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July/August 2012 Newsletter

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July/August 2012 Software Closet

Click the links below to download each individual item.

Helpful Utilities

CheatSheet (free) is a nifty utility that shows you available keyboard shortcuts for the current application. After you launch the app, merely holding down the Command key will bring up a list, sorted by category. Find the shortcut you need and either memorize the shortcut or click it to perform that task. You can even print out the list of shortcuts and choose how long the delay is when you press and hold the Command key.

Last 5: Simple Time Tracking
Last 5 (free, Mac App Store) not only tracks your time, but forces you to check in at intervals that you set. Configure individual tasks in advance or on the fly, and just let the app know what you've been doing since the last check-in. You can view how you've spent your time using online reports, viewable as charts, tables, a calendar, or a downloadable .csv file. After the 45-day trial period, you can upgrade to a $5/month subscription that will give you the option to group tasks into projects and view your project in the dashboard.

InDesign Goodies

AsciiMe: ASCII Art
The free AsciiMe Extension from Loic Aigon lets you create old-school ASCII art from any InDesign object. You retain control over the final rendering of the design by choosing the font and settings used to create the artwork. Aigon suggests creating a paragraph style so any tweaks you make can be easily updated, and to maintain consistency.

ReleaseAnyAnchor Script
Though releasing an anchored object in InDesign can be achieved from a contextual menu item, an inline object involves, at best, a two-step cut and paste process—and the menu route adds an additional step. Scripter Dave Saunders makes this task so much easier with his free ReleaseAnyAnchor script. To use it, just select the inline graphic and double-click the script in the Scripts panel. The image is now sitting right where it was, but it's no longer connected in any way to the text frame.

When InDesign table cells are merged, all selected rows and columns become one large cell, and the text from within each cell becomes a new line. With the free SmartCellMerge script from Indiscripts, you can select multiple cells across rows and columns and have each row's cells merge into one. The rows are maintained, and the script inserts a tab where the column separators once were. SmartCellMerge has a simple interface that lets you choose whether to merge columns or rows and which character to use as a separator—tab, paragraph, or forced line break—in the final merge. The information entered in this dialog box is application-persistent, so you won't need to enter your settings each time you use the script.

Illustrator Goodies

MakePointType Converts to Point Type
Adobe Illustrator has two kinds of text frames: Area and Point. Area type requires a bounding box for the text, much like InDesign's type frames. When the frame is resized, the text reflows. Point text is different: when its frame is resized, the text is distorted to fit. To convert Area text to Point text, try the free MakePointType script from Kelso Cartography. This is especially useful with small bits of type that need to be adjusted individually, such as map labels.

Free Art & Templates

Free Letterpress Ornaments
Briar Press, at www.briarpress.org, is a website devoted to letterpress and the history of printing in the U.S. It has a remarkable, free collection of carefully reproduced ornaments, frames and initial caps from original letterpress blocks, in vector EPS format. It also lists many companies who operate letterpress equipment, and maintains free classified ads for letterpress equipment.

Free Fonts

Imprenta Royal NonPareil Beveled

K22 Ambelyn Condensed

K22 Eureka No Frills

Suns and Stars




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