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By Kristin Ellison | Monday, February 03, 2014

Essential tips for a brilliant brainstorming session (AUDIO)

Stefan Mumaw on Creativity and Brainstorming

Explore this course at lynda.com.

Creativity is not an external force or a rare skill; it’s a habit that anyone can learn. All you need are the tools to unlock it and you’ll be able to generate better ideas faster. Brainstorming is a fantastic tool to help unleash your creativity and uncover a wealth of unique and relevant ideas—but if approached incorrectly it can also be a wheel-spinning bust. Listen to these great tips from Stefan Mumaw so your next brainstorming session is a creative success!

Find no more than five to seven people to include, and make sure you’re choosing a diverse group of people. Find folks from outside of your department, even outside of your company. Outsiders bring fresh perspectives and while they may not be able to solve the problem as acutely as people who are more familiar with the problem, they may take you down roads you may not have considered.

By lynda.com | Monday, January 13, 2014

Work smarter: Five time-saving tips for 2014

5 time-saving tips

Time is money. As companies make more demands for efficiency and productivity, employees need to respond by working smarter. Here are some time-saving tips from expert lynda.com instructors for maximizing the hours in your day.

1. Say no. Minimize interruptions from your colleagues by saying “no” to right-this-minute requests—and deferring the “yes” to a later time.

By lynda.com | Friday, January 10, 2014

5 must-know Excel tips

Boost your spreadsheet know-how in minutes with these easy Microsoft Excel tips from expert lynda.com instructors.

1. Learn how to keep the content of your cells within the boundaries of your design.

Watch more…

By Mike Rankin | Thursday, July 04, 2013

Add a double bevel to text: InDesign FX

If you can master only one of the Adobe InDesign transparency effects, it should be Bevel and Emboss. It is by far the most useful and versatile of the bunch. In fact, the only thing that might be better than a handsome bevel is, well, two handsome bevels. Creating a double bevel effect is the topic of this week’s free InDesign FX video.

InDesign FX: Figure 1

InDesign FX: Figure 2

This effect is achieved by stacking two copies of live text, each with an Inner Bevel and a Drop Shadow.

By Colleen Wheeler | Saturday, June 23, 2012

This week's featured five: Using InDesign master pages

Recently a lynda.com member wrote in asking for advice on using master pages in InDesign. Master pages allow you to place recurring items like page numbers, footers, or headers on multiple pages throughout your document automatically. Not only does this save time and energy, but it also gives you a one-stop location for updating a title or graphic globally later on.

InDesign Master page screenshot

An example of an InDesign master page in the Pages panel.

For this week’s featured five free videos, I’ve pulled together five tutorials from five different courses to give you a solid understanding of how to use master pages in different contexts. As a bonus, you’ll gather up some other useful InDesign tips along the way, as each author explains in his own way how to work with this useful feature.

1. Introduction to master pages If you’ve never created a master page before and you’re new to InDesign, this first video from chapter four of Up and Running with InDesign will get you started without presuming too much prior InDesign knowledge. Author Deke McClelland starts from square one, showing you how to place a graphic header and folio with page number on a newly created master, and how to apply your new master to existing pages you’ve already created in your document.

2. Setting up a master page for a magazine layout In this excerpt from chapter one of Designing a Magazine Layout Hands-on Workshop, author Nigel French shows you how to create the master page elements that you’d want for the interior of a magazine layout. You’ll see how to consistently place the headers and footers, format them appropriately with rules and mirroring, and set up automatically updating page numbers.

3. Creating master pages strategically for a book or other long documentThe next tutorial is from chapter one of our Creating Long Documents with InDesign course. When you’re working on a long document like a several-chapter book, author Mike Rankin encourages you to set up your master pages strategically by first creating a base master, then placing additional master pages with tweaks that might be desirable for different kinds of spreads like body copy and chapter openers upon that base. This strategic layering will give you greater flexibility as the project grows, and keep you from having to set up completely new masters as the project expands.

4. Overriding master page itemsOf course, once in a while, you’ll find that a particular document page doesn’t work quite right with all of your master page elements. Since the role of master pages is to hold those repeating objects in place, you can’t move, delete, or even select master page items on a regular page. In this excerpt from chapter four of InDesign CS6 Essential Training, author David Blatner explains how to override a master page with the handy Command+Shift+click shortcut (Ctrl+Shift+click in Windows), which frees an object from its master and assigns it directly to the document page. At that point, with the object assigned directly to the document, you can edit or delete it as you choose. If you change your mind and want it back, David shows you how to restore master page items as well.

5. Making sure master page items aren’t covered by document objectsFinally, in episode number 39 from the InDesign Secretsseries (Moving master page items to the top layer for visibility), David Blatner demonstrates how placing your master page items on the top layer of your document ensures that they aren’t covered up by the occasional graphic or text frame on a running page. If you’ve ever experienced the mysterious missing master item, then this advice is for you.

For features like master pages in InDesign that don’t quite warrant an entire lynda.com course on their own, it’s nice to be able to round up this collection of useful tutorials with different information, approaches, and bonus tips.

By Greg Chow | Saturday, April 14, 2012

Quick Tip: Setting up a Photoshop document for a web site mockup

The first step in creating a web site mockup in Photoshop

Click image for a larger view.

Designing for the web is a bit different than designing for print, so it’s important that you set up your Photoshop document correctly before you begin designing your web mockup.

First, in Photoshop, go to File > New. This opens up the New Document dialog box, where you can choose everything you need. Start with the Preset pull-down and choose Web. From there, you can choose the size of your document. If you want your site to appeal to the largest possible audience, don’t choose dimensions that are too wide or too narrow. A good starting place is 960 pixels wide and 690 pixels high. You can always adjust as you go, but this is a good starting size.

Leave the Color Mode set to RGB Color and 8 bit. Background Contents refers to the background color for your document. Leave it set to White. Click OK.

To help in your design layout, turn on your rulers by going to View > Rulers (or keyboard shortcut Ctrl+R in Windows, Cmd+R on a Mac). Since you’re in a web document, the rulers should display in pixels. Right-click on your ruler and select Pixels.

You can also select View > Show > Grid if you want a grid to help you with your design layout, and you can drag out some guides to assist you in the placement of your design. To create a guide, click and drag from a ruler into your document. Turn on the Info panel (Window > Info) to give you the precise location of your guide. You can reposition your guide at any time with the Move tool, and if you want to remove a guide, simply drag it off the art board.

Now that you’ve set the dimensions, color space, and resolution for your working file, you can easily move ahead with the creation of your web-design mockup.

If you’re interested in more tips for converting Photoshop files into Dreamweaver projects, check out Designing Web Sites from Photoshop to Dreamweaver.

Interested in more? • All lynda.com Photoshop courses

Suggested courses to watch next:Designing Web Sites from Photoshop to DreamweaverWeb Site Strategy and PlanningCreating a First Web Site with Dreamweaver CS5Photoshop CS5 Essential Training

By Bonnie Bills | Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Top Excel Power Shortcut #3: Copying formulas or data in a column

We’re very excited about our upcoming course, Excel 2010 Power Shortcuts with Dennis Taylor, that’s due to be released soon—so excited that we’ve decided to give you a sneak peek at some of his top power shortcuts. Here’s the third shortcut:

In Excel, if you want to copy a formula or data down a column, you don’t need to copy and paste or even drag—a difficult task if you have thousands of rows of data. This time-saving shortcut shows how you can copy text or a formula down a column in an instant. If you’re already familiar with this shortcut, this video shows how it is improved in Excel 2010.

Did you miss the first two top shortcuts? Watch Top Excel Power Shortcut #1: Entering the same data into nonadjacent cells and Top Excel Power Shortcut #2: Converting formulas to values.

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