After you spend some time with any piece of software, you start to get used to it. You learn ts ins and outs, and you start to wish, “if only it would do…”
The great thing about publishing software is that you can often get that wish. All major publishing programs are built to be extended. This means that other software companies can write programs that add features to Adobe InDesign, QuarkXPress and other popular desktop publishing programs.
Plugins range from free to thousands of dollars and from adding small improvements to changing the function and interface of the program. We thought we would highlight some of the lowercost plugins that can help you make the most out of the programs you already own.
InDesign is a very powerful program with a ton of commands. Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to create your own keyboard shortcuts for those commands that you use often? Well now you can, for free. A company called DTP Tools makes a free plugin called Keyboard hortcuts that lets you create different keyboard shortcuts.
It would also be nice to have multiple undos and redos, and while we are at wishing, how about making it possible to return to a specific undo or redo like Photoshop’s History palette? Multido is a free multiple undo/redo plugin for InDesign made by 65bit
Software. It lets you move backward and forward through your previous actions.
Have you ever had to optimize the images someone placed in an InDesign document, say by resizing and cropping them in Photoshop so that they fit in the picture frame at the correct resolution? Well, once you have done it twice, you might want to check out LinkOptimizer, a $139.95 plugin by Zevrix Solutions. It analyzes your images and then optimizes them to fit the visible frame at 100 percent size.
Many companies use Quark XTension technology to extend QuarkXPress, including Quark itself. If you use QuarkXPress 7, you need to check out the free XPert Tools Pro collection from Quark. These 15 free tools add a host of improved features to XPress. Quark built many of these features into QuarkXPress 8, so downloading this free kit might keep your XPress 7 useful for a long time.
Badia Software is an InDesign and Quark plugin company. It makes a useful set of preflighting and batch-printing tools called Printools for $120 per copy. This set
of six tools looks useful for designers who do a lot of Quark or InDesign production.
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© Action Graphics, 2012.