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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.
Adobe giveth and Adobe taketh away. Sometimes Adobe giveth too much, and such is the case with some EPUB features in InDesign CS6. Now this is just an issue that affects CS6 users. Let me show you the issue and then show you the fix. So the document that I will be using is a very short ten page book, so you can see the cover, title page, and some text. The bad boy here is this guy.
Let's zoom in. It's a pull quote. It's an anchor text frame. Looks to be nice. Now what is wonderful, what Adobe have giveth us in CS6 is the new ability to retain a lot of the formatting of anchor text frames. Before when we export this to EPUB, InDesign would just make this into another paragraph and it would put tags around it so that you can edit the CSS file to make a purple background and you know, a certain width and height, and so on, but you don't always have to redo the work.
And now in CS6, when you export a file to EPUB, InDesign retains a lot of the attributes of these anchored text frames, such as if the text frame has a stroke and how wide that stroke is, if there is a background color, so on. But it does a little too much so let's see what happens. I'll export this to EPUB from File > Export > EPUB and we are just going to use a very simple TOC Style, everything else here is the same.
The images are at the default. We are going to split the document at the Chapter Number, so we get a new HTML document when this chapter starts here, and that's it. So let's say OK. It opens up in Adobe Digital Editions which does not know how to properly size a cover image, so I am going to go into small. Okay so there is our cover, I don't know why it's looking like that, but that's what it is. The title page, Chapter 1, and you might be saying, what's wrong? Well, other than the fact that it's left-aligned, well right.
It's still not smart enough to keep this center aligned but that's an entirely different topic. Looks fine right, but what happens when I resize the type as of course most readers wont to do because that's one of the features of an EPUB. If I go to Medium--whoa what is happening here? Why is the text over flowing? And if I went to Large it would be even worse. Well actually it's not that bad but Medium was bad. Let's go back to Medium. There you go. The problem is that in the CSS file that governs the formatting, InDesign included the width and the height of this text frame in pixels.
Not thinking that many users will be resizing the type itself so that when you resize the type, it doesn't automatically resize the frame that contains the type. That is the problem. It was not an issue before because people who are doing the CSS would never set a height for the pull quote, or the side bar, or whatever it is that they are anchoring inside the text stream. Now here is how to fix in CS6. Select any kind of anchored text frame, and then go to Text Frame Options, our friend Command+B or Ctrl+B, go to Auto-Size, which is a new CS6 feature, and turn Auto-Sizing on for any anchored text frames.
Just Height Only, right, we don't want it to grow width wise, Height Only and anchored at the top. Here is little preview, so that it won't move, hopefully it won't adjust. If you had a bunch of extra space underneath here, then you might see it snap up. But because it's fitting perfectly, it's not changing in size at all. That's all you do. Now by turning on Height Only Auto-Size, when you export this to CSS, InDesign will set the height of this frame to Auto. So that as the user resizes the type, the frame will also resize in height.
Let's say OK and export this to EPUB. We will replace the existing one, same settings, and make this small, there is the Small, let's make this Medium and there you can see that it resized itself, and it does so for any size that you make the type. So there is the feature, the fact that it retains a lot of this formatting and there is the fix for the feature; how to make it not retain some of that formatting, like the height. Use our friend Auto-Size and turn it on to Height Only, and you know what? You might as well include it in Object style for your anchored text frames because you can include that setting in an Objects style.
Take a quick peek, here Object Style, Auto-Size options, Height Only. So you could call this pull quote and apply it to any anchored text frame, so you don't have to keep opening up different dialog boxes. There you go.
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