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One of my absolutely top favorite new features in InDesign CS5 is the addition of the Mini Bridge panel. Now I am a big Bridge fan, you know that's Adobe Bridge, the free hub application that comes with the Creative Suite, but it is kind of a pain to have to always have to bop back and forth between Bridge and InDesign, even when it's in its little tiny floating window. Well, Adobe got the hint and they have created a new panel, so it's completely integrated into InDesign. It's not part of any workspace so you're going to want to go to the Window menu and choose it: Mini Bridge; it's not one word.
There is a little space in between them. I think it's so cute; like Mini me, alright. It opens up to kind of a strange little screen. It seems kind of empty like they forgot some stuff. There is nothing really exciting here. You can click Browse Files to start getting the little panels, but my favorite way of actually getting to Mini Bridge is typically I have a document open and I want to see the other files in that folder. So, at the bottom of the document window, you can click this little pop-up status bar that says Reveal in Finder. It still says Reveal in Bridge but now we also have Reveal in Mini Bridge and you will see that Reveal in Mini Bridge in various right-click menus throughout the program.
So when I choose Reveal in Mini Bridge, Mini Bridge automatically goes directly to this layout and shows me the hierarchy of the folder that contains the layout. So, obviously you are going to want to increase the screen a bit and let's just get a little tour of it. At the top we have the Interactive Path bar that shows the hierarchy of files and folders and inside this 01_ Minibridge folder, we see the content. So inside that folder we have another folder, we have a couple InDesign files and we have a snippets folder that I created.
If I want to see what else is in the Ch02 folder, I could just click Ch2. So, in this way, it works just like Bridge does. You can just double-click folders to drill down and you know, click up here to go up. You can also use this menu up over here that shows you the current hierarchy of where you are, or shows you recent folders, or any of your favorites. Now, these Favorites are Bridge Favorites and Bridge and Mini Bridge stay synced as far as favorites are concerned. This is especially useful I think for Windows users who don't really get much of a chance to customize the little sidebar that's in their File and Save As dialog boxes, not as much as Mac users do.
So, if there are, you know, certain folders on your hard drive or on your server that you are constantly going into, while you're working in InDesign, why not just open up Mini Bridge and add them to your favorites? So let's just say, for example, that I want to add Exercise Files to my favorites. I will just select Exercise Files and go up one more level so that I see Exercise Files here. And then I can right-click and choose Add to Favorites. And now they'll appear here in my Favorites panel. So up over here, we have the Navigation panel and the Content panel.
Navigation has your Bridge favorites, recent folders and files and any collections that you have saved, or created in Bridge and that's a topic for another video. But basically they're just like saved searches, is what a collection is. You cannot create collections in Mini Bridge. You can only do that in that in the big Bridge. Now if I want to get rid of a Favorite, I can just right click on one of the existing Favorites like for example, I never go into the Pictures folder, so I'm going to right click on here and choose Remove from Favorites. That does not mean that I will never be able to get there? I mean I could always get to any file or folder on my hard-drive from within Mini Bridge just like I can from Bridge just by going to, starting with computer and drilling down all the way to where I need to go.
If I had more than one hard-drive, hooked up here or a server and so on, they would all appear here in the Content panel. But I'm going to go back to Recent Folders, which was my Mini Bridge folder. You should know that as soon as you open that Mini Bridge and click the Browse button, what happens in the background is that InDesign opens up Bridge. Because Mini Bridge is kind of showing you a lot of processing power that Bridge is doing in the background. You'll see that if you ever quit Bridge, Mini Bridge will give you a little alert, saying that it can't really show you stuff because Bridge isn't running.
So there is little bit of magic happening in the background. But one interesting thing is that you can just click right here on Bridge to go to Adobe Bridge and you can see for yourself that the Favorites in Bridge are synchronized with the ones in the Mini Bridge. So let's say that you jump to Adobe Bridge to do something that you can only do in Bridge, like for example, one thing that you can only in Bridge is add metadata and keywords. You can't do that in Mini Bridge unfortunately, also like you can't add folders in Mini Bridge. You can in regular Bridge.
If I right-click I can choose New Folder but if I switch back, if I click File, return to Adobe InDesign and I right-click here in the Content folder, you see there is no new folder. So you're probably going to be bouncing back and forth on occasion. Let me show you a great tip for that. Let's say that we go back to Bridge and let's say that I'm navigating elsewhere here, like I'll go up to Ch02 and I will go to Exercise Files and look inside one of the folders of something that we've already covered, so like say Auto-fit, if you go back to InDesign at this point, just using an application switcher, like I am going to press Command+Tab, here or you press Alt+Tab on a PC, you can see that Mini Bridge doesn't match. It's remembering its last view.
If you do stuff in Bridge and you want Mini Bridge to reflect the view that you have in Bridge, then instead of just using the application switcher, use the keyboard shortcut or the menu command Return to Adobe InDesign. Now of course, if you had come here from say Photoshop which also has a Mini Bridge, it would say Return to Adobe Photoshop but we're just going to say Return to Adobe InDesign and you see that it automatically syncs. So, that is a cool, cool tip that you should know about. Now, you may be wondering by the way, what is this little icon on the sides of some of these InDesign documents? Well, actually it's on every InDesign document that was created in CS5.
This is a new feature that is supported, in both Bridge and Mini Bridge and it actually can find all the linked files. That means that there are files linked to this layout. So if I right-click on this layout in Mini Bridge or in Bridge, I'll see a command that says Show Linked Files and I'll immediately get little thumbnails of all of the files that were linked or placed into that InDesign file. And you can see that it has created something called Linked files of; it's kind of like a little temporary collection.
And I just love that feature because it's so often that I want to reuse a picture or bring in a logo, from a project that I did and I have no clue what the file name was, right. Not too sure where I stored it either. So, instead I'll just go to the document that I know I placed it in, and then I can right-click, and what's also beautiful is that here in one window, are all these files and I may have linked to them from all sort of different folders, right. But I don't need to worry about all the different folders they've been scattered in. And if I drag-and-drop one of these files right into my layout, which is the main reason you use Mini Bridge is actually to bring in assets.
Oh, that's kind of big; let me undo that. Instead I'll just drag out; there we go. It actually links to the original file that you have no clue where it is. But instead Mini Bridge helped you out with that. And let's go back to this documents folder. Again I'm going to use my little shortcut saying Reveal in Mini Bridge to quickly jump over here. Let me show you another cool tip. There is a third panel that you can choose to open, the Preview Pod, alright. If you select it, you will see a preview, a larger preview, depending on how you resize these guys, of the selected elements, so I have double-clicked to drill down.
Here is a good example. So, it's just like in Bridge where you have different sized thumbnails. You might have you know, hundreds of images in a folder. So you're only looking at tiny little thumbnails and you can use Bridge's Preview Pod to see a larger version of that. But what Preview does not show you is anything more than a preview of the first page of an InDesign file. So you may be thinking well what's the big deal? You know there is nothing exciting about that, but let me show you. If we jump to Bridge from here, look over here in Bridges preview.
It's saying that there are two pages that can be previewed. So even better than that, let me back up a bit. Here we have a complete eight or ten-page catalog. It's called Final 2 and though it only shows two pages, we can have Bridge show us all of the pages. So, how is that done? Let me show you this new feature. It's kind of quiet. I'm going to double-click this to open it up in InDesign. If you open up any document in InDesign and then go to Preferences > File Handling, then you'll see there's this new feature about when you save InDesign files, how many pages should be saved as a preview? You probably already know that in earlier versions of Bridge, you could see every single page of a template.
But Adobe never turned that on for InDesign files or actual working files, because they said that just increases the size of the InDesign document, to embed all those previews. But users were like, we don't care, we have huge hard-drives, we want to see them. So, the default is that whenever you save an InDesign document in CS5, it will save a preview of the first two pages. And that is what you will see in Bridge. But you could say All Pages if you want. You can also change the size of the Preview, so you could have a monstrously large preview. Just keep in mind that turning on All Pages with an extra-large preview size will greatly increase the size of your InDesign files.
I think that what I'm going to do is keep it on All Pages because I like that, but a Medium Preview is enough. And then click OK. One of the last cool features I want to show you about Mini Bridge is how great it is to work with Snippets. So you saw that I created a folder here already called Snippets. I don't need this Preview panel, so I'm going to close it, and resize this guy. You see how the panels kind of resize themselves, re-arrange themselves as you drag its size. So I made a folder called Snippets and I did that in Bridge or I did that in the Finder.
You can't do that in Mini Bridge. So I'm going to this up and then I'll just drag-and-drop a Snippet right in here. Now this is exactly the same as how it works with Bridge, and that Bridge is so perfect with snippets in that it shows you a preview of what a snippet is. So, I can just drag-and-drop, a selection of items from my InDesign document, directly into Mini Bridge and I see the preview here. So I can rename it. Yeah, we can rename files. So I'll call this Picture and Caption placeholder.
So if I created a new document, let's say that I'm over here, I want to bring in this element. I can just drag-and-drop it right from Bridge into my InDesign document, and I'm able to place the Snippet and either replace the text and picture with something else, but maintain the styling, or just reuse the same element, like let's say a display ad in various publications. Snippets has been a feature of InDesign for a number of versions. It's only in Bridge though that you can actually preview the Snippet, which is useful, but still because Bridge was a completely different program people really didn't use it to its fullest extent.
And now that you can just drag-and-drop them right into Mini Bridge, I think we'll see a lot more people using Snippets. So, like a Library item that's not tied to a Library, I can use a Snippet as a placeholder for Object Styles and Character Styles and Paragraph Styles, or I can just reuse the same bit of InDesign artwork in multiple publications. Like let's say for example, display ads in different magazines. Snippets has been a feature in InDesign for a number of versions, but, because we now have Mini Bridge as an integrated panel, I think they are going to be a lot more useful.
By the way, because Mini Bridge is not included as one of the workspaces, whenever you rebuild your Preferences, you will see that Mini Bridge is going to be its normal small size. The Favorites will still be maintained but I like to keep Mini Bridge at this configuration at this size. So one suggestion is to dock it in your panel dock and then save this as a custom workspace. So, as long as you save it as a custom workspace, then from then on every time that you open up Mini Bridge, it'll be that same size, which is pretty useful.
So when you really start working with InDesign CS5, don't forget that there is this cool new panel. It's not part of any of the default workspaces. Make sure that you get to the Window menu and open up Mini Bridge and see how much time it saves you in working with any kind of InDesign file.
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