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By Jess Stratton | Monday, March 25, 2013

Monday Productivity Pointers: Using Google+ Hangouts

Welcome to our new series Monday Productivity Pointers. Each week I’ll take a look at a different productivity tool and release two videos on the topic. These pointers can be a great way to test-drive tools and see if they’re right for you. But even if you’ve used them before, you’re likely to discover at least one feature that you probably didn’t know about!

I’ll share tools that I personally use all the time. They’ve helped me become more organized, professional, and mobile, and my hope is that they’ll do the same for you. From managing your finances with Mint.com to monitoring your online influence with Klout to creating presentations directly on the iPad with Keynote, check weekly to see what topic I’m covering and how it can help make you a more productive version of yourself. Do you have a tool you’d like me to cover? What’s your favorite online productivity tool? Let me know in the comments section below.

This week’s Monday Productivity Pointers is all about Google+ Hangouts.

By Tom Geller | Friday, February 08, 2013

Plan for Drupal 8, build for Drupal 7

Rumor has it that early computer maker Osborne folded because it promoted its next-generation (but not-yet-released) model over the adequate (but sellable) one. People decided to wait, starving the company of revenue.

But while Drupal 8′s release is mere months away, there’s no reason to wait. Here’s why you should build your site now, in Drupal 7:

  • Drupal 7 will be good for a while. The community officially supports Drupal with security updates for two major releases. Drupal 6 came out in early 2008; Drupal 7 followed in early 2011. If the pattern continues, Drupal 7 won’t be obsolete until 2015 or later.
  • You’ll (probably) be able to upgrade your site to Drupal 8 later, as core Drupal is always upgradeable. The potential problem is in add-on modules and custom code, which sometimes lag. The good news is the biggie: Views is becoming part of Drupal core.
  • The cost for waiting is too great. While you wait for Drupal 8, your site stays locked in your imagination. There’ll always be something “even better” on the horizon.

So don’t fall victim to the Osborne Effect—build your dream Drupal site now!

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 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.

By Crystal McCullough | Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Save time and brain power: Photoshop CS4 Power Shortcuts

Photoshop CS4 offers an abundance of helpful shortcuts and hidden tricks that allow designers and photographers to get more done in less time. In Photoshop CS4 Power Shortcuts, Michael Ninness reveals hundreds of tips to boost productivity, including the top 20 power shortcuts every Photoshop user must know. He covers strategies for better document and panel management, and offers techniques for becoming quicker and more nimble when using layers, adjustment layers, and layer masks.

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