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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 want to go through some of the known culprits for slowing down InDesign, and give you some tips on some little-known preferences that you can turn off or adjust to speed up how InDesign is running. Now first of all, let's go through some of the basics. You need to have enough RAM. InDesign is a memory hog, it does a lot of complicated things. The Paragraph Composer alone needs a lot of memory to figure out how to do the line breaks every time you click inside there and make some letter bold or not.
Check the amount of ram that you have on a Macintosh, I can just go right underneath the apple. Go down to About This Mac. This one has six gigs of RAM. That's pretty decent. You want to have at least two gigs. I usually recommend four gigs minimum, two gigs just for InDesign, two gigs for everything else. You also want to have enough hard drive space. The rule of thumb is to have at least 10% free of your hard drive, so if you have a. 500 gig hard drive, you want to have at least 50 gigs free, open to you. If one particular document is slow, but the rest of your documents are pretty fine, then do the usual trouble shooting of those documents.
Number one, do a Save As. Go to File. Choose Save As. Give it a new name. Replace the existing one if you want, or write it somewhere else. That gets rid of a lot of crud that's internal to the document. Another similar kind of, maneuver you can do in addition to the Save As, that will really clear out some crud that may be slowing things down like. Internal corruption that InDesign's trying to work around, is to export this file to IBML. So, just go down to the Export menu. Choose IDML, InDesign markup.
Export it out to the desktop, wherever you'd like. Save it, and then you open up that IDML right back in InDesign. It opens up as an untitled document. But all of your. Images and text is intact, and very often, you'll find that the file is a lot smaller and it works better. Those are the default kind of troubleshooting things you do to a particular InDesign document. Now let's move to some things that you can change in InDesign itself to speed up. I've actually configured this document that we're looking at to act slowly as possible, though it's not going to happen, because this is a fast computer with six gigs of RAM.
But let's go through and turn off some of the things that are slowing it down. First of all, did you notice that Overprint Preview is on? Overprint Preview gives you the most accurate rendition on screen of what this thing is going to look like when it's printed out, but it definitely slows down the screen redraw. And you may have plenty of RAM in your computer, but not a lot of RAM on your graphics card. So if that is the case, then you really want to speed up how InDesign shows you stuff in Layout mode. To turn off Overprint Preview, go to View menu and turn it off.
Now it is off normally by default, the only time it turns on in the background is if you say open up Separations Preview, Overprint Preview turns on. I have run into some people who like to Overprint Preview turned on all the time, and that could slow down your machine, so turn that off, you'll see a different preview immediately. And another thing to turn off up here under View is Proof Colors. Right now we have Proof Colors turned on because we want to see what this looks like as CYMK. Even though we're using RGB images on an RGB monitor.
That's a cool feature, but it's not something you should be working with on all the time. That's something that you check every once in a while or toward the end of a production cycle. So, turn off Proof Colors as well. Another big deal one is down here. Do you see where it says one error? That's because there's some over-set text some place. You want to turn off Preflight, if you aren't really using the feature. Live Preflight checks your document constantly. Live, that's why its called Live, for any errors like over-set text, missing fonts, missing images.
And every time that you add new text, or bring in another image, it constantly refreshes itself. So if you simply click on the down arrow right here, and turn off Preflight documents, this will speed up a lot of computers immensely when you're working with InDesign. Now let's look at preferences, go to InDesign > Preferences > General, on a PC that would be under the Edit menu. And starting at the top, in Interface, down here under Options, this user has set that when they use the hand tool, that they should get the highest quality of images as their panning the screen around.
If you want it to move a little faster, move it away from higher quality and we'll snap back to high quality when you're done panning. And instead it will Greek the images as you're dragging, or it'll Greek both images and text as you're dragging. Same thing here under Live Screen Drawing, that means that as you are scrolling from like, page to page, sometimes you might see it stutter and stop a couple times, that's because. It's trying to re-image every image at each new location as you're scrolling. That's a feature, not a bug. You might want to turn it on to Delayed, which gives the system a little break or even say Never. And let me, let me show you what that is.
When I turn on Never, that means when I drag this item, you see how it just moves a box, and then it's not until I release it. That it pops over there. Let's undo and go back to Preferences, and that was under Interface. And if I say Immediate, and try again. As I drag to see how it comes with. So that can slow down the system, it's slowing down a little bit, even as I'm dragging. You can imagine how much it slows down as you scroll from page to page. So let's go back to Interface, Delayed is a nice happy medium.
And here's something you can turn on if you like, Greek Vector Graphics on Drag. So if your system is really slow, you can have it so that not only will it Greek text like how Greek is how just showing gray lines. It will Greek vector graphics as you drag them around rather than trying to show you what they look like as a live screen preview. On my own system, what takes forever is opening up the Font menu. So, one of the things that you might want to consider if this is happening to you as well is going to the Type panel in Preferences and turning off the font preview.
Do you need a font preview? Do you need to see the word, sample, in every single typeface that's on your system? No. So just turn off font preview. That will speed things up, too. Finally, the last place that you want to look in Preferences, the Big Kahuna, is this guy right here, Display Performance. Select that. If you have View Settings at High Quality. That means that InDesign is trying to show you 300 ppi previews of all your raster images, of all your transparency effects, of all your vector graphics.
Why leave it there? Why not change it to Typical. Now Typical, this user, me, I've actually kept it at Typical here under Default View, but my Typical I dragged all the way to the right. But Typical should be right here for all three of these. This will speed up your computer a lot if you move them down here. If you have a really slow as molasses computer, you might want to change this to Fast, images. Unless you select them, they're actually grayed out. There's a big image here, there's a big image there.
Do you need to see those images all the time? No, of course not, especially if, maybe you only have like 800K of RAM or something, but Typical is how the system ships. Double check your settings for display performance. I usually keep Greek Type Below at 1 or 2 or even 0. If you have it at 0. Then your type, no matter how much you're zoomed out, is still trying to draw the individual letter forms, even though there's no possible way you could read them. And that is why Greek Type, under Display Performance, is usually set at a certain amount like 2 points.
That means you'll still be able to see the letter forms when you want to. But at some point when it gets ridiculous as you zoom out, they're going to turn into gray bars that just tell you where the line endings are. That makes sense. If you have a slow computer though, you want to go the opposite way, and you want to increase the Greek Type Below measure. So Greek type below maybe 12. And this just shows you the line endings and the indents for paragraphs and space above and space below. When you zoom in and the type gets larger than 12 point, then you actually see the text.
And hopefully, some of these tips will help you speed up your own copy of InDesign and make your work go much more smoothly.
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