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InDesign Secrets
Illustration by John Hersey

107 Customize your QR codes


From:

InDesign Secrets

with Anne-Marie Concepción and David Blatner

Video: 107 Customize your QR codes

One of the problems with any written language
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  1. 2m 30s
    1. 151 Rotate text inside a frame, or the frame around the text
      2m 30s
  2. 13h 49m
    1. 001 Intro to InDesign Secrets
      51s
    2. 002 The hidden "auto-expand text" feature
      5m 51s
    3. 003 Letting InDesign do the math for you
      3m 15s
    4. 004 The indispensible Quick Apply feature
      5m 29s
    5. 005 Customizing the Links panel
      6m 53s
    6. 006 Magically building graphs with the Chartwell font
      7m 43s
    7. 007 Using the Eyedropper tool to pick up character or paragraph attributes
      3m 21s
    8. 008 Selecting through and into objects using cmd-click and Select Above/Below
      5m 46s
    9. 009 Some great tips and tricks for the Swatches panel
      9m 40s
    10. 010 Saving down for backward compatibility with INX and IDML
      5m 55s
    11. 011 Using the INX and IDML formats to fix problems
      4m 46s
    12. 012 InDesign's Easter eggs
      5m 0s
    13. 013 Three cool GREP styles everyone can use
      7m 35s
    14. 014 A field guide to special characters
      8m 2s
    15. 015 Trashing the application preferences to solve weird behaviors
      4m 42s
    16. 016 Aligning numbered lists by decimal points
      3m 10s
    17. 017 Running a script
      9m 33s
    18. 018 When text disappears from a text frame
      6m 18s
    19. 019 Preview and Presentation modes (changing color, etc.)
      4m 8s
    20. 020 Using multiple windows for comparisons
      3m 35s
    21. 021 Putting images on a stroke
      5m 23s
    22. 022 Making your own motion path
      5m 43s
    23. 023 Copying objects between Illustrator and InDesign
      6m 53s
    24. 024 Using layer comps in Photoshop files to show alternates in InDesign
      4m 19s
    25. 025 Adding custom HTML tags to EPUB/HTML exports
      5m 32s
    26. 026 Tracking down type issues with the composition highlighter
      8m 13s
    27. 027 Managing your InDesign panels
      5m 46s
    28. 028 Creating running heads using variables
      5m 1s
    29. 029 Live Caption tips and tricks
      8m 3s
    30. 030 Making professional drop caps
      10m 37s
    31. 031 Making two-state buttons in interactive documents
      5m 5s
    32. 032 Moving pages from one document to another
      3m 15s
    33. 033 Wrapping bulleted text around a curve
      5m 58s
    34. 034 Importing a custom dictionary
      7m 8s
    35. 035 Changing document orientation and page size
      6m 45s
    36. 036 Numbering instead of using auto page numbers
      6m 23s
    37. 037 Setting story order with the Articles panel
      8m 3s
    38. 038 Updating a linked table without losing formatting
      5m 38s
    39. 039 Creating electronic sticky notes
      4m 49s
    40. 040 Moving master page items to the top layer for visibility
      2m 48s
    41. 041 Five guide tricks that will impress your coworkers
      6m 18s
    42. 042 Letting InDesign add the diacritics
      4m 21s
    43. 043 Using single-cell table cells for custom paragraph formatting
      6m 2s
    44. 044 Formatting fractions correctly
      8m 11s
    45. 045 Fixing unwanted hyperlinks in an imported Word file
      5m 57s
    46. 046 Inline graphic tricks with invisible paragraphs
      4m 21s
    47. 047 Ensuring the first line of every chapter starts in the same spot
      3m 1s
    48. 048 Specifying an exact amount of space between objects
      5m 17s
    49. 049 Fixing last lines that are too short
      8m 16s
    50. 050 Creating web graphics from your InDesign artwork
      7m 20s
    51. 051 Using “No Language” to suppress unwanted hyphenation, spell-checking, and smart quotes
      2m 48s
    52. 052 Five things that should be in every new file
      5m 19s
    53. 053 Forcing EPUB page breaks with invisible objects
      6m 21s
    54. 054 Understanding component information
      6m 39s
    55. 055 Creating running heads using section markers
      4m 16s
    56. 056 Making a font with InDesign using the IndyFont script
      5m 20s
    57. 057 Finding where that color is used
      7m 17s
    58. 058 Text wrapping
      6m 54s
    59. 059 Inserting pages: Understanding the Pages panel
      4m 20s
    60. 060 Copying paths between Illustrator and InDesign
      5m 14s
    61. 061 Automating Find/Change with the Find/ChangeByList script
      12m 48s
    62. 062 Embedding images
      7m 43s
    63. 063 Adjusting leading inside a paragraph
      4m 31s
    64. 064 Placing one InDesign file inside another
      3m 58s
    65. 065 Creating bookmarks for PDFs
      7m 25s
    66. 066 Customizing the story editor preferences
      6m 4s
    67. 067 Setting the size of text exactly with this free script
      3m 28s
    68. 068 Using Gravity to simulate perspective
      3m 15s
    69. 069 Fixing the overflowing text frame problem in EPUBs
      5m 0s
    70. 070 Ten uses of the Story Editor
      11m 39s
    71. 071 Moving an object: Ten ways!
      7m 18s
    72. 072 Understanding optical margin alignment (and the quote trick)
      4m 23s
    73. 073 Changing the shape of any frame with the pen tool
      6m 12s
    74. 074 Working with sets in the content conveyor tool
      10m 40s
    75. 075 Running text along the top and the bottom of a circle
      3m 51s
    76. 076 Creating a list using the Table of Contents feature
      3m 25s
    77. 077 Quickly threading frames together and unthreading frames
      13m 22s
    78. 078 The secrets of formatting objects with Find/Change
      6m 34s
    79. 079 Using ruler guides: 10 great tricks
      5m 3s
    80. 080 Converting a clipping path to a frame
      4m 24s
    81. 081 Adding a drop shadow to a single word inside a frame
      3m 14s
    82. 082 Creating a custom cross-reference format
      13m 53s
    83. 083 Putting different-sized pages on a single spread
      3m 7s
    84. 084 Formatting prices with nested and grep styles
      6m 21s
    85. 085 Checking out the Gridify tricks
      5m 17s
    86. 086 Using Illustrator to create InDesign gradient swatches
      4m 49s
    87. 087 Building a simple grep style to change character size
      3m 45s
    88. 088 Exporting a grayscale PDF
      3m 16s
    89. 089 Three ways to cheat text outside of its frame
      6m 8s
    90. 090 Three great Object Styles for any designer
      8m 1s
    91. 091 Choosing alpha channel image transparency
      2m 25s
    92. 092 Adding and reading metadata for InDesign files
      3m 25s
    93. 093 Adding ALT tags to your images
      6m 59s
    94. 094 How to Place & Link a text frame's text but not its formatting
      7m 4s
    95. 095 Setting the baseline position of a caption
      2m 39s
    96. 096 Managing changing pages with primary text frames
      5m 23s
    97. 097 Secrets of the Info panel
      7m 31s
    98. 098 Surprising ways to do a word count
      5m 29s
    99. 099 Placing an object where you want it with an object style
      6m 18s
    100. 100 Aligning Objects tips and tricks
      5m 10s
    101. 101 Applying corner options to any shape
      2m 17s
    102. 102 Converting footnotes to endnotes with a free script
      4m 49s
    103. 103 Making tab leaders pretty
      4m 18s
    104. 104 Converting text to outlines the right way
      4m 30s
    105. 105 Turning InDesign into a speed demon
      8m 31s
    106. 106 Working with MiniBridge
      5m 45s
    107. 107 Customize your QR codes
      6m 17s
    108. 108 Using the same keyboard shortcut for two different commands with the Context feature
      5m 22s
    109. 109 Making a text highlighter
      3m 33s
    110. 110 Updating an interactive PDF without losing work done in Acrobat
      5m 31s
    111. 111 Adding custom text at the beginning of each line automatically
      4m 0s
    112. 112 Packaging images on the pasteboard
      3m 32s
    113. 113 Automatically updating figure references for books
      6m 9s
    114. 114 Adding Tool Tips to your form fields in InDesign
      3m 21s
    115. 115 Setting poetry, flush left, center on longest line
      3m 54s
    116. 116 Use bookmarks to navigate long documents in production
      4m 57s
    117. 117 Selecting text with the InDesign keyboard dance
      2m 0s
    118. 118 Including a total page count in your page numbers
      6m 19s
    119. 119 Making a custom arrowhead
      5m 37s
    120. 120 Making alternative body text styles for fast typesetting
      5m 4s
    121. 121 Making InDesign patterns with the free PatternMaker
      3m 45s
    122. 122 Creating pull quotes the easy way
      5m 1s
    123. 123 Allow text frame to resize with text
      2m 43s
    124. 124 Mapping Word styles to InDesign styles
      5m 48s
    125. 125 Make two automatically threaded text flows
      3m 37s
    126. 126 Saving for Web in InDesign
      6m 7s
    127. 127 Numbering rows in a table
      5m 10s
    128. 128 Making automatic jump lines
      6m 52s
    129. 129 Turning off allow pages to shuffle in order to separate facing pages
      3m 40s
    130. 130 Dealing with parentheses around text size
      4m 19s
    131. 131 Make a fill in the blank label for contracts and forms
      7m 53s
    132. 132 Changing the shape of polygons and starburst as you draw or afterward
      4m 17s
    133. 133 Contextual text and images that you only want sometimes visible
      4m 55s
    134. 134 Creating nav points in a movie
      4m 31s
    135. 135 Adding effects to your rule above and rule below
      3m 38s
    136. 136 Fitting text to a specific size
      4m 45s
    137. 137 Quick tips for making a small PDF file size
      6m 9s
    138. 138 Sharing presets, workspaces, and custom shortcuts sets
      5m 17s
    139. 139 Making a multi-level numbered list
      5m 17s
    140. 140 Faking bold and italic when the font family doesn’t have one
      5m 2s
    141. 141 Keeping the same scale size when updating or relinking to images
      3m 9s
    142. 142 Inserting glyphs
      6m 42s
    143. 143 Building richer, bolder color gradients
      3m 7s
    144. 144 Finding the right font with InDesign’s font menus
      4m 35s
    145. 145 Lay out a front, back and spine for a book jacket
      6m 12s
    146. 146 Ghosting area of image behind text
      2m 53s
    147. 147 Make a transparency mask in InDesign
      3m 45s
    148. 148 Using preflight to find common document errors
      6m 11s
    149. 149 Cropping with paste into
      5m 18s
    150. 150 Using vertical justification to spread out text in a frame automatically
      5m 16s

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InDesign Secrets
13h 51m Intermediate Aug 25, 2011 Updated Jul 17, 2014

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

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.

Subject:
Design
Software:
InDesign
Authors:
Anne-Marie Concepción David Blatner

107 Customize your QR codes

One of the problems with any written language like English is that you can't put very much of it in a small space without it getting all jumbled up and difficult to read. That's why they say a picture is worth a 1000 words, but pictures are not very good at relating precise information, like a long email address. Fortunately, InDesign lets you create QR codes. A kind of barcode which lets you encode a lot of precise information in, well, a picture. To make a QR code in InDesign, simply head up to the Object menu and choose Generate QR Code.

Next, choose what type of QR code you're trying to create, here in the type popup menu. You could choose a web hyperlink like a URL, or just type some plain text, a text message that actually sends a message like a SMS message in your cell phone, send an email, or encode an entire business card. But in this case, we're going to stick with a web hyperlink. And I'm gonnna to type, http://. Or, I'll just type lynda.com. There we go. Click OK, and InDesign loads my QR code up onto my place cursor. Now all I have to do is click or click and drag.

InDesign creates a graphic frame and puts the graphic of my barcode inside that frame. If I need to change this barcode later, all I have to do is have it selected on the page, go back to my Object menu and choose Edit QR Code. For example, we might want to change its color. I'll click the Color tab at the top, and you can see that you can choose any one of your color swatches. The only rule you need to pay attention to when it comes to applying color, is that you want high contrast. QR scanner apps on a cell phone or a mobile device rely on high contrast. So you probably wouldn't want yellow on a white background.

Just not enough contrast. You want a nice dark color on a light background, or a nice light color on a dark background. I'll click OK, and you'll see that now it's set to blue. But that's still a little bit boring. What if we want to spice it up a little bit, really make it eye catching? Well, you can do that if you convert it into actual editable objects. And to do that I'm going to use Illustrator. I'm going to double-click on this graphic frame to select the image inside the frame. And then I'm going to copy it to the clip board with the Cmd or Ctrl+C, then I'm going to switch over to Illustrator, and I'm going to paste it with a Cmd+V or Ctrl+V on Windows.

And you'll see that this graphic is now represented by lots and lots of little squares and rectangles. I'll click out here in the blank area, and I can see each one of those rectangles and squares because I'm in outline mode. You can turn that on and off in Illustrator by going to the View menu and choosing Preview or Outline. I like seeing things in outline mode because I know exactly what I have. Now that they are all individual objects, I'm going to select all of them again by pressing Cmd+A or Ctrl+A on Windows. Copy them to the clipboard, switch back to InDesign and I'm going to paste them in here. But before I do, I'm going to move this object off to the clipboard.

I'll double-click again to select the frame itself, and then I'm going to move this off to the paste board because I don't need it right now, but I might need it later. So just in case, I like saving it. Now I'll deselect everything and paste. All of those objects are now pasted inside InDesign. I'll zoom into 200% by pressing Cmd+2, or Ctrl+2 on Windows. And we can really see this barcode clearly now. So instead of a plain blue background, I want to put a gradient in here. To do that, I'm going to come up to the Control panel and click on the Fill icon button, and then I'm going to choose, from the Panel menu, New Gradient Swatch.

And I'm going to make a new gradient swatch that's going to go from blue to purple. I'll just type in the name here. Say, it's going to go from, let's say 100% cyan, and then I'll click on this color stop down here. Set this to a different CMYK value, pull out all the black. And instead, I'm going to make this go from 100% cyan and 100% magenta, kind of a purple color. And then click OK. You'll see that not only did it make that color swatch, but it applied it to each and every one of the selected objects. All those little rectangles and squares. That's kind of an interesting effect, but I'd rather have the swatch go across the entire QR Code.

So, to do that, while this group is still selected, I'm going to choose the Gradient tool and then I'm going to drag over this. And I'm just going to drag from the bottom to the top. And you'll see that now that one gradient is going across the entire group of objects, from blue to purple, or purple to blue, however you look at it. Now that's clearly a lot more dramatic. Much more eye catching. But we can do even more. For example, I'll go to the Object menu and choose Ungroup. Now, we have all of those separate little objects. And they're not grouped together anymore. Then I'll go back to the Object menu and I will Convert Shape and then Ellipse.

Now, each one of those rectangles or squares is in oval or a circle. But you know what? QR scanners still read it. It's still a valid QR code. Isn't that cool? Let me undo that with a Cmd+Z or Ctrl+Z on Windows, and I'm going to show you a couple more things that you could do. Instead of using a gradient inside of here, I'm going to place a picture. And to do that, I'll go back to the Object menu, choose Pathfinder and then choose Add. What that does is it takes all of those separate objects and it combines them into a single path. This path is called a compound path.

And once you have a compound path like this in InDesign, you can put things inside of it, like a another picture. So I'll go to the File menu and choose Place, and then choose a picture from my list of links here. This looks like a nice one. Click Open, and it places that picture inside that frame. Once again the rule is, as long as you have high contrast, the QR Scanner app is going to be able to read it. The last thing I'm going to do here is place a graphic in the middle of the QR code. I'm actually going to obstruct part of the QR code. I'll go to my Selection tool. Go to my File menu and choose Place.

Now I'll choose a graphic, I'm going to choose the spiral graphic at the bottom here. And I'm not going to replace the selected item, I want a new graphic frame. And I'm simply going to click and drag right in the middle of this. Then I'l fill this with a color, maybe paper, there we go. I can center this on top of my QR code, and you'll see that I've obstructed part of the QR code, but you know what, it's okay. Because there's redundancy built into the QR code so that even if you cover up part of it, it still works. You can't cover up too much though. Probably no more than the size of one of these squares in the corner.

In fact, this might be a little bit too large, so I'm going to come in here and scale this down with Cmd+Option+Shift+Drag, or Ctrl+Alt+Shift+Drag on Windows. As long as its small and you're not covering up too much of it, the QR scanner app can still read it. In fact, the most important rule of all when making QR codes of any kind, is to test them. The more you change the barcode, the more difficult it will be for the scanner to get the message. But little changes work great, and all the changes I've made to these codes work great in all the scanner apps that I've tried.

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