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David Blatner brings his knowledge of and passion for InDesign to the latest release of this state-of-the-art publishing program, showing how to harness its power and functionality. InDesign CS4 Beyond the Basics covers the process of publishing with an eye on the program's latest nuances: optimizing page layouts, automating InDesign with Data Merge and XML, exploring interactive documents (including making movies), and exporting publications to a variety of formats. Exercise files accompany the course.
I am going to select this brown frame on the first page of this document and zoom in little bit with Command+Plus or Ctrl+Plus on Windows, just so we can see it better and I will add a big fixed stroke, maybe a 10-point black stroke around this, solid black stroke. The first thing I will notice is that the stroke is actually behind this yellowish frame that's sitting on top of it. Now, I would like to move this stroke out so that it goes on the outside of that yellow frame as well. I can do that in the Stroke panel by changing the align stroke button. Instead of choosing the center the stroke on the path, I am going to choose set this stroke to outside of the path. There we go. That's looking little bit better.
Now I am going to change the Type from solid to let's say stripe like this thick or maybe a dash like this 3 and 2, but what if I can't find the stroke style that I like, none of these dashes or stripes or dots really do it for me, can I make my own? Sure, no problem, just go to the Stroke panel menu and choose Stroke Styles. I will click New and I can see in the Type pop menu that I can create three different kinds of stroke styles; stripe strokes, dotted strokes or dashed strokes.
Let's start with dashed first. The first thing we need to do is change the pattern length. That includes both the dash and the gap that follows it. If I want this whole pattern to be 10 millimeters, I will just type 10 millimeters in here. Now, I can adjust the length by dragging this triangle on top or by typing in the length in here, perhaps I want this to be exactly 3 millimeters, hit Tab and it takes affect up here in the ruler. I can even adjust the cap on the end of each of these dashes. For example, right now the end of each of these dashes, which we can see down here in the preview area, is very short and sharp. If I change the rounded cap instead I get a rounded shape here as well.
We can see this even better if we increase the preview weight in here. This doesn't affect the stroke at all; it just gives us a preview of what that stroke is going to look like. The last thing you can specify is what happens at the corners of your frame. For example, in a rectangle when the corners of two dashes come together, by default it's set to adjust dashes and gaps which gives InDesign a little bit of leeway in how long each of the dash and how long each of the gaps can be and it evens it out so that you get nice, even corners. That's typically what you would want, but you can also tell it to only adjust the gaps, make sure the actual dash itself does not change or only change the dashes and don't adjust the gaps or you can choose none and then you will get weird looking corners.
In this case, I am going to leave it set to adjust dashes and gaps and I will change the name of this to my short rounded dash. That's good enough and I am going to click Add because I want to create a new stroke style. If you click OK then it closes the dialog box, but Add adds the strokes style, keeps the dialog box open for you to create a new one. Now I am going to create a stripe. Let's try this. When I choose stripe, I get a slightly different dialog box and I can change how thick each of these stripes are just by dragging these triangles, so I could have a really thick then a thin and then a medium sized stripe or I could have a really thin stripe. Well, why don't we do that? Why don't we do a nice thin stripe, maybe 20% if that and then I can drag this around until I also get it to 20%? So I have created a stripe that has a thin stroke here and then a big gap and then another thin stroke on the inside. Let's go ahead and give this a different name, I will call this thin thick thin, you can call it anything you want and I will go ahead and click Add, there.
Now since we are talking about custom stroke styles, I would be remiss in my duty if I didn't tell you about some secret Easter eggs that Adobe snuck into the program without telling anybody. So to create one of these custom Easter egg styles, I am going to create a new dash and I am going to change its name to feet. As long as it's called feet, it doesn't matter how you define it, just call it feet. I will click Add and I am going to do another one, let's call this one lights and click Add and then we are going to create a new stripe, so we created two dashes and I am going to make one stripe and this stripe is called rainbow, just simple as that. I will go ahead and click OK and we can see all of the styles that we have created here in this dialog box, including some really curious ones.
Let's go and try those out, click OK, I will go to the Stroke panel again in the Type pop up menu and we can see all the custom ones that we created down at the bottom of this pop menu, including feet. Look at that one. That's a really wacky one. Let's zoom in here so we can see that. That is a custom Easter egg special stroke style, which is wacky, but maybe you would find that useful sometimes. Here is the thin thick thin that we created, there is the short rounded dash that we created, here is rainbow. I love rainbow, rainbow is amazing. It actually goes around corners and everything. I will just pan down here to the bottom; you can see the rainbow goes right around the corner, some people like that kind of thing. The one I like most is this lights one, this is very cool. Look at that, special Christmas lights to go around any object and a lot of people wonder is this thing going to really print, yes they really do print.
Unfortunately, InDesign does not currently have any way for you to make your cool strokes like this, you know, strokes based on graphics. The only ones that you can really make yourself other than these Easter eggs are custom dots, stripes and dashes.
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