InDesign’s Layout Grid—fact or fiction?

Recently, in researching for a new title that I have been working on, I came across this page on Adobe Support for a feature called Layout Grids: https://adobe.ly/2CUqdfX

They look fantastic, but the only thing is are they seem not to exist at all. There’s lots of mention of really exciting stuff like character grids for horizontal and vertical text, a Horizontal Grid Tool and a Vertical Grid Tool, but they are as evident as unicorns in my world.

The page prompts users to choose Layout > Layout Grid and modify settings such as:

Direction: Select Horizontal for text to flow left to right horizontally, and Vertical for text to flow top to bottom vertically.
Font: Select font family and font style.The font selected will become the Frame Grid default setting. Furthermore, if the grid is set as ICF in the Character Grid in Preferences, the grid size varies depending on the ICF of the font selected. (See Customize layout and frame grids.)
Size: Specify the font size to be used as a base for the body text in the layout grid. This determines the size of individual grid cells within the layout grid.
Vertical and Horizontal: Specify the transformation ratio as a percentage for the font defined in the grid. The size of the grid will alter according to these settings.

It seems it would also be possible to set a measure by establishing a line count of characters, too. This sounds absolutely brilliant—but where is it hiding? With the unicorns, I guess.

I know that over the last few years I have been focused much more on Illustrator and the mobile design tools, but didn’t think I’d missed anything at all, let alone something this important in the world of InDesign. To check my sanity, I messaged my friend and InDesign guru Nigel French, who was equally baffled. So where is the Layout Grid feature? Is it one of those things that got pulled at the last minute from the MAX 2017 release, perhaps—and no-one remembered to let the web team know?

Who can solve this Indesign mystery?

Animating Deadpool: from Sketch to Animatic to Publish Online

DpoolThis week I had the pleasure of visiting Leeds to do a one-man creativity and content velocity gig where we looked at how fast Creative Cloud makes it to produce great content, and also encouraged CC users to make a bit more of the apps they have access to as complete members but maybe don’t visit as often. On the train to Leeds I did a quick cartoon of Deadpool in my sketchbook (so I could use Capture to turn it into a shape) that I thought would be fun to animate in Animate CC, as Alex Fleisig and Joseph Labrecque did for a tutorial on adobe.com recently—you should be able to access the tutorial via the welcome screen in Animate CC or go direct: http://adobe.ly/1U7RKXs. My version was fairly simple at the time as I had a lot of ground to cover but thought that we could explore this in a little more detail in this post, look at a different method for animation and finally add the animatic to an InDesign Publish Online project.

Watch the Video

Using a Transparent background for the .oam file in EPUB and Publish Online

The .oam files out of Animate CC have a background by default and until there’s an option for background transparency you’ll need to add a couple of lines of code to the first frame of your timeline as an action (you can copy these and paste them in, if you like):
canvas.style.backgroundColor="rgba(0,0,0,0)";
document.body.style.backgroundColor = "rgba(0,0,0,0)";

That should fix it nicely!

Auto-numbered Editable Tables in InDesign

Leaderboard/League/Rankings tables (or indeed any other tabular data that needs frequently updating) used to be a real headache, but InDesign CC goes a long way to smoothing that out. A few weeks back I met someone who has to work on updating performance tables for various publications, every week and it took up a disproportionate amount of time to move the data around and renumber the rows, even though the data didn’t change much in many of the tables—just the position in the ranking and an image that indicated an advance or decline in the rankings.

The Trouble With Tables

Like many other people, there were various coping strategies employed to moving the data around, including all of the usual suspects, like having a blank table in a new document and using it as a kind of super-clipboard, or adding and removing rows in the original table and copying information between rows, then putting all the images in their place. Tedious, even to write about, let alone perform (day-in, day-out).

InDesign CC to The Rescue

InDesign gained the ability to move rows and columns by dragging almost two years ago, and in 2015 could have graphic cells that could contain images, so that fixed two of the problems in the example I’m citing here. The last thing that was required was renumbering the newly-sorted table, and in this movie, you’ll see how a numbered list comes to the rescue!

Save You Time?

Please feel free to share the post and tweet me @tonyharmer if this movie and any/all of the techniques helped your own work—especially if you can give me an idea of how much time you think/know you’re saving!

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