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Tips before getting started with Adobe Illustrator, InDesign, & Photoshop

Below are some helpful tips to consider before starting a new document in Adobe Illustrator, InDesign & Photoshop. Customizing a document’s preferences can be done anytime in Illustrator, InDesign, or Photoshop while a document is open. Changes made to preferences while a documents is open will be exclusive to that document. However, if you open the preference window (Edit/Preferences or Ctrl K on Windows) in Illustrator, InDesign, or Photoshop with no open documents in the viewing window, it will change the preference defaults for all future documents. This can be very helpful to eliminate time tweaking all your preferences with each document.

EXAMPLE:

Adobe Illustrator – With Illustrator on screen and no documents open in your viewing window go to (Edit/Preferences or Ctrl K on Windows). Here you can change your preference settings for all future Illustrator documents. Some things I change are the General/Double Click to Isolate (leave unchecked), Guides & Grid/Guides (change color to red and style to dots, easier for me to see on screen), User Interface/Brightness (This is a CS6 feature). Setting up your preferences before you open any documents will save you from the default preference nuances in future documents.

Adobe InDesign – With InDesign on screen and no documents open in your viewing window go to (Edit/Preferences or Ctrl K on Windows). Here you can change your preference settings for all future InDesign documents. For the most part the default preferences are tolerable. I always double check Units & Increments/Ruler (Origin-Spread), (Horizontal & Vertical – Inches Decimal). This will make all future document sizing adjustments to familiar unit measurements (unless you enjoy the default settings to decipher picas and points). Spelling/Find & Dynamic Spelling (check all options). Display Performance/Options & Adjust View Settings – These are viewing options based on your computers processing power, Fast computers can probably handle high resolution raster & vector options but large multi-page projects may need to be set to proxy so your computer won’t get bogged down. Appearance of Black (Make all options set to display as rich black). Click ok to accept all changes and we’re almost done. In your Paragraph Styles pallet (Type/Paragraph Styles or Windows/Styles/Paragraph Styles) select [Basic Paragraph] and right click, select the option Edit “[Basic Paragraph]”… From here select Basic Character Formats from the left column, under font family & size choose the font you want as the default for every InDesign document opened in the future.  Be sure to save changes by clicking OK in the Paragraph Style Options Window. Changing from a serif or san serif font for your Basic Paragraph Style really helps your project along right from the start. After these simple changes are saved, any future document created will inherit these changes. Please note, to change the default font in any open document, repeat the Paragraph Styles/Basic Paragraph process while the document is open. Every text box thereafter will be in the newly changed font within that open document. Setting up your preferences before you open any documents will save you from the default preference nuances in future documents.

Adobe Photoshop – With Photoshop on screen and no documents open in your viewing window go to (Edit/Preferences or Ctrl K on Windows). Here you can change your preference settings for all future Photoshop documents. Here I double check the options to fit my needs. Performance/History & Cache/History States (Change from 20 to 200 or more, this lets you hit Ctrl+Alt+Z to undo up to the number you specify). If you are new to Photoshop hitting Ctrl Z will only toggle between the current state and previous change on your document. You must press Ctrl+Alt+Z to undo many steps back. Transparency & Gamut/Transparency Settings – If you would like to change the grid size, grid colors or eliminate the grid altogether on the lowest layer of Photoshop this is the place to do it. Guides, Grid & Slices/Guides.

These are some helpful tips before starting a new project in Adobe Illustrator, InDesign, and Photoshop that can save you time and adjust the preferences to your liking.

Jeremy G.