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Like other page layout applications, InDesign allows users to control the appearance of every element on a page. It helps format elements with style sheets, which collect formatting attributes for easy replication. But that's where the similarities end. InDesign CS3 One-on-One: Style Sheets demonstrates why InDesign's style sheets are far more powerful than anything found in any other page layout program. Pioneering electronic publisher and author Deke McClelland goes to the heart of InDesign's style sheets, and discusses how they define and guide just about every other program feature. He covers how to format words, paragraphs, whole frames, objects, tables, and even entire stories with a single click. Exercise files accompany the course.
Download Deke's customized keyboard layouts for InDesign Style Sheets from the Exercise Files tab.
Let's end our discussion of the Eyedropper tool with a couple of FYIs. First of all, you have to be very careful how an object is selected when you use the Eyedropper tool. For example, let's say I grab my black arrow tool right here, which is a tool that InDesign calls the Selection tool. I call it the black arrow tool because after all it is a black arrow. So let's say, I go ahead and grab the black arrow tool and I click on my text frame in order to select that frame. That's going to tell the Eyedropper tool to format that entire frame. Let me show you. I'll go ahead and grab the Eyedropper tool at this point, which I could do now by pressing the I key because after all no text is selected, and then I'll click inside of this red text right here and notice that I now format that entire text frame with red and that's because the frame was selected.
If I didn't want to do that, which of course I don't, then I go ahead and press Ctrl+Z, Command+Z on the Mac and then I would press Ctrl+Shift+A or Command+Shift+A on the Mac, which allows you to deselect everything on a page and then with my cursor still loaded here, I would go ahead and let's say double click and drag across some text in order to format just that text. Alright, now the Eyedropper tool, the second FYI that I want to pass along is that the Eyedropper tool works best, works most reliably when you use it when you lift formatting attributes from native objects, that is text and graphics that were created inside of InDesign.
When you try to lift attributes from a graphic that's been placed into InDesign, you get weird results, you get a different result anyway. For example, notice this cartoon right here. This cartoon frog which happens to be a dead frog, by the way; I created this illustration inside of Adobe Illustrator as a vector graphic and then placed it into InDesign and we are seeing a high-resolution version of the illustration incidentally because I have my View settings. If I go up to the View menu and choose Display Performance, you can see I have got my View settings set to High Quality Display.
Just note that for a second. Now you might want to set yours to High Quality Display as well because you are going to get the best results on screen. I'll go ahead and escape out of that menu. Alright, so now let's say I Alt-click or Option-click on the frog's flesh in order to lift that shade of green. Notice that I get this error message; it tells me that the image is a vector graphic. Fine, fair enough. The Eyedropper values are going to be based on a low resolution RGB proxy. Well that's terrible news for two reasons. First of all this illustration is a CMYK graphic; it doesn't have any RGB values so any RGB values, by definition, are going to be wrong to some extent or another.
They are going to be rough approximations anyway. They are based on a low resolution proxy; let me show you what that low resolution proxy is. Now, I wouldn't say do not turn on the Don't Show Again check box because this is a very important warning something that you may forget in the future. So I would just say okay, good to know and let's go ahead and check out what that low resolution proxy looks like because after all look, I just lifted gray. You may have lifted a shade of green but I lifted gray, which is totally wrong of course. But if I go up to the View menu and I choose Display Performance and I choose Typical Display, this is what I just lifted.
I lifted a color from this garbage-y view of the illustration right there and you can see that there is a bunch of gray pixels and a bunch of green pixels and all kind of dithering going on; that's what this is called when you have this random jumbling of pixels that are designed to sort of simulate a color when viewed from afar. In my case, I wouldn't have lifted one of those grays. If I clicked inside, let's say, I Alt+click or Option+click inside of one of the green areas, I'll get that same warning again. Good, click OK, but this time at least I get a completely aberrant shade of green. Notice that.
I'll go ahead and zoom out here and now I am going to switch back to my high resolution display by going up to the View menu and choosing Display Performance and choosing High Quality Display. Notice that if you have loaded the Deke keys, you have got some really, I think, sensible keyboard shortcuts of F2 and F3 to switch back and forth there. Alright, I am going to go ahead and switch back to the High Quality Display but it doesn't make any difference where my color is concerned. If I now go ahead and double-click and drag over some words, you can see that I get this completely erroneous shade of green so that's just something to bear in mind.
Again, if I were to grab my black arrow tool and this is sort of the culmination of my two FYIs together. If I grab my black arrow tool, click down a text frame then grab my Eyedropper tool and then, let's say, I click inside of this blue flower. Let's say I do the blue flower and notice I'll get that same notice telling me that I am going to get an aberrant weird shade of blue that doesn't have very much to do with this flower at all and I also of course have effected the entire text frame. And I'll go ahead and click OK. So just some things to know, if indeed you decide to work with this tricked out Eyedropper tool.
In the next exercise, I'll go ahead and undo that modification. I am going to show you a better way to duplicate formatting attributes using style sheets- our first glimpse of style sheets coming up.
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