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Best Ever Offer for InDesign Magazine

September 25th, 2009 | by Michael Murphy

OK…so this is a straigt-up promotion. I admit that and make no apologies for it, because it’s for what I have always said is the best (reasonable sum of) money an InDesign user can spend to advance their knowledge of the application: InDesign Magazine.

From now through Wednesday, September 30, you have a chance to get a 2-year subscription to InDesign magazine for the lowest price I’ve ever seen it for: $49. That subscription includes every back issue of the magazine (PDF magazines never run out of copies!), and…as part of this offer, a free t-shirt. C’mon…who doesn’t love getting a free t-shirt?

So act now. Go to and follow the instructions on that page to take advantage of the offer while it lasts.

Style Mapping Bug Fixed with 6.0.4 Update

September 22nd, 2009 | by Michael Murphy

As reported in an earlier post the custom style mapping feature available in the Microsoft Word Import Options dialog has been broken since InDesign CS4 hit the shelves almost a year ago. Today, with the release of the 6.0.4 update for both Windows and Mac (not yet posted on the InDesign Mac Updates page, but available from InDesign’s Help > Updates… menu), this error–along with other odd bugs and behaviors–is fixed.

I haven’t tested the style mapping fix on Windows (I’d welcome any blog reader’s experience on whether or not it’s working as advertised on that platform), but I tested it on the Mac and the functionality has been restored successfully. Even after a quit and restart of InDesign, my custom style map preset was preserved along with all of the style settings associated with it.

For those of you who haven’t yet updated to 6.0.4, and the many of you who responded with outrage to my earlier post about this, get yourself updated and back in business. I have no evidence that my earlier post had any influence on Adobe, but the fact that so many people seem to have filed bug reports about it may have helped significantly toward getting the problem the required engineering resources to fix it. Whatever the impetus, I’m glad it’s back.

Happy Birthday, InDesign

August 30th, 2009 | by Michael Murphy

On August 31, 1999, Adobe announced the immediate shipping of the very first commercially-available version of InDesign. The question ten years ago was not so much, “is it better than QuarkXPress” so much as “does it have a chance of unseating an entrenched page layout standard?” What a difference ten years make.

I first saw an Adobe demo of the yet-to-be-released InDesign 1.0 at the HOW Design Conference in Dallas in June of 1999, a few months before its release. I wasn’t looking to switch, didn’t have the budget for it personally or at my job, and didn’t really believe that it was possible to steer the page layout software industry in a new direction. But I was intrigued. I saw a respect for typography that had been missing on the desktop for the past ten years. I saw some innovative features, and an elegant interface and toolset that reminded me of PageMaker, which I had long ago been forced to give up because of the industry-wide shift to QuarkXPress. But I hoped—really, sincerely hoped—that it would succeed.

I didn’t start dabbling with InDesign until version 2.0, and didn’t start using it in earnest until InDesign CS, at which point, I turned my back on the old regime forever. Since then, InDesign has quite literally changed my life. That’s not something you can say about most software, but it’s entirely true in my case. InDesign has transformed how I work every day, and how I approach my work. My passion for the product has also taught me a lot about myself. Since embracing it and learning all I could, I looked for a way to share that knowledge and that transformation with my fellow designers. That resulted in The InDesigner podcast, which opened the door to magazine articles, seminar workshops, teaching assignments, consulting work, a book, and more exciting projects on the horizon.

My personal association with InDesign has not only made my working life easier, it has broadened my professional life in amazing ways. I have become connected to a global community of fellow designers and many other brilliant software experts. I’ve learned as much, if not more, about myself as much as I have about techniques, features and workflows.

So, today—on InDesign’s 10th birthday—I’d like to thank all of those Adobe engineers, designers, type experts, product managers, and anyone else who had a hand in bringing this product into the world, as well as to all of those who’ve shepherded it along into healthy maturity in the ten years since. My story—and I’m sure that of many others—is likely an end-result of their efforts that was never anticipated. Raise a glass…pat yourself on the back…however you reward yourself: you’ve earned it.

The InDesign Conference: Washington, DC

August 26th, 2009 | by Michael Murphy

I’ll be returning to the Washington, DC area in to speak at MOGO Media’s InDesign Conference, which takes place from November 4th through November 6th, 2009. At the conference, I’ll be doing these three separate hour-long sessions:

  • Styles Strategy
  • Making InDesign and Excel Work Together
  • GREP Find/Change and GREP Styles

There will, of course, be other stellar InDesign experts there including Sandee Cohen, Anne-Marie Concepcion, Claudia McCue, Jim Maivald (who wrote the XML/CSS chapter of my book), Russell Viers, as well as Adobe’s own Rufus Deuchler, Noha Edell and Michael Ninness.

Check out the MOGO Media site for a complete schedule and session descriptions, and to register online. You can save $100 off the regular price if you register before October 2, 2009 and an additional $50 off if you register before September 15 with the discount code MMEB09JF (note that the code is case sensitive).

Episode 53…sort of.

August 5th, 2009 | by Michael Murphy

What was going to be Episode 53 has morphed into an hour-long e-seminar for Adobe called “Fast and Easy Form Design and Distribution with InDesign and Acrobat.” You can watch the whole thing at

Restore Style Mapping Presets: Report This Bug!

May 25th, 2009 | by Michael Murphy

UPDATE: The bug detailed below has been fixed in the 6.0.4 update of Adobe InDesign, released 22-Sept-2009. See details in this related post.

If you haven’t already noticed, a very useful feature that’s been around since InDesign CS has been broken in InDesign CS4. I noticed myself when preparing for a recent seminar in Washington, D.C. After creating a Style Mapping preset from the Microsoft Word Import Options dialog, I opened a template and tried to import a Word file using that preset only to find that none of the 20 or so style associations I’d just made had been preserved in the preset. While the preset name was available from the preset menu at the top of the dialog, none of the settings associated with that preset were preserved.

This is a known bug. Adobe is aware of it, but as of now it is not on the agenda to be fixed within the lifespan of CS4. In order for this to be acted on, InDesign users need to get Adobe’s attention focused on it. … (read more)

Episode 52: Acrobat-Friendly Form Design, Part 1

April 22nd, 2009 | by Michael Murphy

After a seven-month hiatus…the podcast returns!

Recently, I’ve been doing a lot of work designing forms, which present their own unique design challenges, one of which is that more forms are being completed digitally as PDFs. As we’ll see in this episode, when you’re designing a form to be as Acrobat-friendly as possible, the same principles that make for a clean, function, well-organized form on the page also lend themselves to fast and easy form field recognition in Acrobat.

Watch the episode here (14:58 | 49.6MB), or you can subscribe via iTunes.

Download the InDesign Interchange (.inx) file with the flexible form line style used in this episode

The InDesigner on Twitter and Facebook

April 7th, 2009 | by Michael Murphy

With Facebook and Twitter all the rage these days, I’ve finally thrown my hat into the social networking arena (kicking and screaming, and later than everyone else, as ususal).

Actually, it’s more like a toe in the water. I’m still grappling with the real value of these networks, but I’m starting to use them as ways to update fans of the podcast and my book in a more immediate way than the blog does. Of course, the blog will continue, and the podcasts are starting up again very soon, but this is one more channel to provide quick updates for those interested.

You can follow me on Twitter, or join my Facebook fan pages for the book and the podcast. My status updates and tweets on these networks will include information about upcoming classes, seminars, projects (and there are some good ones coming up!) and conferences, but I won’t clog your mobile phones with mundane details like what I’m watching on TV. For now, at least, I’m keeping it strictly business.

If you dare–and if you care–follow along!

Save 35% on InDesign Styles at

March 30th, 2009 | by Michael Murphy

Peachpit Press is offering a 35% off list price discount on Adobe InDesign Styles on the web site and use the discount code INDESIGNSTYLES.

The Book is Done!

March 24th, 2009 | by Michael Murphy

InDesign CS4 StylesAfter six months, tens of thousands of words, and many late nights, I have finally completed my book for Adobe Press, “Adobe InDesign Styles: How to Create Better, Faster Text and Layouts” which is available for pre-order at and at and will be shipping in the second half of April, 2009. I’m both glad to be done with it and very pleased with the end result: the first ever exploration of every InDesign style type, and all other features in the application that are “wired into” styles.

As many of you know from the podcast, I’ve got a passion for styles that’s finally seen a comprehensive outlet in this book. Below is the final table of contents for the book, so you can see what’s included between its covers, as well as in two bonus chapters that you can download for free when you register your copy of the book on the Peachpit web site (it doesn’t matter where you actually bought the book). I wrote way too much to fit in its 256 pages, but the material that got pulled from print will still see the light of day as … (read more)