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…)

New Technologies Introduced at Adobe MAX 2008

Justin | conferences,links,Misc | Tuesday, November 25th, 2008

I found this great rundown from Sönke Rohde, and this one from Serge Jespers, on the new Adobe technologies introduced at MAX.

Branden Hall has great article on Alchemy, a new technology which compiles C/C++ into Actionscript. This will allow Flash and Flex developers to take advantage of powerful open-source C/C++ code libraries.

One of the underlying themes at MAX that was interesting for me is that many of the applications are moving to open, XML-based formats (INDL, FXG, FXP, XFL), which will allow people like me to write applications that interact with those files. Combine that with the ability to create desktop applications with AIR, and new extensibility tools like Switchboard and PatchPanel, and all of the sudden I’ve got a tremendous amount of control over my workflow. There’s also a lot of potential to create tools for others to use.

Looks like recorded sessions from MAX North America will be available (for free) in the next two weeks or so at I planning on checking out many of the sessions that I missed as there were far too many good sessions to choose from.

Liveblogging from MAX NA 2008:

Jen DeHaan
Peter DeHaan
(2) (3)
Serge Jespers (2) (3) (4)

Announcing Merge Text Extension for Adobe Illustrator

Justin | design,ExtendScript,extensions,Illustrator | Sunday, November 23rd, 2008

Following the release of my Combine Textfields extension for Flash, I’ve put together a similar extension for Adobe Illustrator. This extension installs a script that will merge text (including text on a path) into one text object, while retaining the style attributes of the individual pieces, including character styles as well as paragraph styles (if the separator includes a return character).

Anyone who’s tried to edit text from a PDF opened in Illustrator knows how frustrating it can be to make simple text edits when the text is broken up. This extension reduces that headache.

Special thanks to David Van Brink for posting the Omino Dialog Maker. His time-saving code was used to produce the dialog box in this extension.

Download Options

Installation Instructions

JSX or JS file:

  1. Place the MergeText_AI.jsx (or MergeText_AI_CS.js) into the Scripts directory within your Illustrator application directory:

Windows > C:\Program Files\Adobe\Adobe Illustrator {version}\Presets\en_US\Scripts
Mac OS X > Applications/Adobe Illustrator {version}/Presets/Scripts

Note: In CS4, the directory path will include a region directory (e.g. Adobe Illustrator CS4/Presets/en_US/Scripts).

MXP file or ZXP file (CS4 or newer):

  1. Double-click on the mxp file to install using Adobe Extension Manager.

Note: Adobe has abandoned Adobe Extension Manager as of CC 2015, even though it’s still installed. You can use the JSX file in that case (installation instructions above).


In Adobe Illustrator, select the text the you want to merge together and go to File > Scripts > MergeText_AI. If you’re using Illustrator CS3 or CS4, you will be prompted with a dialog box where you can choose your sorting orientation and a custom separator. If you’re using a version earlier than CS3, you will not be prompted with a dialog; the script will run using the default settings sorting topmost, then leftmost, with a separator of “[><]”. You can then run a Find and Replace and replace the separator with the characters of your choice.

How to Get a Job In Animation, Design, or Development

Justin | links | Friday, November 14th, 2008

Ickydime has a great post on How to become a … [flash developer, designer, 3D animator, etc].

I can honestly say that I went through all of these steps, except the internship phase, and that’s probably only because I started on my career path after finishing college. It’s solid advice if you’re looking for a job in animation, design, or development.


Justin | design,links | Thursday, November 13th, 2008

I’ve long thought that PNG has been an underused format, especially among designers who should know better. This illustration explains the strengths of the PNG format quite well.

The one thing that it doesn’t mention is that PNG is the only common (web) image format that supports 8-bit transparency. GIF only supports 1-bit transparency (transparent or opaque). So if you want a non-rectangular shape with a transparent background or a nice smooth drop shadow around the edges, PNG is the format for the job.