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By Lauren Harmon | Thursday, November 03, 2011

InDesign Secrets: Easter Egg hunt for hidden features

It’s just past Halloween, you probably haven’t bought your Thanksgiving turkey yet, and the stores are piping in Jingle Bells already. So what is the appropriate InDesign Secret for this time of year? Easter Eggs, of course. In this week’s free movie, David Blatner shows you some of the hidden little tricks (known affectionately as Easter Eggs) you can treat yourself to with InDesign. These hidden mystery features range from the mostly entertaining to the actually useful, but they’re all guaranteed to distract you from your mundane work and holiday overload.

For full frivolity bordering on total time wasting, David will show you how to visit a friendlier version of the ‘angry alien’ you may know and remember from QuarkXPress, and he’ll reveal how the About InDesign credits window can be transformed into an interactive butterfly landscape, complete with pin-a-butterfly capability.

On a more practical level, David reveals Easter Eggs that allow you to set up some custom stroke styles that actually give you patterns you can use. By creating custom strokes called Feet, Woof, and Lights you can automatically create the effects below by simply applying your chosen custom stroke to a boring standard one:

InDesign Custom strokes Feet, Woof, and Lights

In this case I set the Feet stroke to pink, the Woof stroke to brown, and for the Lights stroke I took inspiration from our resident InDesign FX guru and applied a Satin effect to give the bulbs glowing filaments. I can only imagine what Mike Rankin might be able to cook up with these strokes and his magic suitcase full of effects. If you have ideas, please be sure to share them in the comments section below.

Meanwhile, David’s partner in InDesign Secrecy, Anne-Marie Concepcion, has an exclusive members-only movie in the Online Training Library® this week: Cool GREP styles everyone can do. GREP actually stands for General Regular Expression Parsing, but—don’t be scared off—as Anne-Marie points out, it really means: “Way to use InDesign to make efficient formatting.” No tricks or turkeys here!

See you back here in two weeks with more InDesign Secrets.

• All the InDesign Secrets in the Online Training Library® • Courses by David Blatner in the Online Training Library® • Courses by Anne-Marie Concepcion in the Online Training Library® • Courses on InDesign in the Online Training Library®

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