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InDesign Split, Span and Track Changes

InDesign CS5 has new panels that reduce the steps needed to perform many tasks. One feature that InDesignR has lacked until now is the ability to span text across paragraphs. Until CS5 there was no easy way to span a long title of an article across several paragraphs. I encounter this problem many times as I build the layout for issues of MUSED Literary Magazine. I usually create a special text frame for long titles and manually place it into position above the article text. This, of course, requires me to also lower the text frames for the article text. Now, I can use the new paragraph formatting tools to easily span these titles across the top of the page.

The first step is to select the title that you wish to span across the page by placing your cursor within the text. Then choose Span Columns from the Control panel menu. In the Span Columns dialog box, set the number of columns to span across and the amount of space you want before and after the spanned text. InDesign will automatically span the title across the columns and add the white space as needed.

Another nice option that comes with this new feature is the ability to split a column of text into multiple columns while keeping the text in the same location within the article flow. With this option, you will select the text that you wish to split. Then using the new Span/Split Columns menu in the Control panel, set the number of columns. InDesign will evenly divide the selected text and format it into multiple columns in the same position. This paragraph attribute will remain with this text as the text flows from one text frame or column to the next.

The new Track Changes feature keeps an internal record of edits made to a document and makes tracking changes between team members much easier. Using the new User dialog box, each member of your team will be given a user name and assigned a unique color. As your team members make changes to the document, these changes will appear in the Story Editor window. The changes are highlighted with the color assigned to each team member, making it easy to organize. Using the Track Changes panel, you can easily accept or reject these changes.

The new Media panel takes over the tasks previously performed by several dialog boxes when working with media in InDesign. In this new panel, you can perform several tasks including choosing a skin for the media controller, scrubbing through the video and selecting a frame to become the poster or placeholder image for your media object.

Because AdobeR FlashR is still the most popular way to publish interactive content for the web, you will be glad to hear that InDesign CS5 can export your InDesign document as Flash swf. All of your buttons, media, interactive elements and transition effects will be seamlessly maintained. Personally, I couldn't wait to try this feature and I was pleasantly surprised how well my InDesign document converted into Flash.

*Adobe provided a review copy to me free of charge.



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