Adobe Bridge, Creative Cloud’s productivity secret weapon

I wrote this post in 2014 on my previous Scott Russell Publishing Services blog. As I still encounter people who don’t know about Bridge I thought it was worth revisiting.

Screenshot of Adobe Creative Cloud apps

Adobe Bridge is often overlooked yet it is one of Creative Cloud’s most surprising and powerful tools. If Bridge is still languishing, uninstalled, in your Creative Cloud apps list, here are ten killer features to get you using it…

  • Batch import & store images: Bridge can import images direct from your camera (or card reader) and store them in a location of your choice. It can also rename and make copies simultaneously.

  • Batch Apply metadata: Bridge makes it easy to develop your own metadata preset (containing your choice of key information such as keywords, description, copyright information and contact details) and can apply to batches of files when you need it.

  • Run the Camera Raw plugin: Many Photographers swear by Camera Raw’s unparalleled range of adjustment tools. What many people don’t realise is that Camera Raw is actually a plug-in that can be run in either Photoshop OR Bridge. Opening images in the Raw plug-in via Bridge leaves Photoshop free to do other tasks.

  • Browse files used inside InDesign documents: Designers are often frustrated by trying to locate files they imported into older InDesign documents. Bridge can browse the contents of any InDesign file and display the results just like any other search.

  • Create PDF contact sheets: Creating contact sheets is a necessary but time-consuming part of the designer and photographer’s workflow. Bridge’s output workspace can build bespoke contact sheets (with watermarks, file names, grid layouts and coloured backgrounds) and export them to PDF in seconds.

  • Smart searches: Bridge can search intelligently to find keywords, aspect ratios, colour modes, resolution and many other aspects of your files. Better still, it can save searches for rapid re-use later.

  • Place files into other apps: Having located a file within Bridge, it’s easy to drop it (or them) into your desired document by using the Place command.

  • Rating and prioritising: Rate and prioritise files using Bridge’s star ratings and colour coding system, allowing you to filter files according to your priorities. The wording of the labels is also customisable.

  • Filtering: When browsing any directory (or search result) Bridge can filter by many different criteria including file type, aspect ratio, colour profile, keyword, rating etc making identifying the file you want fast and straightforward.

  • Preview multi-page files: Save hours by browsing the actual pages of InDesign, Illustrator and PDF files, right in Bridge’s preview pane without waiting for the original file and application to open.Screenshot of Adobe Bridge

 

For more information on using Bridge in your Adobe workflow please contact us.

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Add a custom file icon in OSX El Capitain

Here’s a quick tip for Mac users. Customising file icons is slightly different using El Capitain as we discovered when we attempted to add the creativelab icon to a USB disc.

  1. In the Finder, navigate to the file with the icon you wish to use. A pixel based format such as Jpeg or PNG is preferred.

New icon

2. Open the file in Preview.

 

Screenshot of opening file in Apple Preview app

Open in Preview

3. Choose File>Select all and then File>Copy to copy the selection.

 

Screenshot of Select all and copy process

Select all and copy

4. Back in the Finder, select the file or disc and then File>Get Info

 

Screenshot of info pane of file to be changed

Get Info

5. Highlight the icon at the top left of the Info panel, select File>Paste. The icon is replaced.

 

Screenshot of pasted new icon

Paste new icon

To revert to the original icon, select the icon to be removed then select File>Cut. The original icon will be restored.

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Quickly resize InDesign frames

It’s good practice to keep InDesign frames tight and accurate to their contents and there’s a small and little known trick for doing so.

Select the frame that’s too big (or too small) for its contents using the black arrow. Double click the middle bottom grab handle. The frame will snap to the bottom edge of the content. This works for graphic and text frames.

Screenshot of InDesign text frame with excess space
InDesign text frame with excess space

 

Screenshot of InDesign frame fitted to content
InDesign frame fitted to content
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Five ways to Edit PDFs using Acrobat Pro

Acrobat DC has the most sophisticated editing tools of any version of Acrobat. You can now edit the contents of any PDF file using Acrobat’s own tools or pass them to external editors (such as Illustrator or Photoshop) if you need to. After opening a PDF, select Edit PDF from the Acrobat Tools pane. Acrobat will open the document tab with the editing toolbar displayed at the top of the document window.

Screenshot of Acrobat Edit PDF function

1) Edit text. Select the Edit Text and Images icon and place the cursor the desired text. You can type straight into the text frame. Note that Acrobat will reflow the text and expand the frame if necessary as you type.

Screenshot of Acrobat Edit text functions
Edit text

2) Change text appearance. You can reformat the text by selecting it and changing the typeface, colour, size etc from the formatting options displayed in the right hand panel.

Screenshot of Acrobat Format text options
Format text

3) Add text. If you want to add text outside an existing text block, select the Add text icon and drag across the area you wish to type in. Acrobat will draw a new text frame.

Screenshot of Acrobat Add text function
Add text

4) Edit an object/image. Select the Edit icon then click an object or image. Use the Objects tools on the right to rotate, flip, crop or align.

Screenshot of Acrobat Edit Objects options
Edit Objects

5) Edit an object or image outside Acrobat. Select the object using the edit tool then either right click or use the Edit Using dropdown to choose the external editing application. By default, vector graphics will be edited by Adobe Illustrator and images will be edited by Adobe Photoshop where these applications are also installed. You can also choose different applications as you prefer.

Screenshot of Acrobat Edit Using right click function
Edit Using right click

Creativelab offers bespoke training and consultancy services in using Adobe Acrobat and PDFs, contact us if you’d like to know more.

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Five Tips For Making Accessible PDFs

Collage of accessibility screenshot

It’s becoming more and more important to ensure that electronic documents are accessible. A set of Internet standards already exists to ensure assistive technologies (such as screen reader applications) can identify and navigate content online but this is increasingly becoming a requirement for standard desktop documents too. The good news is that you can create accessible PDF documents using a variety of applications including Adobe InDesign, Acrobat Pro and MS Office.

At creativelab we’ve been spending some time investigating current approaches and tools, here are our top five tips for creating accessible PDFs.

1.It’s much more effective to make source documents accessible than to make subsequent PDFs accessible. Acrobat has a full set of accessibility tools as well as a thorough accessibility checker but it’s much faster to set up good practices using Word and InDesign.

2. When working with source documents, do use built-in features such as Paragraph and Character Styles, Table styles, Tables of Contents, Bookmarks they make formatting faster but they also add accessibility functions automatically.

 

Screenshot of InDesign Paragraph Styles

InDesign Paragraph Styles

3. Metadata is important in accessibility so make sure you understand how to add it (MS Office and Adobe applications have built-in metadata fields) and also what terms to use. You may need to develop an organisational taxonomy if you have a large number of users and documents.

 

Screenshot of MS Word metadata panel

MS Word metadata panel

4. Do use Acrobat Pro’s accessibility checker to verify your document’s compliance but don’t expect it to pass first time. Even the best configured document will normally require some manual remediation (even if it’s just a visual check), you can use Acrobat’s accessibility tools to complete the process.

 

Screenshot of Acrobat accessibility checker

Acrobat accessibility checker

5. Do get some advice on what accessibility standard you are trying to meet so you can be sure the adjustments you make are the right ones. Acrobat Pro uses the current w3c standards in it’s accessibility checker. In the UK, the Web Accessibility Guidelines are the commonly used reference.

Creativelab offers training and support in creating accessible documents from both MS Office and Adobe applications, contact us if you’d like to know more.

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