I owe quick and efficient production work to small little time savers here and there. With an approved design in hand, here are a few of the things I do to make building out a project move quickly:
I use saved workspaces.
Having an orderly physical space helps me focus. I find the same thing goes for my Creative Suite workspaces. Nevertheless, sometimes it’s necessary to separate individual panels and move them around for better access. The same goes for less-used panels that need to be opened from time to time. However, when I move on to a new task, it’s great to get a fresh start and reset my saved workspace.
I measure once.
I like to automate any measuring task. Take checkboxes, for example. Measuring the spaces between boxes is time-consuming and sometimes inaccurate, particularly with one-line and multiple-line entries. In this case, I like to inline the checkboxes and use paragraph styles to create a list with a negative first-line indent. Then it’s just a quick copy/paste to get the check box in the right place every time. If I can use a font character as a checkbox, I save more time, avoid the inline box, and add the character to the ‘bullets and numbering section’ in paragraph styles. In other instances, I group objects with empty/hidden boxes to act as spacers.
Thankfully the days of stepping and repeating boxes and manually measuring gutters to create grids are long gone. I use the hidden shortcut known as Gridify and save lots of time. It’s a powerful tool and, paired with the AddGuides script, makes quick work of laying out almost anything, particularly projects that require more organized layouts like activity books.
I import PDF comments into InDesign.
If my client uses a pdf workflow, I import returned galley comments directly into InDesign. This feature drastically cuts down the constant switching back and forth between programs. I can easily track resolved and unresolved changes and automatically accept some edits. While importing comments is tremendously helpful, I also double back to Acrobat to check my work in the end and make sure I’ve taken care of any corrections that didn’t import perfectly into InDesign.
I get acquainted with new features.
It’s easy to hit update and continue working along when a new version of Creative Suite pops up. However, staying current on significant updates can be a considerable advantage. With this in mind, I revisit updates and familiarize myself with new features when convenient.