS/IL/ID and ID to ID)
      3m 36s
    2. 158 Convert rounded corners to editable paths
      3m 15s
    3. 159 Convert local formatting to character styles
      5m 14s
    4. 160 Sort an index by page number
      7m 49s
  9. 16m 58s
    1. 153 When InDesign ignores your leading values
      4m 5s
    2. 154 Extracting images from a Word document
      3m 42s
    3. 155 Uncommon uses for Quick Apply
      6m 2s
    4. 156 Uncovering InDesign's magic font folders
      3m 9s
  10. 28m 47s
    1. 148 Cropping with paste into
      5m 18s
    2. 149 Using vertical justification to spread out text in a frame automatically
      5m 16s
    3. 150 Rotate text inside a frame, or the frame around the text
      2m 30s
    4. 151 Looking at snippets vs. libraries
      6m 49s
    5. 152 Import a folder full of pictures, one per page
      8m 54s
  11. 19m 0s
    1. 144 Lay out a front back and spine for a book jacket
      6m 12s
    2. 145 Ghosting area of image behind text
      2m 53s
    3. 146 Make a transparency mask in InDesign
      3m 45s
    4. 147 Using preflight to find common document errors
      6m 10s
  12. 22m 35s
    1. 139 Faking bold and italic when the font family doesn’t have one
      5m 2s
    2. 140 Keeping the same scale size when updating or relinking to images
      3m 9s
    3. 141 Inserting glyphs
      6m 42s
    4. 142 Building richer, bolder color gradients
      3m 7s
    5. 143 Finding the right font with InDesign’s font menus
      4m 35s
  13. 21m 28s
    1. 135 Fitting text to a specific size
      4m 45s
    2. 136 Quick tips for making a small PDF file size
      6m 9s
    3. 137 Sharing presets, workspaces, and custom shortcuts sets
      5m 17s
    4. 138 Making a multi-level numbered list
      5m 17s
  14. 17m 21s
    1. 131 Changing the shape of polygons and starburst as you draw or afterward
      4m 17s
    2. 132 Contextual text and images that you only want sometimes visible
      4m 55s
    3. 133 Creating nav points in a movie
      4m 31s
    4. 134 Adding effects to your rule above and rule below
      3m 38s
  15. 22m 44s
    1. 127 Making automatic jump lines
      6m 52s
    2. 128 Turning off allow pages to shuffle in order to separate facing pages
      3m 40s
    3. 129 Dealing with parentheses around text size
      4m 19s
    4. 130 Make a fill in the blank label for contracts and forms
      7m 53s
  16. 23m 24s
    1. 122 Allow text frame to resize with text
      2m 43s
    2. 123 Mapping Word styles to InDesign styles
      5m 48s
    3. 124 Make two automatically threaded text flows
      3m 36s
    4. 125 Saving for Web in InDesign
      6m 7s
    5. 126 Numbering rows in a table
      5m 10s
  17. 13m 49s
    1. 119 Making alternative body text styles for fast typesetting
      5m 3s
    2. 120 Making InDesign patterns with the free PatternMaker
      3m 45s
    3. 121 Creating pull quotes the easy way
      5m 1s
  18. 13m 56s
    1. 116 Selecting text with the InDesign keyboard dance
      2m 0s
    2. 117 Including a total page count in your page numbers
      6m 19s
    3. 118 Making a custom arrowhead
      5m 37s
  19. 21m 53s
    1. 111 Packaging images on the pasteboard
      3m 32s
    2. 112 Automatically updating figure references for books
      6m 9s
    3. 113 Adding Tool Tips to your form fields in InDesign
      3m 21s
    4. 114 Setting poetry, flush left, center on longest line
      3m 54s
    5. 115 Use bookmarks to navigate long documents in production
      4m 57s
  20. 18m 25s
    1. 107 Using the same keyboard shortcut for two different commands with the Context feature
      5m 22s
    2. 108 Making a text highlighter
      3m 33s
    3. 109 Updating an interactive PDF without losing work done in Acrobat
      5m 30s
    4. 110 Adding custom text at the beginning of each line automatically
      4m 0s
  21. 25m 3s
    1. 103 Converting text to outlines the right way
      4m 30s
    2. 104 Turning InDesign into a speed demon
      8m 31s
    3. 105 Working with MiniBridge
      5m 45s
    4. 106 Customize your QR codes
      6m 17s
  22. 16m 34s
    1. 099 Aligning Objects tips and tricks
      5m 10s
    2. 100 Applying corner options to any shape
      2m 17s
    3. 101 Converting footnotes to endnotes with a free script
      4m 49s
    4. 102 Making tab leaders pretty
      4m 18s
  23. 24m 41s
    1. 095 Managing changing pages with primary text frames
      5m 23s
    2. 096 Secrets of the Info panel
      7m 31s
    3. 097 Surprising ways to do a word count
      5m 29s
    4. 098 Placing an object where you want it with an object style
      6m 18s
  24. 30m 33s
    1. 089 Three great Object Styles for any designer
      8m 1s
    2. 090 Choosing alpha channel image transparency
      2m 25s
    3. 091 Adding and reading metadata for InDesign files
      3m 25s
    4. 092 Adding ALT tags to your images
      6m 59s
    5. 093 How to Place & Link a text frame's text but not its formatting
      7m 4s
    6. 094 Setting the baseline position of a caption
      2m 39s
  25. 17m 58s
    1. 085 Using Illustrator to create InDesign gradient swatches
      4m 49s
    2. 086 Building a simple grep style to change character size
      3m 45s
    3. 087 Exporting a grayscale PDF
      3m 16s
    4. 088 Three ways to cheat text outside of its frame
      6m 8s
  26. 28m 38s
    1. 081 Creating a custom cross-reference format
      13m 53s
    2. 082 Putting different-sized pages on a single spread
      3m 7s
    3. 083 Formatting prices with nested and grep styles
      6m 21s
    4. 084 Checking out the Gridify tricks
      5m 17s
  27. 19m 17s
    1. 077 The secrets of formatting objects with Find/Change
      6m 36s
    2. 078 Using ruler guides: 10 great tricks
      5m 3s
    3. 079 Converting a clipping path to a frame
      4m 24s
    4. 080 Adding a drop shadow to a single word inside a frame
      3m 14s
  28. 31m 18s
    1. 073 Working with sets in the content conveyor tool
      10m 40s
    2. 074 Running text along the top and the bottom of a circle
      3m 51s
    3. 075 Creating a list using the Table of Contents feature
      3m 25s
    4. 076 Quickly threading frames together and unthreading frames
      13m 22s
  29. 29m 32s
    1. 069 Ten uses of the Story Editor
      11m 39s
    2. 070 Moving an object: Ten ways!
      7m 18s
    3. 071 Understanding optical margin alignment (and the quote trick)
      4m 23s
    4. 072 Changing the shape of any frame with the pen tool
      6m 12s
  30. 17m 53s
    1. 065 Customizing the story editor preferences
      6m 10s
    2. 066 Setting the size of text exactly with this free script
      3m 28s
    3. 067 Using Gravity to simulate perspective
      3m 15s
    4. 068 Fixing the overflowing text frame problem in EPUBs
      5m 0s
  31. 23m 54s
    1. 061 Embedding images
      7m 44s
    2. 062 Adjusting leading inside a paragraph
      4m 47s
    3. 063 Placing one InDesign file inside another
      3m 58s
    4. 064 Creating bookmarks for PDFs
      7m 25s
  32. 29m 16s
    1. 057 Text wrapping
      6m 54s
    2. 058 Inserting pages: Understanding the Pages panel
      4m 20s
    3. 059 Copying paths between Illustrator and InDesign
      5m 14s
    4. 060 Automating Find/Change with the Find/ChangeByList script
      12m 48s
  33. 35m 12s
    1. 051 Five things that should be in every new file
      5m 19s
    2. 052 Forcing EPUB page breaks with invisible objects
      6m 21s
    3. 053 Understanding component information
      6m 39s
    4. 054 Creating running heads using section markers
      4m 16s
    5. 055 Making a font with InDesign using the IndyFont script
      5m 20s
    6. 056 Finding where that color is used
      7m 17s
  34. 23m 41s
    1. 047 Specifying an exact amount of space between objects
      5m 17s
    2. 048 Fixing last lines that are too short
      8m 16s
    3. 049 Creating web graphics from your InDesign artwork
      7m 20s
    4. 050 Using “No Language” to suppress unwanted hyphenation, spell-checking, and smart quotes
      2m 48s
  35. 21m 30s
    1. 043 Formatting fractions correctly
      8m 11s
    2. 044 Fixing unwanted hyperlinks in an imported Word file
      5m 57s
    3. 045 Inline graphic tricks with invisible paragraphs
      4m 21s
    4. 046 Ensuring the first line of every chapter starts in the same spot
      3m 1s
  36. 29m 36s
    1. 037 Updating a linked table without losing formatting
      5m 18s
    2. 038 Creating electronic sticky notes
      4m 49s
    3. 039 Moving master page items to the top layer for visibility
      2m 48s
    4. 040 Five guide tricks that will impress your coworkers
      6m 18s
    5. 041 Letting InDesign add the diacritics
      4m 21s
    6. 042 Using single-cell table cells for custom paragraph formatting
      6m 2s
  37. 28m 19s
    1. 033 Importing a custom dictionary
      7m 8s
    2. 034 Changing document orientation and page size
      6m 45s
    3. 035 Numbering instead of using auto page numbers
      6m 23s
    4. 036 Setting story order with the Articles panel
      8m 3s
  38. 37m 59s
    1. 027 Creating running heads using variables
      5m 1s
    2. 028 Live Caption tips and tricks
      8m 3s
    3. 029 Making professional drop caps
      10m 37s
    4. 030 Making two-state buttons in interactive documents
      5m 5s
    5. 031 Moving pages from one document to another
      3m 15s
    6. 032 Wrapping bulleted text around a curve
      5m 58s
  39. 23m 50s
    1. 023 Using layer comps in Photoshop files to show alternates in InDesign
      4m 19s
    2. 024 Adding custom HTML tags to EPUB/HTML exports
      5m 32s
    3. 025 Tracking down type issues with the composition highlighter
      8m 13s
    4. 026 Managing your InDesign panels
      5m 46s
  40. 21m 34s
    1. 019 Using multiple windows for comparisons
      3m 35s
    2. 020 Putting images on a stroke
      5m 23s
    3. 021 Making your own motion path
      5m 43s
    4. 022 Copying objects between Illustrator and InDesign
      6m 53s
  41. 23m 8s
    1. 015 Aligning numbered lists by decimal points
      3m 9s
    2. 016 Running a script
      9m 33s
    3. 017 When text disappears from a text frame
      6m 18s
    4. 018 Preview and Presentation modes (changing color etc.)
      4m 8s
  42. 25m 19s
    1. 011 InDesign's Easter eggs
      5m 0s
    2. 012 Three cool GREP styles everyone can use
      7m 35s
    3. 013 A field guide to special characters
      8m 2s
    4. 014 Trashing the application preferences to solve weird behaviors
      4m 42s
  43. 26m 6s
    1. 007 Selecting through and into objects using cmd-click and Select Above/Below
      5m 46s
    2. 008 Some great tips and tricks for the Swatches panel
      9m 40s
    3. 009 Saving down for backward compatibility with INX and IDML
      5m 54s
    4. 010 Using the INX and IDML formats to fix problems
      4m 46s
  44. 23m 26s
    1. 003 The indispensible Quick Apply feature
      5m 29s
    2. 004 Customizing the Links panel
      6m 53s
    3. 005 Magically building graphs with the Chartwell font
      7m 43s
    4. 006 Using the Eyedropper tool to pick up character or paragraph attributes
      3m 21s
  45. 9m 6s
    1. 001 The hidden "auto-expand text" feature
      5m 51s
    2. 002 Letting InDesign do the math for you
      3m 15s

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InDesign CS4 Tutorials | InDesign Secrets
15h 56m Intermediate Aug 25, 2011 Updated Feb 26, 2015

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

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.

Subject:
Design
Software:
InDesign
Authors:
Anne-Marie Concepción David Blatner

008 Some great tips and tricks for the Swatches panel

Anne-Marie: These Swatches panel in InDesign is the source from whence all good things come. It's probably the panel that I use most often in InDesign and I want to show you some cool little tips and tricks that you can do with this panel to make it easier for you to work in your various InDesign files. I think the number one thing that especially new user should know is never use the registration color. We don't know why Adobe persists and leaving it in the Swatches panel. I don't think that I've ever used if the registration color once and the problem is that if you do use the registration color, it's almost impossible to distinguish from black.

If I selected this text and I color it registration, can you tell me what's black and was registration? But if we send this to print and they do a color separation, then this text comes out at 100% of the four process colors which would make for some very strange looking text. The registration color is only supposed to be used for things that should be at 100% on each individual plate, usually things like crop marks and registration marks, stuff that's outside of a live page area. So if you cannot delete registration, which is true, you see the pencil with the slash, you can at least move it to the bottom. Did you know that you can rearrange these swatches? Yes.

So get it out of the way, move it away from black at least, so that you don't accidentally select it. I am going to select all this and make sure that it's black again, there we go. By the way, any changes that I make to the Swatches panel while a document is open only apply to that document. If I jump to a different document, you'll see the registration color is right back up at the top. So if you want to make changes to the Swatches panel that will be in effect for every new document you create from now on, then make changes to the Swatches panel with no documents open at all.

So I am going to close these two documents. I am not going to save any changes and I'll close this big honking thing and now we have the default Swatches panel. Any changes that you make to the Swatches panel with no documents open, then become the new defaults for the swatches in the application itself. It still will not change for any existing documents, but for new documents that will be the new starting set of swatches and that's a good thing. So here are some, I think, common changes you should make to the Swatches panel with no documents open.

Number one, you already know. Move registration down to the bottom. get it out of the way. Number two, get rid of the colors that you would never use. Why are they even there taking up brain cells? How often do you need to fill something with 100% cyan? Maybe never. So I would select this color and delete it. I would do the same thing for 100% Magenta and Yellow. I actually do use these colors, red, green and blue, just to quickly fill things to see what they look like. So I am going to go ahead and leave it in.

In addition to these existing colors, a color that you might want to add would be, say, your corporate colors. So for example, if you use a particular color, say a Pantone color, in a lot of your corporate pieces and you're constantly doing two color work where you are filling things with a shade of your corporate color, for example, then go ahead and add that to your default Swatches panel. So I'm going to go to Color Type Spot and we are going to jump to Pantone and we will just type in say good old 286. And we will add that. You know while you're here you can add in any other colors that you like to play with. Maybe you are kind of tired of red, green and blue and you'd like to have some neutrals or you would like to have some nice pink and lavender and go ahead and add them. It's not going to cost you anything.

Now let me show you an even easier way to add colors. Let's say that in my work I constantly use the same colors in a variety of InDesign documents. Now those colors I have already painstakingly spec-ed in the Swatches panel for various documents. Why don't I just use colors from there? So you can actually save certain custom colors from your InDesign documents and then reuse them in other documents. So let me open one of these documents like this explore brochure.

So we have some nice looking colors here. Let's say that I often use these four colors. These are all custom CMYK colors. I would like to add these to my default swatches, so that they're there with every time that I create a new document. So you select the swatches that you want and if you wanted like one up here, you didn't want the ones in between, you would hold down the Ctrl key on a PC or the Command key on a Mac. I actually don't want that. So, I just want these. Then go to the Swatches panel menu and choose Save Swatches.

These get saved in a file format called Adobe Swatch Exchange, as you can see down here, and they are initially called by the name of the document that you extracted them from, but I could call it our favorite desert colors. So those are kind of deserty and then we will close this guy. Now in any new document or in any existing document for that matter, you can always go to the Swatches panel and then choose Load Swatches and select the ASE.

Now this is an actual standalone file that you could put on a server for everybody in the workgroup to load whenever they need it. You can email it to your freelancers, you can include it with packages. I mean you could even post it on craigslist or eBay and maybe make a few bucks from it, why not? I am going to choose Open and the colors are added automatically to my Swatches panel. Another way to get Swatches that already exist in other InDesign documents is by picking and choosing them from the Add New Color Swatch dialog box and in some ways it's even better, because when you say something is ASE, you have no clue what colors are coming in when you load them.

You might forget, what are my desert colors? Maybe there's a thousand colors in there and you just wanted a couple. If you want to actually pick and choose the colors from within this document or from within the Swatches panel itself, because we don't have the document open, go to the Swatches panel menu, choose New Color Swatch, and under Color Mode, go all the way to the bottom and choose Other Library. You can see I have already done this before, because it's remembering I choose California history book. But you choose Other Library and then you can choose any InDesign document that you'd like, and it gets added as though it was on its own standalone Pantone library.

So I could say well, I want this color and I like this gold and that's about it. Nice, huh? Now this is getting a little messy. I am going to rearrange this and in fact, there's one last tip I want to tell you about to help organize your Swatches panel. A lot of users say isn't there a way we can group these, put them into folders, so that I can have you know, these are the colors that we are using for the Fall catalog, these are the ones we are going to use for the Winter catalog or colors by different my two main clients, something like that? And unfortunately, not yet.

We keep hoping with every new version, but no. There is a kind of a workaround though that you could use that's kind of neat. Go to the Swatches panel menu, choose New Color Swatch, give it any color that you would like. I would like to use often just pure white. So I am just dragging everything over to the left and then turn off Name with Color Value and instead type in something that looks like a divisor. It's like a series of hyphens. And then click Add and you see what got added. Actually, it was a little too long so we have dot dot dot. so let me make one a little bit shorter, let's say like that, Add. That's better.

And then whenever you do that then it says the next color will be the same thing only with word copy, but I don't want the word copy. I want to make another divisor. It can't be the exact same number of hyphens so I can just remove one, click Add again or I can even do something like ---Fall Colors and then we are going to delete that. And you know what I am going to enter here right? Winter Colors and because we can rearrange by dragging and dropping these color swatches, we can make our own little organization.

So I might say here are the Winter colors. We will say it's blue and this blue and then the fall colors will go above there and the fall colors will be that one and that one and I think the yellow one as well. Maybe I am going to rename this color and we will call it Don't Use These. Guess which color I am going to put underneath there? And so on.

So I am going to delete that one, delete that one and we will keep our corporate color up here, and there. Now we have our favorite colors that we use all the time up here and then here is the Falls colors for those projects, the Winter colors for those projects, and Don't Use These, because we can't get rid of registration. Now every time that I create a new document, those colors are available to me. But if I open up an existing document, I don't need to worry about my changes affecting it, because colors are saved with a document that they are edited in.

So whether you need to edit the swatches in the current document or you want to create a swatch set that will work with all your existing document from now till the end of time, now you know.

Find answers to the most frequently asked questions about InDesign Secrets .


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