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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.
I resented this when I first started working with InDesign so many years ago, and I resent it to this day. When you choose show gradient swatches, this little neglected icon button thing, at the bottom of the Swatches panel, what does it show you? There are no default gradient swatches. Why? There's default color swatches. It automatically defaults to show you all, as though there are actually gradient swatches mixed in here. I mean, there is a fake gradient swatch if you drag out a rectangle.
And then you come down here to the fill Flyout Menu. And you choose Apply gradient. But it doesn't even appear here, doesn't even say, white to black or anything like that. Now instead, you have to go to the Gradient panel, and you have to create your own gradient by hand. Or go to the Swatches panel and go to the Swatches panel menu and choose New Gradient Swatch, and build them here one by one. I have a tip for you. Just grab them from Illustrator. That's what everybody does.
If you have the Creative Suite, any permutation usually that comes with InDesign, you will always have Illustrator. So, I'm going to jump over the Illustrator right now. This is Illustrator CS6. This works with basically any version of Illustrator. If you're still working in CS2. This'll work fine, and I have turned on the application frame, because that's how I like to work, in case Illustrator looks different to you. And I did figure out which one of these was the Swatches panel. And at the bottom of the Swatches panel in more recent versions of Illustrator, the past two or three versions, there is a Drop down menu for the libraries.
These are color libraries that come with Illustrator, what you want to do is go down to the one that says Gradients. And look at all these wonderful gradients, like let's try metals that's always very cool. And here is the library for metals, so I'm going to drag out a rectangle and we'll fill it with gold. And now I'm going to duplicate this. I'm just going to Option+drag one and then Cmd+Ctrl+ddd to do it again and we'll grab a few more of these like that. How do we get thee over to InDesign? Well if you are thinking, oh yes, well the official way is that you would go to the Swatches panel.
And then you would save this swatch library as ASE. Oh no wait, first you should Shift click all these colors. Like that. And then go save it as an ASE, but if you try to do that, and we'll save it on the desktop. Swatches containing gradients are not currently exchangeable. So you cannot save gradients in an Adobe swatch exchange, or ASE file. Instead, just do this. Select all these guys. Copy it. Jump over to InDesign, get rid of you, and paste.
They all come in. You can use these gradients as much as you'd like in this document. And if we click, they come in as group, by the way, so I'm going to ungroup them. And you can make any other shape. Let's make a crazy shape with our friend, the Pen tool. Make a blob. We'll fill it with a gradient, beautiful. If you want to edit the gradient, double-click it and there is your gradient ramp and you can go through and edit these as you see fit. And of course you can give it a real name. What if when you create a new document, you want a few default gradients? How do you do that? Just as with any other application default in InDesign, you need to get those gradients in there, when no documents are open.
So close this document. When this one though, before I close it I'm going to save it. So I'll choose Save, and save it to desktop. I'll call it, gradients. In fact, even before I save it, I'm going to rename these really quick. So I'll just right-click, choose Swatch Options, this is gold. We'll call this silver. Save it, close it. With no documents open, you need to add gradients to your Swatches panel. Here's show all swatches. Unfortunately, we cannot choose Load Swatches for the ASE file because it won't recognize that but, what it will recognize is that InDesign file.
So save those gradients to an InDesign file. Name them while you're there, why not, and then choose Load Swatches, point to the gradients file you just created. Now they are part of the application defaults. So I would quit out of InDesign at this point and then restart it just to write those changes to the defaults on my hard drive. So that is the sneaky way to get around gradients. Just grab them from Illustrator. Add them to InDesign by copy and paste.
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