CS6 InDesign box

Adobe InDesign CS6 has received a variety of updated features to work with digital tablets as well as repurposing content for various media. Alternate layouts as well as the Content Collector Tool rate high on the list. Here’s what I discovered while working within the new version.

Liquid Layout
Determine how pages and objects are adapted with the layout hub, a place to preview and create changes. Liquid page rules are an efficient way to design for multiple page sizes and orientations.

Liquid Layout Page setup
[Liquid Layout Page setup]

Rules can be changed on a page by page basis, by Scale, Re-center, Object-based, or Guide-based. Content will adjust accordingly based on the choice you make.

Page selected with Page Tool
[Page selected with Page Tool]

Selecting an object based item/pins
[Selecting an object-based item with pins]

The Re-center liquid page rule centers the content for the new page dimensions, but does not scale it. This option is handy for designing for a smaller size screen first, such as a 7” Samsung Galaxy Tab, and adapting the content for a larger screen size later.

Re-center liquid page
[Re-center liquid page]

Another feature of liquid layouts is the ability to convert ruler guides to Liquid Layout guides. This will cause any content that they touch to resize automatically when the page dimensions change.

Selecting a ruler guide and then clicking on the icon at the top of it causes the guide to become a dashed line, indicating it’s a Liquid Layout guide. Dragging the page around, I was able to see how the content resized when the dimensions were changed.

Dotted blue liquid layout lines
[Vertical dotted blue liquid layout line in middle of right column]

Pinning objects to various orientations allows you to move other objects around while the chosen item(s) remain intact and with the chosen restraints.

Right pin selected in liquid layout
[Right pin selected in liquid layout]

The photo below shows the background image pinned to all four corners of the page; it will resize in height and width accordingly.

All four constraints pinned
[All four constraints pinned]

When you drag the large white corner handles around, the layout will become ‘liquid’, allowing the elements to resize or move in order to fit the media you’re working in. In this case, an iPad.

Alternate layouts for digital and print publishing
With CS6, users can now create and design multiple versions of a layout for different devices and media from within a single InDesign document.

Create alternate layout
[Creating an alternate layout]

It’s possible to add another layout with different page settings, including page size, orientation, and aspect ratio. You can include both the horizontal and vertical layouts for publishing on a digital tablet or variations for each type of tablet. InDesign copies the content of the original pages with the new settings.

Alternate layout pages created
[Alternate layout pages created]

Alternate layout without liquid page rules applied
[Alternate layout without liquid page rules applied]

Alternate layout prefs keeping existing liquid page rule
[Alternate layout options set to keep existing liquid page rule]

I noticed that when I split the windows to compare the layouts side by side, that a few pages didn’t orient properly, maybe due to a software bug.

Not properly changed

I like that you can change an item in one layout without affecting the other. I was able to globally change the colour of text in the vertical layout (using Character Styles) without it having change in the newly created horizontal version.

Character and Paragraph Styles
[Character and Paragraph Styles]

Content collector tool
Use the Content Collector tools (the Collector tool, Placer tool, and Conveyor) to grab any content, including text, images, and interactivity, from one layout and place them into another.

Loading a selection of images to conveyor
[Loading a selection of images to conveyor]

Grab multiple pieces of content and either repurpose them throughout the same InDesign document they came from, or add them to a new one.

Conveyor and loaded cursor
[Conveyor and loaded cursor]

Placing content into a new file
[Placing content into a new file using the Conveyor]

By selecting items with the Content grabber tool, items will add to a conveyor, a sort of library for the grabbed images. You can either open a new document or use the existing one, dragging the content from the Conveyor onto the layout.

Linked content
Keep text, images, or attributes such as interactive behaviours consistent across pages or documents. You can link content individually, or let InDesign link it when you use the Content Collector tools or create an alternate layout.

CS6 lets you link content from InDesign documents via Edit > Place and Link.

You can also choose whether you’d like a text frame to resize if text is added or deleted. The option box below shows different proxies to affect how the text box will change directionally.

Text frame options
[Text frame options]

Placing content can be scaled, transitioned, and placed accordingly. It can also be resized independently of the original content.

Linked content update warning
[Linked content update warning, shown above the red C]

If you’ve made any changes to an object, a warning icon will appear. Click the icon to update the content.

Preview and Export Layouts in Grayscale
Grayscale preview will emulate a black and white device or black and white print job. Once you’re done previewing, you can create a grayscale PDF from the Print dialog box.

Previewing in grayscale

Choose View > Proof Setup > Custom, and scroll towards the bottom of the list to find various gray profiles to simulate a black and white environment. Once you’ve seen the profile, return to colour by choosing View > Colors.

Another great little feature: recently used fonts will now appear at the top of the font list as you work in an InDesign CS6 document.

Add Form Fields
Interactive PDF form fields can now be created directly in the program, including customizing and stylizing radio buttons, checkboxes, signatures, list boxes and other items. You can also create tooltips, apply PDF actions, and hide fields until they’re triggered, all from within InDesign.

Adding a name text field
[Adding a name text field]

InDesign documents will also accept Google Maps and animation developed with Adobe Edge software. When exporting to HTML, EPUB3, or .folio, interactivity will remain.

Buttons and forms

There’s a huge variety of sample radio buttons and forms built into the program. Buttons can be named and have behaviors attached to them.

Align to key object

The new Align to key object allows text fields, list boxes, combo boxes and signature fields to be aligned via Left Edges, Right Edges, Horizontal Centers, etc.

Added Accessibility Features
Specify values to radio buttons as well as a tab order in the Articles panel to help assistive devices in providing more information to disabled users. The Article Field organizes and arranges the reading order. Once you export the PDF file, the tab order will be included.

More Adobe InDesign CS6 features can be viewed here. I’ll also be featuring Illustrator CS6 in an upcoming post. See my Creative Cloud, Adobe Photoshop Extended CS6 and Adobe Acrobat Pro X features covered previously.

Disclosure note for review: Cmply.1

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