August 12, 2009 / Design / InDesign

CS4 updates aim for efficiency

Written by Idea File Staff

If it is time to upgrade your software, Adobe CS4 is waiting for you. Although it comes only 18 months after CS3, CS4 has a few cool InDesign updates that should increase productivity and improve graphics capabilities.

Like InDesign CS3, you can purchase InDesign CS4 separately, or bundled with Photoshop, Bridge, Version Cue, Illustrator and other Adobe software in one of the Creative Suite packages. For information on ordering Creative Suite or upgrading to CS4, contact your Walsworth yearbook sales representative.

To help you keep up on what the latest software can do, here are some of the updates Adobe plugged into CS4. And, Walsworth’s Enhancements for InDesign CS4 are already available for you to use.

InDesign CS4
Always trying to make your work flow more efficient, these updates will simplify page and document organization and working with graphics and text much simpler.

Pages panel
The Pages panel provides information about pages, spreads and master pages, and enables you to manipulate pages for better organization. In CS4, thumbnails of the content of each page now exist in the Pages panel as visual cues, making navigation and arrangement of your pages easier. Identifying icons indicate content in the thumbnails, and these can be selected or hidden as you desire.

Links panel
Keeping track of links can be akin to herding cats. InDesign simplifies the management of links with a new redesigned Links panel that enables you to find, sort and manage every linked file in your document, customizing the data so you can quickly see each file’s details.

The Links panel displays files in a collapsible tree view, and each file is represented by a thumbnail image. If your yearbook contains the same file more than once, the Links panel displays the file name once; click on the thumbnail to open the expandable list to view all of the locations of that one file. Update the main linked file, and the other linked instances will also update.

Smart Guides
Exact positioning of objects on your page is possible in fewer steps with Smart Guides, Smart Spacing and Smart Dimensions. Now, instead of opening several panels and manually applying grids, these dynamic guides will quickly align, space, rotate and resize single or multiple objects. Smart Guide readouts appear and disappear automatically, allowing you to see object dimensions, rotation angles, and x and y coordinates as you work.

Tabbed documents
You can have several documents open at the same time and find the one you need to see now by tabbing through them. This saves you from having to maximize each individual document to look at it until you find the one you want. This feature is also in Photoshop CS4.

Rotate Spread View
When adding vertical elements to your pages, now you do not have to turn your head sideways while you work. With Rotate Spread View in both InDesign and Photoshop, you can turn your document in 90-degree increments while you work, then turn it back. Being in a more comfortable position will decrease the time it takes to place vertical text and images and reduce the expense of headache and neck pain relievers.

Edit With
The Edit With command is another default override. In this case, you can select the application to use to edit a placed item, instead of letting the operating system default to the appropriate program.

Contact sheet
Use InDesign to create a contact sheet of images. Press Ctrl + Shift (Windows) or Cmd + Shift (Mac) and drag to create a grid of the images, using the arrow keys to create the number of rows and columns you need.

Proportional file placement
Let your cursor and graphic help you create a proportionally sized frame. Load your Place cursor with the graphic. As you drag to create the frame, the file will automatically fit into a frame of the correct dimensions.

Photoshop CS4
Photoshop CS4 is sporting a new interface, with an Application Frame providing a convenient workspace that keeps all of the panels and your documents within easy reach. A new Applications Bar above the Control Bar includes buttons for common functions. If you really cannot get used to the Application Frame and Application Bar, you can switch back to the previous setup.

Brush resizing
Need a different size brush while you are painting? Instead of using the bracket keys (the [ and ] keys), hold down Ctrl + right-click (Windows) or Cmd + right-click  (Mac), and just drag the mouse to resize the cursor. By adding the Alt or Option key, you can change the edge from feathered to hard and degrees in between.

Dodge and burn
If you previously used Adjustment layers instead of dodge and burn to protect your image, try dodge and burn in CS4. This version of Photoshop maintains tones in one part of an image much better while you are working on another part of the image.

Content-aware scaling
When you want to resize an image in one direction, this feature attempts to prevent distortion by adding or removing pixels.

Camera Raw
One new feature in Camera Raw CS4 allows you to perform selective edits. Instead of using a slider to make adjustments to an entire image, you can use the Adjustment Brush on selected parts of an image to change exposure, brightness, contrast, saturation, clarity, sharpness or color tints. You can change or delete Adjustment Brush strokes while you are working, too.

Idea File Staff

Idea File Staff reports are posts compiled by the Walsworth Yearbooks Marketing Department, covering a wide range of yearbook topics.