Thursday, September 23, 2010

A new use for InDesign Notes: Sub Conditional Text!

For awhile now, I've been wanting a way to have multiple levels of conditional text. Let's say that when the main option is Option 1, I also have two color choices available: Blue triangle and yellow triangle. But neither Blue triangle nor Yellow Triangle is available for Option 2.

I have been using conditional text to turn on and off the appropriate main options. But for the additional sub-options, I have run into problems trying to find the best way to have them available within the text flow. Usually, I just put the extra graphic off to the side somewhere on the pasteboard. The problem with that is when the text reflows, that pasteboard graphic might be somewhere else, on another page's pasteboard, and I have to go looking for it.

So I thought about using a layered PSD file, and using Object  Layer Options to turn on and off the appropriate layers for Blue Triangle or Yellow Triangle. But I don't want to do that. I want an inline visual indicator (and layered PSDs don't offer that).

Today I figured out that by converting inline graphics to Notes, you can create your own quasi-sub-conditional text. InDesign conditional text only allows for either visible or invisible (not if/then). So if I have conditions (blue triangle and yellow triangle) that are dependent upon other conditions (Option 1) being visible, I need to be able to choose which one is showing when I make Option 1 visible in the Conditional Text panel.

Enter "Convert to Note." I've honestly never found this feature useful. But for this purpose, it will be quite handy. I can turn on the main conditional text, and then using "Convert to Note", I can keep both sub-options (Blue Triangle and Yellow Triangle) available as independent objects within the text flow. But they will only be available when Option 1 is visible.

For another great article about InDesign Notes, check out this one at InDesign Secrets.

Author edit: 9-14-13: The amazing team over at Rorohiko took on the challenge of subconditional text and developed a plugin specifically for this purpose. I wrote an article about it at InDesign Secrets: Finally! Improved Conditional Text 

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

How to Edit Font Properties Within a PDF Sticky Note

I use a lot of sticky notes in my publishing workflow. Typically, I type out all of my questions in a separate document (like a Google doc, or a draft email), and then when I am ready to send a proof to the client, I put my questions into the PDF as sticky notes. The problem is, when I copy and paste text into a sticky note, it is never the same size as the default sticky note font settings. And that just looks tacky.

So, it took me a while, but I finally figured out how to edit the font properties within a sticky note. The trick is using the Properties toolbar, and having the right thing selected. If your Properties toolbar isn't showing, go to View>Properties Toolbar (or Command + E on a mac, or Ctrl + E on windows).

Now, make a sticky note and click on it. See how the information in the Properties bar reflects your sticky note? That's because the Properties toolbar is contextual, and its options will change based on what you have selected.

Now, select the text within the sticky note. See how the Properties Toolbar options change? Now the toolbar says, "Pop-Up Text Properties."

Here is where you can reduce the size of you font. The third button from the left, when you hover over it says: "Click to make the text smaller in the selected typewritten text."

Interestingly enough, you can only edit the size and color of the sticky note text when you click on the sticky note as described above. You can edit the content of the text using the comments tab at the bottom, but you apparently cannot edit the font typeface. See how the text is highlighted in the comments tab, but the Properties toolbar still says "Sticky Note Properties"? What's weird is that when you are editing the Pop-up text Properties, you can still change the color of the sticky note (though none of the other sticky note attributes).

The difference between editing the font properties of a sticky note, versus editing the sticky note itself would sort of be like editing text properties within a frame in InDesign, versus editing the frame itself. The frame is the container for the text. Likewise, in Acrobat, the Sticky Note is the container for the text.

I am still working on figuring out how to change the typeface within a sticky note. From what I've read online, everyone else that uses sticky notes is also still trying to figure this out. If you know how, please post a comment and let me know.

I thought Acrobat had some method for specifying typeface in sticky note (Because if I paste in serif type from an InDesign document, the type comes in not only with a serif typeface, but also with the paragraph indents from the InDesign document.)

But click away, and then click back on the sticky note. POOF! The serif typeface and indents magically disappear. But the font is still smaller than the standard sticky note default.

Weird! One last thing, I think the Acrobat team should coordinate their dictionaries with the InDesign team so that InDesign doesn't come as misspelled in a sticky note.

Author edit: 7-10-14: Need to change the font size multiple sticky notes at once? Check out my related article: How to Globally Change Font Size of Text in a PDF Sticky Note.