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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.
Here is a nice, sweet, innocent looking layout; an academic catalog for an art and graphic design school. Ain't it beautiful? Do you want to see something scary? Are you ready? Are you sitting down? Watch, I am going to open up the Links panel. (gasps) If I had a sound effect I'd put like a Hitchcock screaming woman here. I hate it! This is one of the things I really hate about working with any kind of layout program because you always have to obsess about the state of the outside original files that you have linked to in this InDesign file.
I hate seeing these horrible little icons saying missing image. And by the way, if you don't see this when you have a missing link in your InDesign file it's because you're not using CS6 yet. This is actually a very cool feature from CS6 is that it tells you which links are out of date and which links are missing right on the object. You don't always have to keep opening up the Links panel. But I'm not really talking about you know where the cool little stop signs are. I'm talking about this horrible situation in general. Now this can happen if you have done a Save As and you've moved your InDesign document elsewhere, or much more frequently it happens if you rename any of these images, or move them around to a place were InDesign can't find them.
When you open up InDesign, it's constantly looking for where the original files are and if it can't find them it does this. And you can still work, but of course if you print or you Export to PDF, you're going to get low-res versions of these, just the screen previews. So let me tell you about what I do to avoid this whenever I can. I embed my images before I lose them. Check this out. I have a version of the catalog with all of the links embedded. But it's just like the other catalog, but when we open up the Links panel, ah, see? If I could I'd play Vivaldi's Spring from the Four Seasons here.
It's beautiful! No missing stop signs. If I go to Normal view we don't see any ugly stop signs on any of these. It's the same exact catalog. How did I end up with this? I just selected the links and I embedded them. You can select any link, like over here I think we have at least--don't we have one link that works? Yeah, the Photoshop file here. I am going to jump to page 1. This right here is actually--it's found. While a link is healthy, after you place it, all you do is you go to the Links panel menu and with that link selected here and you choose Embed Link.
What does that do? It actually sucks in the entire outside file and save it within the InDesign file. You can imagine like the InDesign file becomes a zip file, and anything that you embed is completely encased in that in InDesign file. It travels with the InDesign file. It's like an editable PDF. Now it does increase the size of the InDesign file and increases the size of that image. So if you have a catalog full of high-res images your InDesign file is going to get pretty large.
I'm going to Undo the embedding here, I just press Command+Z, and let's look at the comparison of these two files; one that has links to images and it doesn't make any difference file size wise if the links are missing or not, and one that has all of these links embedded. So we'll come over here and look in my folder. So the one that does not have anything embedded is 9.7 megabytes, the one that has everything embedded is 272 megabytes; about a quarter of a gig, so it's kind of big.
Now in this kind of a document I would not embed these high-res images, but I embed all the time for files that we use in-house, like my training manuals that I give to students, when I place screenshots in them, I'll just embed those. Because I don't want to keep track of all the screenshots and you know constantly have them in a links folder and constantly make sure they're not missing or not renamed. I just simply save them and you know a screenshot is only like you know a 5K or 10K. But even so, even if I embedded all these high-res images, what's wrong with a 270 megabyte InDesign file? You know it's not 1993 anymore. Our computers can handle it. Software can handle it.
Now it's not a perfect solution for everything, of course what is? I mean one thing you're going to lose is the ability to get automatically updated if somebody edits this outside of InDesign. If somebody edits the cover in Photoshop and they change the color scheme automatically, I am not going to know about that, because I have this version embedded in the file. It's not linked to any outside file. So that's something to keep in mind. If you've placed the same image into multiple files and some of those files have it embedded and some of them don't, then when you're updating that outside file, some of your InDesign files will get updated and some of them won't.
So the increase in file size and the fact that you don't automatically get updated if people are editing these outside of the InDesign file, those are the two disadvantages. Other than that it is a fantastic solution. Now here is something else interesting, you might be saying, well what if I actually do need to edit this cover? All you do is you unembed it. It's so simple. Just select it and then go to the Links panel and choose Unembed Link. Whenever you Unembed a link, InDesign wants to know if I can find the original files I can just link to that, so in other words, I can sort of undo this embed.
But if you don't have the original files, no problem man. I can create them again. So let's say that I can't find the original PSD file. Maybe I'm a freelancer and you've given this to me and I need to edit this but you didn't send along the original files. How am I going to edit that cover in Photoshop? So when it says, do you want to link to the original files? I'll just no. Where do you want me to save that? Well please save it on the Desktop, okay. And it saves the layered Photoshop file right on the Desktop.
It's the exact sane Photoshop file that it used to be link to. It's not flattened or anything like that. You can embed basically any kind of image file that you can place in InDesign, but you can't embed everything. Down here at the very bottom you can see I have a PDF that I placed; Amazon Candle Publishing Guidelines. And that file is 1.1 MB, it's now the baby file, but you can embed a PDF. However you cannot embed a movie or another InDesign file.
I am going to go ahead and place those two things, which I happen to have queued up, there is an InDesign file and there is a movie and there is the InDesign file, there's the movie. And now if I select the movie and I want embed it, Embed Link doesn't even appear as a choice. Same thing for the InDesign file. If I select the InDesign file which has a picture of an amoeba inside it, if I select the InDesign file and I go to Links panel menu, can't embed it.
Can I embed this guy? No. I have to go back to the original InDesign file and embed it within there. So there are some things you cannot embed, which I don't understand why you can't embed them. What's the problem? But for many types of documents, especially in- house work or documents that just have things like your logo or few graphics, graphics that are final and that really don't need to be edited outside of InDesign anymore, embedding is the way to go.
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