Merge Textframes for InDesign Featured on Lynda.com

Justin | InDesign,links | Friday, May 1st, 2009

I just saw that David Blatner has featured my Merge Textframes script on his Lynda.com course, InDesign CS4: 10 Free Must-Have Scripts. I highly recommend David Blatner’s Real World books if you’re looking to go from knowing a topic/application fairly well to becoming an expert. I’ve read ten of thousands of pages in software and design books and David Blatner’s books have been among the best. It’s very cool to see something I made appear on Lynda.com (also a great resource) and it’s twice the honor to have it posted by David Blatner.

New Extension: Send Colors from InDesign and Illustrator to Flash

Justin | Animate/Flash,design,ExtendScript,extensions,Illustrator,InDesign,tips | Friday, December 5th, 2008

Following the merge text extensions for Flash, Illustrator, and InDesign, Keith Gilbert wrote me wondering about getting swatch information from InDesign to Flash via XFL or by way of importing an Adobe Swatch Exchange (ASE) file into the Flash swatches panel. There are several stumbling blocks in the way of such an extension. First, finding a way for extendscript or JSFL to read the contents of an ASE file (which is not open source and not plaintext) proves to be quite difficult. Second, JSFL (the Flash scripting language) doesn’t have any access (currently) to the swatches panel.


BREAKING NEWS (12/6/08): I noticed that the new Kuler extension for Flash CS4 has an “add to swatches” button, and it actually adds swatches to the swatches panel. After some decompiling and a lot of detective work, I found an undocumented JSFL call that was added to CS4. The feature is undocumented for a reason: it sends encoded XML data, and if the data is faulty, it crashes Flash. I have a few test cases working and I’m confident that I can add it to this extension, so the swatches will go right in the Flash swatches panel, rather than onto the stage, though it will only work in CS4. Be on the lookout for an update in the next few days.

UPDATE (12/7/08): Updated to version 1.1.0. If you have Flash CS4, the swatches will now go right into your Flash Swatches panel. Hooray!

There does seem to be a lot usefulness to such an extension, since XFL creates a new workflow between InDesign and Flash, and the Illustrator importer for Flash is fantastic, but neither one loads any of the swatches from the original document. I’ve certainly spent my fair share of time opening up the swatch properties, making sure the swatch is RGB or hex and copying all three fields one at a time.

So, I decided to plow ahead and see what I could come up with. The results are below. This extension takes the swatches from your current InDesign or Illustrator document and sends them to a new layer on the Flash stage. You can then use the eyedropper to pick up the colors, or you can add them to your swatches panel individually (similar to this demo of the Kuler panel).
UPDATE (12/7/08): If you have Flash CS4, you can skip the step above. Version 1.1.0 of this extension will send the Illustrator or InDesign swatches right to your swatches panel in Flash.

This extension will transfer spot and process colors of all varieties (RGB, CMYK, LAB, HSB). Rather than converting the CMYK with my own function, I used the applications themselves to convert the colors to RGB for Flash, so the transfer fidelity is quite good. It will ignore gradients, tints, patterns and fancy stuff like that. If you want to get your gradients into Flash see the bonus tip below.

InDesign to Flash CS4


Or, here’s what InDesign to Flash CS3 would look like.

Illustrator to Flash CS4


Or, here’s what Illustrator to Flash CS3 would look like.

Downloads and more below the fold. (more…)

Merge TextFrames Extension for Adobe InDesign

Justin | ExtendScript,extensions,InDesign | Friday, November 28th, 2008

By request—following similar extensions for Flash and Illustrator—here’s an extension for InDesign that merges multiple textframes into one, while retaining the original styles.

Because of properties within InDesign, this extension is actually the most powerful of the three. It accepts characters in the separator field for hard returns, soft returns, and tabs (as well as any combination of any other standard characters).

There are also options in the dialog box that control the size of the textframe once it’s been merged (see the variations in the graphic down the page).

Merge Textframes Extension for Adobe InDesign

Download and instructions below… (more…)