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50 - How To Speed Up Your Workflow For Advanced InDesign CC Users


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This video is how to go fast in InDesign. For people that are pretty competent in InDesign already. Let's start with some of the easy ones. Let's grab the 'Rectangle tool', and let's say I want to draw out a box, but I know it needs to be '20mmx30mm'. But I'm using Imperial, kind of inches at the moment. So I'm going to draw out a rectangle, and I'm going to give it a Fill. Now, along here, it's in inches. I can go into my 'Preferences' and change it, or with my Width & Height here, I can just type in '20mm'. Click down here, and you can see, it's converted it. Same down here, I'm going to type in '30mm', and now I've got the box exactly how I want it to be. You can do with pixels, do the other way if you're using millimeters or centimeters. Just type in the '2inch', using the quotation option. Then click out, and it will convert it for you. Obviously, we're working in inches, that doesn't work. It's a bit of Math in these fields.

Let's say I need this, but I need it to be times 2. So asterisk '*' is times. And I'm going to tab out to the next one. It times it by 2. Let's say I need it divided by 3. Just the forward slash and 3, '/3', and it's divided it by 3. You can add, minus, divide, and times. Works for any of these fields here. Say I want to break this into-- I need to rotate it 360, but I need to divide it by 5. We can kind of do the whole bit of Math in there without having to kind of start with the starting point, if you know what I mean. Same with percentages, any text field will accept all of the Math.

The next option is 'Quick Apply'. So I'm going to delete my rectangle. Quick Apply is just a really, quick and easy way to apply Style. You can actually use it for lots of things, but let's say this is now a Heading. I want to apply my Heading Style. Instead of having to go, 'Window', 'Style', blah, blah, I can click anywhere inside of here and then just go 'Command-Return', or 'Control-Return' on a PC. It opens this thing called Quick Apply. Now if I type in 'MF', because I've named my Styles with MF, perfect. And then let's say I accidentally use this one as MF Headings remember, 'Command-Return' brings that up, or 'Control-Return' on a PC. So I've accidentally applied it. I can click in here, 'Command-Return', and you see it brings up the thing I last did, so it can get super fast. Actually, 'Command-Return', back to Body Copy. So whenever you're naming your Styles - I use this mainly for Styles - make sure you give them kind of a good name, not just Body Copy and Title. Why? Because whenever you do this, then you have to type in 'Title', and then back to Body Copy, whereas if I've got an acronym in the front, maybe just like a 'Z' in the front, it's often what I do, they're all going to be grouped together.

Other useful things for Quick Apply, let's say I need this all to be upper case. You can actually pick anything from the drop down menus as long as you know how to type it. So 'upper' here he is there. So I've just got the first part of the letters, 'Uppercase'. So I can go through now, and decide, you my friends, are all upper cases. Just a quick, easy way to apply anything from these options here. Any styles, any options. I said options a couple of times, Quick Apply is super useful. 'Command-Return' or 'Control-Return'.

Next little work flow trick is Autocorrect. So, let's turn it off, let's go to 'InDesign', 'Preferences', 'Autocorrect'. And there they are there, just turn it on. I find this useful just by itself, and then we'll show you kind of a super slick advance use of it, but just enable it, and it just has lots of mis-spelt words in here that helps you Autocorrect, so I'm going to click 'OK'. And in here I'm going to type 'the' badly. So 'the', say you're really fast you see, it changed it around, although slowly again. So 'hte space', it auto corrects it. Now I have terrible spelling, so I spell 'across' with two 'c's all the time. Space, it adjusts it. 'Abbout', I got 2 'b's. I don't do that, but I probably do. So there's lots in here, okay?

Now my nemesis there, or there, I don't know. You can go in and enter your own ones in there. So you can go up to 'Preferences', go again to 'Autocorrect', and you can add stuff. So down the bottom here, I've got it enabled. I'm going to add it to the USA dictionary, you might be adding it to a different one. Click on 'Add', type it badly. 'i' before 'e', somebody once told me. 'i' before 'e'? That's how it works, except after 'c', or something like that. That has never run through. If you've got a better way, for me, remember which way those go around, drop it in the comments, that would be great.

So I'm going to type in the right way, and click 'OK'. Now I can spell it wrong, and it switches it around for me. So if there's words you have problems with-- the one that drives my friend Margaret up the wall is 'grammar'. I just spell it with two 'a's, and it drives her nuts. Now I do it on purpose, but in the beginning, I asked her to check my 'grammar', I spell it wrong. Her face goes purple.

Another trick you can do, and this only works while you're typing. So Autocorrect doesn't-- let's say I already had it there. So I've copied and pasted text. It doesn't kind of help you when I paste it in, text will automatically do it. So it's just while you're typing. So it's one of the drawbacks, or I guess it's one of the things that happens with Autocorrect, while you're typing, but if I paste from Word, or open in an existing document, it's not going to go through and just auto correct it.

Where this can get super useful is, just to save time, speedy work flow stuff. So let's go to 'InDesign', 'Preferences', 'Autocorrect'. What we're going to do is enable-- we're going to create some crazy words. I'm going to type in 'byol'. The correction is going to be 'bringyourownlaptop'. It's a really long word, really hard to type. And I click 'OK'. Click 'OK'. Now my Autocorrect is kind of doing some weird stuff. Actually I'm going to type in 'byol', space, bringyourownlaptop. Cool, huh!

I write lots of notes in InDesign so there's lots of times where I'm like-- Now go to your 'Selection tool'. I know it's not a long one, but I definitely go in here, and say, actually I'm going to make one called Selection Tool, 'st'. This is going to be 'Selection tool'. Click 'OK'. Let's add another one. I'm going to make this one 'ms', and I say a lot, "Make sure you have," I'm going to "xxx". "file open", full stop. I say that at the beginning of every note. So make sure you've got the 25721 file open. So I'm adding that one as 'ms'. Click 'OK'. Now, at the beginning of my notes I can say-- so my first note is going to be 'Paragraph', let's look at numbering. The first one here is going to be 'ms' space. Oh, good, nice going, switch that out. So lots of things, what was the other one? "Now choose your st 'Selection tool'. You have to be doing some common stuff, maybe just your business name, maybe your name, or the CEO's name, or some sort of acronym that you guys use that needs to be spelled out, and fill till on Autocorrect, and it will do it as you type.

Remember, that's only while you're typing. If I copy and paste 'st' from somewhere it's not going to go and automatically change it, which is probably good. You'll have no control over it, but that's how it works. Other work flow options is-- I'm going to save this one here, I'm going to close it down, and with nothing open, I'm going to go from 'Start' to 'Essentials'. Now if I change anything, this will change the default forever. You might have noticed already, we've covered a little bit of it in this course but there's things like hyphenate. So in here, under 'Paragraph', I'm just turning Hyphenate-- it's on by default, turn it off now, and every time you draw a box it's not going to hyphenate. Same with the default font. I've changed mine to 'Roboto Lite', change it here, it will change forever.

Other parts, in your 'Swatches', go and-- let's say I want to delete 'Google'. So he's not part of my main fonts. I'm going to delete 'FedEx' as well, goodbye. And I want 'Maynooth Furniture' not to be in this kind of little group. I'm going to grab you, grab the 'Swatch', and just drag it up here. I have to do them all separately, fun. But you get the idea. These now will be in every document. And you could go through now and delete these ones that nobody uses. Other things that I do is that-- the Drop Shadow, so I use Drop Shadows, but the default one is awful. There's a little icon up here for Drop Shadow, what you can do is you can get into it, and if you change it now to something more useful, actually go into here, go to 'Drop Shadow'. It will open it up. And say, I don't want it to be this giant kind of offset. I want it to be quite low. And in my case I like to have it straight up and down. So I like to be at 90°. I don't like it to be such a big offset, so I'm going to have '0.05', and I'm going to have the size of it. It's too big and fuzzy for me, that I like.

So I'm going to have it down to something like '2'. And now whenever I draw a Drop Shadow in a new document, open it up, draw a grid rectangle. Actually I've done the Drop Shadow on by default forever which is not what I want. So that's my Drop Shadow that I like. Actually I don't like it, it's not quite how I want it, but you get what I mean, right? You can get the Drop Shadow how you want, and then every time you draw it, it's going to work. One thing I did do is I clicked on that button. That just means that every time I draw an object, it's going to be on.

So back to here, go to this and turn it off. If you're finding-- this is a good kind of point I guess, is that, sometimes, every time you draw a box, you're like "Why has it got a pink Stroke and dotted with a weird Fill?" So you've just gone in and changed it here, with nothing open. So I'm going to go back to having a Fill of 'None' and a Stroke of 'Black', that's going to be my default. The Drop Shadow is not turned on, but it will still remember, when I do turn it on, what I did. Here. 'Fill'. 'Fill color'. Turn on Drop Shadow, and it's better. That's the one I'm going to change though.

Another one of the features-- actually let's open up the document that I had open - Speed up work flow. - is dragging and dropping. So in every other program in the world, if you select something, you can click and drag it, move it, you can't do that here. So InDesign has turned it off by default. I can select it, and just move it around, but I can't in InDesign, so they're twice now. Let's go to 'Preferences', 'Type'. Let's just turn it on. There it is there, 'Enable in Layout View'. It just means, now, when I select stuff, I can say, actually I want to grab this, I want to drag it over here. So you might like working that way in the other documents, but just like how it does it here in InDesign, you might not have never known it existed at all, and these are the things you can do, but there you can.

Another interesting thing to help you work is the Content Grabber. When it got introduced, I hated it. I'm slowly getting used to it. I'm going to import an image from, let's just say, 'Background 1'. So I got a big background, and this target in the middle. You might hate it, because you're forever like "Why is it right in the middle?" You can put it off by default. And it is under 'Window', 'Extras', and there's one in here called 'Content Grabber'. That's what it's called, I guess. 'Content Grabber'. Hide it. Now I want it to come on again. You can just double click it if you need to move it. Like the good old days. Up to you.

All right, on to the next one, I love this one. If I shrink this down, let's say I want this to kind of be-- I want the text to run around it, so we put on our 'Text Wrap'. Not very exciting. Weirdly Text Wrap has its own panel; should be under Type. Not sure why. So it's going to run around the outside. So the text is running around, I can push it out a little bit, I got a bit of a buffer, but let's say I want to add text to the top of this. You'd probably know how to fix this. I'm going to say this is the-- maybe we're going to add a Copyright notice; 'Copyright for 2018'. And I want to add it on top of this. You'll notice that if I try and do it right, the Text Wrap pushes it over to the edge, and I might let it be on top. Normally what people do is they go to 'Object' and go to 'Text Frame Options', you may even use the super-duper shortcut. 'Command-B', or 'Control-B' on a PC. And you say 'Ignore Text Wrap'. That works, but you got to do that every single time, so I'm going to undo that, and I'll show you a cool little trick.

So in 'Preferences', go to 'Composition' and this magical button here, it says 'Text Wrap only affects the text beneath'. So it doesn't matter that this has Text Wrap applied or not, because it's on top of the image. If I push it below, I'm going to move it below, it does get affected by Text Wrap but if it's above - I'm just using my shortcut to bring it above - it won't. And that is a kind of a default on for this entire program. So no more going in to 'Command-B' and saying ignore Text Wrap on every text box. It doesn't work obviously, if this is behind the text. I'm going to send it to the back, doesn't work. If I bring it forward, it does. Now it's in front of this guy, I'm going to bring him forward. So that's a nice little time saver.

The other thing to do, is when you're working, is to potentially have your own folder structure. Let's go check it out. So here in my documents, I've got this folder. His job is, nothing really. He's just an empty folder structure, but if I open this, it's called 'New Job', but there's no actual files in here, it's just folders. So there's a folder structure, so there's a 'Copy'. This is where all the copies goes for any of the jobs I work on. 'Files' is my kind of like the second drawer down. All the files, you're not too sure what to do with generally just images go in there. 'Reference' might be material that I got from the client. A previous PDF, or something. 'Sent to Client' are all the PDFs that I've sent them. 'Sent to Supplier', there's only one in here. I only ever had one file in here, and that's the one that went to the printer. 'Site Files' I have, because I do a lot of web work. And 'Working' is where I keep things like my InDesign, Illustrator, and Photoshop documents.

Why is it good? Because I've got a new job, and they say, "Dan, can you help us work?" and you say, "Yes." Copy, paste. Give this a name, and this is 'Maynooth Furniture Brochure'. And that structure is ready to go. Especially if you're working in an agency or somewhere where you're dealing with lots of other people having consistent folder structure, means everyone knows where to find stuff. You don't have to use what I use, but just come up with your own. I also have in here, one called 'Zold'. So every folder has a Zold folder. All that means is, 'Z' is-- so that it ends up at the bottom. Say I've got lots of files in here that I'm working on, Zold sits down at the bottom alphabetically, and I just dump everything in there that I want to keep, but it's kind of like old news. Let's say that I've got a versioning system or I've done concepts for clients, and there's Concepts A, B, and C. The client picks B, so what I want to do is get rid of A and C. Now I don't want to delete them, just want to put them away, and hide them, so they don't get mixed up, but I can go back to them if I need them, so Zold.

So come up with your own structure. I'm going to delete that one now. I've got another one that I use for video. Kind of similar, slightly different kind of layout. So whenever I'm making a video course like this, all I do is copy and paste this, and say 'InDesign Advanced'. And I've got a place for my raw videos. My Premier Pro, After Effects, that renders the copy. All nice and easy.

The other little trick is naming your files. I'm going to name this one, and at the end here let's just give it a new name. I'm going to put in 'Coursework', I'm going to call this one-- let's call it 'Work flow' just to keep it simple. You might just call it work flow, but you should give it a version number. That's not too hard, because we all know that is the kiss of death. If you call anything 'Final', you know you're going to be opening this again, and making changes. And you end up with, like 'Final 2', and 'Final New', and--- you've done it before. So stick to either a versioning number, or what a lot of agencies will do, put the date backwards. So today is the 17th of the 12th, and it's the 20th. So that's the kind of date backwards. It's the day of the week, the month, and the year. I know, if you're American, you do it kind of-- for some reason you like to put the date in the middle there. You probably hated the way everyone does it, but you might have to stick to this numbering convention just so that you've got some numbering consistency.

Cool thing about doing the date backwards is that they're all going to stack alphabetically. And it just means, the one at the bottom, so they stack alphabetically, means the one at the bottom is going to be the latest version. Kind of some really high flow like newspaper ad, or something that's going out every day. You might put the time backwards, the 24-hr clock backwards as well. I find I just use V1, V2.

Another little work flow thing is, I guess how you kind of backup your files. If you're in a larger company you might not have to worry about it, but for me, I'm working on my own system. Backing up is, I guess, is important, but plugging in my time machine kind of hard drive is a bit of a pain. It's not a pain, but the problem with that is, it's backing up on to a hard drive that's often right next to my laptop so if my laptop gets stolen they're unlikely not to take the hard drive as well. So they're kind of just gone together. So you need some sort of backup system.

Now, iCloud kind of works. It doesn't seem to work the exact same way that you want. Doesn’t backup everything on your machine, just backs up important documents. So what I use is something called Mozy. All it does, is it's kind of a drip feeding backup system. So whenever I create, or hit 'Save' on a file, it slowly starts drip feeding it up to my Mozy account. Mozy is M-O-Z-Y. They charge, it is 10 bucks a month, but for me as a freelancer, 120 bucks a year, just to have everything backed up. But I've had to use that only once thankfully. My car got broken into, laptop stolen. The cool thing about that is that there's a ton.

So all I did is, I got a new laptop, I actually borrowed a friend's, and all I did was install the app, and the cool thing about it is that it said, "Hey Dan, would you like to put everything back where you got it?" And I was like, "Oh, yes." And what it did was, it started kind of just pushing everything back on to my Mac, on this borrowed Mac, into the right places. So it started putting everything back. My documents, all my settings went back, it was a great little setup. Now I had about 50 GB, so it took forever, like nearly about 3 days to inject everything back in. If you've got lots you can go to Mozy and order a DVD. And they send it to you in the post next day. I did both. Didn't end up using the DVD, but it's a super handy little service.

Last little time saving trick thing. Whenever I've got, say a Contents page, or-- I do it mainly for Table of Contents. Let's say there's something you need to update on a document, or a note to other people using the InDesign file. Let's say I'm going to draw a nice big box. I'm going to use Magenta because that means business. And I'm going to add some text in here. I'm going to join it to it, and I'm going to say "Remember to update." I'm going to make it centered. I'll put a couple of returns in, bad design, I know. But, just here is kind of like a big-- don't forget about this thing, all caps. Exclamation mark, I really mean this. So I want this to-- remember to update this page before you send it out to print or just little notes to people. But you don't want it to print, you don't want it to accidentally go through, so what you can do is, you can put it on a non printing layer.

So I've got my Layers panel here, I'm going to make a 'New layer'. I'm going to drag-- I got him selected. Now if I drag this blue dot to the red dot, he's on this layer here, on 'Layer 2' I'm going to give it a name, I'm going to say, this is a 'Non Printing Layer' to make it super clear, and down the bottom here, you can say, 'Print Layer'. So whenever I go out to 'Export' or 'Print' this whole entire layer is not going to be added. So it's there, it's in the working document, doesn't go out. I use this quite often when I'm doing things like the Table of Contents, but also, I do trainer version of notes as well as the student version. So I'll have kind of confidential trainer version only across the middle. Doesn't go out to print but it's just so that I know which document I'm working on.

I'll show you this as well because this will happen when you'll open the document, when you see something on the page, and it won't be exporting. It's because you've accidentally copied and pasted on to a layer that's non printing. Took me ages one time to figure out why stuff wasn't printing. It's because it was on a layer that had the print layer turned off. So I'm going to click 'OK', and I'm going to lock it. Just so I can't add other stuff to it.

So that's going to be it of work flow techniques. There was some good stuff in there, I kind of finished on the data, I think. This one here wasn't my most exciting feature. I should have finished on that Autocorrect stuff. bringyourownlaptop, or the Text Wrap option. Felt like those are the best ones, but anyway, non printing layers it was. All right, that's it, let's look at the next tutorial.

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