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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: Look you're never going to get a finish in InDesign, unless you master its panels. There are after all quite a lot of them. This is only about a half of InDesign panels that I've open right now and I can barely see my document in the middle there. Now I know some people who keep all the panels open at the same time, on a separate monitor. But I personally think that's kind of a crazy. I would rather manage my panels better, so I don't have to have them open all the time, and a key to managing your panels is InDesign's Workspace feature and you could find that feature under the Window menu up here in the Workspace submenu.
Each of these Advanced, Book, Essentials and so on that have the brackets  around them, are workspaces that Adobe ships with InDesign and you can use those if you want, or you can choose them out of the Application bar here where it says Advanced. You can choose Advanced, Book, Essentials. Here they don't have the brackets  around them but it's the same thing, they are workspaces that Adobe has created for you. Normally, when you launch InDesign you have the Essentials workspace setup for you, that doesn't show you many panels at all. So the first thing I do is I always switch to the Advanced panel, like here.
Now when you first launch InDesign, it starts you off with the Essentials workspace, which I think is kind of dumb because it has very few panels visible and even some menu items are missing. So I always switch to the Advanced workspace. But now here I went beyond advanced and I started opening panels, and moving panels around, and I've made quite a mess of things. So I like to go back to the original state of the Advanced panel. To do that, I choose Reset Advanced. That takes me back to the original advanced workspace, the way Adobe meant for it to look.
Now I'm not suggesting that you use Advanced just the way Adobe ships it. I'm suggesting that you start with Advanced and then customize it, to the way that you work. The more you customize InDesign, the more efficient you're going to be. So for example, if you never use the Gradient panel, well, take it right out. Just drag it right out of here and put it away. Just close it by clicking on that little Close button. Here's a few other things that I changed, when I'm setting up my copy of InDesign. First of all, I really liked having the Character Styles and the Paragraph Styles in the same group.
So I drag the Character Style up, until I see a highlight in this panel group. See how it has as blue highlight around it. Now they're in the same group. When I open one, I can see the other panel opening behind it in this little tab, and I can move back and forth. I also like taking this whole group and moving it by dragging this little dotted line up here, dragging that at up to the very top. And when I do that it shows up at the top, and the reason I do that is because first of all oftentimes my Paragraph Styles panel is very long and secondly, I use the Paragraph Styles and Character Styles a lot.
So I like having them at the top of the list. It's easier for my eye to get to it. But you could do it anyway you want. Next I open other panels that I commonly use, for example, I'll go to the Window menu, come down to Utilities, and choose Scripts. I happen to use scripts a lot, so I want that panel available to me at all times. I'm going to drag this little tab right out of this panel group, and drag it over into my doc. I'll wait until I see that little blue line, and when I let go you'll see that it creates a new panel group and puts the panel in there. Now I'll close this panel group, because I don't use those very often.
Let me show you a couple of other tricks to help you manage your panels. First I'll open the Align panel. That opens up this panel group with both Align and Pathfinder. I can separate these two panels by dragging one tab right out of the group. And now I can combine them in a different way. I'm going to grab this little tab at the top, drag it down, until I see a blue line. If I go too far, the blue line goes away and they simply snap next to each other, but if I see that little blue line at the bottom and the bottom panel kind of fades out little bit.
When I let go of the mouse button, these become two panels that act as one. As I drag the tab around, they both move around. If I Collapse to Icons, they both Collapse to Icons. So I find that very handy, in some situations to have panels that will always open and close together in that configuration. I'll go ahead and close that, and I'm going to go ahead and close his Paragraph Styles panel as well by clicking on the Panel Name over here in the dock. And now I like maximizing my screen real estate. I like to have as much room as possible to focus on the document, not the panels.
So I'm going to place my cursor over the left edge of this doc, and I'm going to drag it over to the right, and you can see as I'm dragging, the panel names get smaller until they get truncated. And then if I keep dragging, they clip down all the way to just icons. This is the way I like working with my panels in InDesign. I'm going to maximize the screen real estate for my document, and minimize the amount of space at the panels take up. After all, I know that this is the Pages Panel icon, so I don't have to see the name.
I know this is the Layers icon. I don't need to see the name and so on and I like that I can simply click on that icon to open and close it. Okay, now here's the important part. Once you set up your panels just the way you want them, don't forget to save your own custom workspace. I'll come up her to the Window menu, choose Workspace and then choose New Workspace. I'm going to give it a name, just call this David's Workspace, there you go, and then I'll click Ok. And suddenly up here in that Application menu, there's my workspace and in the Window Workspace submenu, there's my workspace.
So I can always get back to it. I encourage you to make not just one workspace but several. Make one perhaps, that's just for working on Print Documents and a different one that's for Interactive Documents. Whatever you want, remember what I like to call Blatner's first rule of publishing. Take the time now to set things up right and you'll save so much more time later when you're laying out your pages.
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