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When Adobe® InDesign® CS3 was released a few years back, included among its new features was an enhanced set of special effects. If you haven’t had a chance to explore these special effects and add them to your bag of InDesign tricks, you owe it to yourself to take a look. This tip will focus on using the Bevel And Emboss effect to create three-dimensional typographic elements, but there are eight other effects—each with its own set of controls—that you can apply to text, frames, pictures … pretty much anything. Although many of these effects are available in Photoshop and Illustrator, the option to apply them to InDesign objects can save time and reduce file-management overhead.
Sometimes when laying out an Adobe® InDesign® page, you may want to remove the background of an imported image—perhaps so you can wrap text around a shape as in Figure 1. Creating a clipping path in Photoshop is often the best solution because its selection tools make it easy to isolate and remove even complex backgrounds. However, because the graphic element (the dancing pair) in Figure 1 is much darker than the background (the surrounding white area), you can easily remove the background using the Clipping Path feature in InDesign. In addition to removing white and light backgrounds, you can also use the Clipping Path feature to remove black backgrounds and backgrounds that are significantly darker than the graphic element they surround.
Since the dawn of page layout software in the mid-1980s, layout artists have been forced to create two text frames for stories that span multiple columns: a one-column text frame that spans multiple columns for the headline and a multicolumn text frame for the body text. Adobe® InDesign® CS5 makes it a whole lot easier to lay out pages with multicolumn stories by providing the option to extend paragraphs across the gutters of multicolumn text frames. It’s a killer feature with an intuitive UI that will save many users considerable time.
The Formatting Affects Text button, one of the smallest and least documented features in Adobe® InDesign®, is barely visible next to its silent partner, the Formatting Affects Container button. (They’re just below the Stroke and Fill boxes in the Tools panel.) The Formatting Affects Text button doesn’t do much, but if you know how and when to use it, you can save time and spare yourself from a lot of manual text formatting. Here’s a common scenario in which this button is useful.
If you’re an Adobe® InDesign® user, you’re probably familiar with the Create Outlines command in the Type menu. It lets you convert highlighted text characters into editable shapes. What you may not know is that in addition to working with highlighted text, the Create Outlines command is also available when one or more text frames are selected. In this situation, choosing Convert Outlines will convert all of the text in all selected frames into outlines. (It’s worth noting that the Convert Outlines command does not work with text frames that are part of a group. If you want to create outlines of text in a frame that’s part of a group, you’ll need to ungroup the objects [Object > Ungroup] before you create outlines.)