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Using Bridge with Other CS2 Applications

You can, of course, use the Adobe Bridge at any time to preview graphic files and to manage the files on your computer. But the real fun begins when you start to use Bridge with your other CS2 applications. That's when you'll really start to make changes in the way you work. For example, if you're placing a lot of images into an InDesign or Illustrator project, you don't need to use the Place command: You just drag-place the files from Adobe Bridge.

Setting Up an Adobe Bridge Workflow

You may want to perform a couple of short steps as you begin to use a Bridge-to-CS2-application workflow.

Previews and File Associations.

In InDesign, make sure that you have set your preferences to save image previews. In InDesign CS2, in File Handling Preferences, check the Always Save Preview Images With Documents option (Figure 3-18). You can choose the size of your previews — 128 x 128, 256 x 256, 512 x 512, or 1024 x 1024 pixels. In InDesign CS, check Save Document Preview Image, but you have no option for the preview size.


Figure 3-18 In InDesign CS and CS2, you must turn on image previews in the File Handling Preferences.

Illustrator, Photoshop, and PDF files are previewed without having to set any special preferences. For details, see Table 3-1, "Adobe Bridge File Format Previewing."

So that you won't be surprised if double-clicking a JPEG file opens it in the wrong application, you should also set preferences for what application will open the file automatically when you choose File > Open or double-click a file in the Adobe Bridge window. You set this in Adobe Bridge File Type Associations Preferences (Figure 3-19).


Figure 3-19 Using Bridge File Type Association preferences, you can determine which application will open a specific file type.

For any file type, you can click the name of the application (or None) or you can click Browse to locate a different application than the ones listed. This preference controls the application that opens in Bridge; it doesn't affect the application that may be opened in your operating system, where the settings can be different. You can also choose File > Open With (or use the context menu) to choose the name of a different application (or application version) to open a particular file.

Bridge Viewing Modes and Switching Shortcuts

To make it easier to move between Adobe Bridge and the CS2 applications, it also helps to use Bridge's three viewing modes, and some shortcuts for switching back and forth.

When you open Adobe Bridge, it's in Full mode, displaying all the panels that you last selected. However, it's inconvenient to work in other applications when Bridge is in a full-sized display. So, at any time, you can switch to Compact mode by clicking the Switch To Compact Mode button at the upper right corner of the window, or by pressing Command/Ctrl-Return/Enter (Figure 3-20).


Figure 3-20 You can switch back and forth between Bridge Full mode (above) and Compact mode (Bridge)Compact mode (right) with a button or a keystroke.

Compact mode shows only the Content pane thumbnails, but the most common commands are available from the popup menu at the upper right. By default, the Compact mode window floats above all other windows, making it always visible and easy to drag an image into a layout. (However, if you prefer, you can turn that option off by deselecting Compact Window Always On Top on the popup menu.)

When you're in Compact mode, you can return to Full mode by clicking that button at the top right of the window (or pressing Command/Ctrl-Return/Enter), and letting the Bridge window move behind other windows. You can also click another button to switch to Ultra-compact mode, further reducing the window to a single strip (Figure 3-21). Use buttons again to switch out of Ultra-compact mode.


Figure 3-21 To make the Bridge window as small as possible, choose Ultra-compact mode.

There are also several shortcuts for opening Adobe Bridge from your CS2 applications and for returning to your other applications from Bridge:

  • Each of the other CS2 applications (except Adobe Acrobat) has a special button for jumping to Adobe Bridge (Figure 3-22). For InDesign and Illustrator, it's found on the right end of the Control palette. For Photoshop, it's on the right end of the Options Bar. For GoLive, it's in the Adobe Services section of the toolbar at the top of the window. Clicking the button opens the last-opened Bridge window.

    Figure 3-22 Click the Adobe Bridge button in a CS2 application to jump to Bridge.

  • Within each of these four applications, you can choose File > Browse (or press Option/Alt-Command/Ctrl-O) to open or switch to Adobe Bridge.
  • After you've switched to Bridge, you can choose File > Return To [application name] In Bridge, or press Option/Alt-Command/Ctrl-O again to jump back to that application.

Working with InDesign Files

InDesign has long had the ability to drag files from the Desktop into a layout. When you do so, you create a link to the high-resolution file as if you had chosen File > Place. This works for any file format that InDesign can read, including non-Adobe formats like Microsoft Word files. However, dragging files from the Desktop is often inconvenient because you have to resize your window to be able to see the Desktop at the same time.

Dragging Files from Bridge

Adobe Bridge makes it much easier to drag in files: You can now drag one or more files from the Bridge window into your InDesign layout using Bridge's Compact mode, making it easy to see both windows at the same time (Figure 3-23, left). The ( ) [parenthesis] icon that appears when you move your cursor over an existing frame indicates that the file will be placed within the frame. A square-cornered icon indicates that the file will be placed in a new frame. If you drag multiple files, you see a special icon that shows a stack of images (Figure 3-23, right). The files will be placed in a stack with a small overlap between frames.


Figure 3-23 You can change your Bridge window to Compact mode to make it easy to drag into an InDesign layout (left). If you drag multiple files, you see a special icon (right).

We find this workflow is very easy when you have a lot of images to place. Immediately after you drop the image, it's handy to minimize the Bridge window by choosing Window > Minimize, or clicking the minimize button. The biggest downside of the workflow is that you don't have access to the Show Import Options checkbox. For example, if you want to drag an Adobe PDF file onto an InDesign page, you can only place the first page; if you use the Place command, you have options in InDesign CS2 to choose which pages to place.

InDesign Snippet Files

You can also drag from InDesign CS2 into Adobe Bridge. InDesign can export individual objects on a page as snippet files, to share with others or to stash in a personal snippet collection for ongoing use. Bridge makes it easy to do that. Snippets are based on the InDesign Interchange (INX) format, which underlies other aspects of InDesign CS2.

To create a snippet, first put Bridge in Compact mode so you can see both windows (Figure 3-24). Then select some page objects on an InDesign spread. Drag them directly into the Adobe Bridge window. A new snippet file appears. InDesign automatically gives the file a name like "Snippet_2FBAC117D.inds" and creates a preview; you can rename the file to something more meaningful.


Figure 3-24 Drag-select some elements of an InDesign page with the Bridge window visible (left). When you drag them into the Bridge window, a reusable snippet is created (right).

To place the snippet, just open or create another InDesign document. You can either place the snippet by choosing File > Place, or you can drag it onto the current page. InDesign recreates the exact elements you dragged into Bridge, and places them in the same relative location on the new page.

InDesign Templates

InDesign CS2 allows you to create template files. The application also comes with some template files for common layouts. For some unknown reason, InDesign hides the template files that come with it in a distant location. Template files are in this path on the Mac: Library > Application Support > Adobe > Templates > InDesign. In Windows, they're in this path: Program Files > Common Files > Adobe > Templates > InDesign.

If you create your own template file, InDesign CS2 saves it in a special format (with the .indt extension), which forces you to save and rename the file, preserving the template layout. The good thing is that Adobe Bridge can display as previews all the pages of a template file created in InDesign CS2 (but not a template file from InDesign CS). You can switch between pages in Bridge in the Preview panel, and in the large thumbnail in Filmstrip view (see Figure 3-25).


Figure 3-25 You can preview individual pages of an Adobe PDF file or InDesign CS2 template in Filmstrip view (or in the Preview panel).

Working with Illustrator Files

Much of the workflow we described for working between InDesign and Adobe Bridge also works for Illustrator. You can drag-place image and Adobe PDF files into Illustrator, creating a full-resolution linked file. Use the same method of dragging from Adobe Bridge when it's in Compact mode. However, Illustrator can't create snippet files.

Illustrator also allows you to create template files with the .ait extension. They can be previewed in Adobe Bridge, but since Illustrator creates only a single page on the pasteboard, there are no multiple pages.

Working with Adobe Photoshop and Camera Raw Files

A camera raw file contains unprocessed picture information from a digital camera's sensors. Many digital cameras can save this information in a camera raw file. Each digital camera manufacturer has developed its own format. Camera raw files created by a supported camera can be processed by the Camera Raw plug-in. (We discuss digital cameras and the Camera Raw plug-in in the "Camera Raw and CS2" sidebar in Chapter 4, "Pixels and Raster Formats.")

Adobe Bridge can preview Camera Raw files. When you first view thumbnails and preview camera raw files, you see the files with default image settings. If you have installed Adobe Photoshop CS2 or Adobe Creative Suite 2, you can use the Camera Raw plug-in. If you've installed one of the other Adobe products that install Adobe Bridge, you can still preview camera raw files, but you can't edit them.

You can use the Camera Raw plug-in to adjust camera raw images in a number of ways that we discuss in the "Camera Raw and CS2" sidebar in Chapter 4, "Pixels and Raster Formats." When you make the adjustments, the original camera raw files are preserved. The adjustment settings are stored on a per-image basis in the Camera Raw database file, or in sidecar XMP files (stored in the same folder as the raw image). From the Camera Raw dialog box, you can save the processed files in Digital Negative (DNG), JPEG, TIFF, or Photoshop PSD formats.

Here are some ways of opening and processing camera raw files with Adobe Bridge. For example, you can:

  • Open Camera Raw files directly in Adobe Photoshop without opening the Camera Raw dialog box; simply select the camera raw images, hold down the Shift key, and choose File > Open, or Shift-double-click a camera raw image. Photoshop applies either the default settings or your adjusted settings. (In the Camera Raw dialog box, you can change the default settings and save adjusted settings for each camera.)
  • Process camera raw image files in the Camera Raw dialog box. Select one or more camera raw images and choose File > Open In Camera Raw (or press Command/Ctrl-R). The Camera Raw dialog box appears, with the Done button as the default for closing the dialog box after adjusting settings.
  • Choose File > Open With > Photoshop CS2. The Camera Raw dialog box appears, with Open as the default button for opening the images in Photoshop.

For more detailed information about working with camera raw files, we recommend Bruce Fraser's Real World Camera Raw with Adobe Photoshop CS2 from Peachpit Press.

Note these shortcuts for moving between Photoshop and Adobe Bridge:

  • Photoshop has a special shortcut for returning to Bridge from Photoshop. Choose File > Close And Go To Bridge (or press Shift-Command/Ctrl-W). This closes the current file and returns to Bridge.

Working with Adobe PDF and GoLive Files

If you're previewing an Adobe PDF file or InDesign CS2 template, Adobe Bridge includes a control for paging through the document, or jumping to a particular page (Figure 3-25). There is no way, however, to drag a file from Adobe Bridge into Adobe Acrobat. Adobe PDF is considered for the most part as a "final format," so there are limited ways a PDF file can be edited.

GoLive supports dragging assets from a Bridge window into one of its site windows for inclusion in a web project (Figure 3-26). This ensures that the asset is tracked and managed with the rest of your web content.


Figure 3-26 You can drag an asset from Adobe Bridge into a GoLive 2 site window.

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