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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.
David Blatner: You know that Photoshop and InDesign work well together, but you might not know how well they work together. Let me show you what I mean. You are in Photoshop and you are editing this file, but maybe you don't know how it's going to be placed on your InDesign page yet, or maybe you don't know which flower that you want to highlight on the cover of your magazine. You have options and you want to keep those options open as long as you can. The best way to keep your options open in Photoshop is to put everything on layers. If we look in the Layers panel here in Photoshop, you can see that I have flowers on this layer, I've got this other kind of crazy cactus thing on another layer, you have circles like spotlights, all kinds of stuff each on its own layer.
Because it's not flattened I keep my options open so I can change my mind later. Now Photoshop has another kind of layer feature built into it. It's called layer comps. Most Photoshop users don't know about it, because they didn't put it inside the Layer panel. Instead they put it in a separate panel called Layer Comps. But layer comps are really easy. All layer comps do is they remember which of your layers are turned on, which ones are turned off, they remember what effects you've applied or maybe where you've put things on the layer, and it's totally easy to make a layer comp.
You just set up your layers the way you want and then come down here and click the New Layer Comp button. That's all. It saves a layer comp. And I've created four layer comps in this document. This first one, which is basically what we are looking at, the Succulent and Highlights one over here, which has a different kind of cactus effect and a different highlight effect. Here's one with flowers and those kind of crazy spotlight effect, and finally one with a different background color, and we've got this glowing dynamic effect. Some people like that kind of thing. Now what's great is all of these are inside this Photoshop file.
Now let's go back to InDesign and see what it looks like here. Here's the InDesign layout with the same image, the same Photoshop file that's been placed on page one, and we are going to change our mind. Let's say we don't want this flower after all. We want a different flower. So I am going to select that image, then I'll go to the Object menu and choose Object Layer Options. Here is a list of all of the different layers inside that Photoshop file. Now this would be true whether I have a PSD file, a native Photoshop file, or a native AI file from Illustrator, or even a PDF file if that PDF file had layers in it.
It will actually even work if I have placed an InDesign file into another InDesign file. That Object Layer Options dialog box can show me all the layers inside any of those files. But in this case, we are working with this Photoshop file and we can see all the layers inside this PSD file, and I can turn those layers on or off. For example, here's that Flowers layer. If I click on the little Eyeball icon and make sure the Preview checkbox is turned on inside this dialog box, it will actually take out that flower. Depending on the size of your PSD file or your placed file it may take a little bit longer or shorter for small files, but in this case it's a pretty big file so it takes a little bit of time to update.
But you can see that when it does update the preview the flowers are gone and the highlight is just still there. The ability to turn on and off layers is great, but what I think is even better is the fact that InDesign can see all those layer comps that we created in Photoshop, and they all show up here in the Layer Comp pop-up menu. Here is the layer comp that we started with, Flowers and Highlights, but I could change this to Succulent and Highlights, and after a few moments of processing, we'll see a completely different image. The cactus is there, plus the highlights around it.
They are different highlights you'll notice. We could choose a different one as well. Maybe we really like that flowers that are glowing. So I can choose that one, it processes through, and it shows up on my InDesign page. Now I'll click OK and I can continue working on my InDesign file. What's great about layers and layers comps is I can keep all these different options in a single Photoshop file, so I don't have to keep track of lots of different files on disk. Plus, each layer comp only adds a little bit to the file size, so it doesn't take a lot of extra space to save them, and I hope you'll forgive this terrible pun, but this kind of integration across the Creative Suite products is why I call it the Creative Sweet!
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