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As any long term user of Adobe’s InDesign will tell you, the tool palette gets a lot of use. It’s important to understand its basic functions in order to get the most out of your design project. If you’re just beginning to learn your way around this design software, it can be helpful to know that hovering your mouse over each tool for a moment will produce a pop-up with the name of the tool. A good portion of becoming comfortable with this software and using it to successfully design print on demand or web to print products is simply learning the full language of the functions, so hovering over any icon you aren’t yet familiar with will soon have you up to speed.

The tool palette in Adobe’s InDesign has a feature common to many other palettes across various other platforms and software suites. Known as the flyout, this little arrow at the bottom corner of many of the icons in the tools palette will display hidden or additional specialized options for each function when clicked.

The next major feature of the tools palette, known as swatches, is located a bit further down. These swatches allow for the assignment of color throughout your project. The swatches section of the tool palette displays both the fill color, the color taking up the body of an object or space, as well as the stroke color, which is the color of any outlines. You will also notice an arrow that allows you to swap which of these colors two you’re focusing on with a single click.

If you’ve been tinkering with slightly different shades and hues only to feel ultimately unsatisfied with your color choices, you can revert an area or object back to default coloration by pressing the small default color button on the swatch section of the tool palette. If you haven’t selected any text, you can also press “D” in order to do the same.

The next functions are essential to print on demand and web to print applications. Beneath the swatches section of the tool palette you will notice two icons, one of which is a box. This box icon tells the InDesign software to apply the currently selected colors to boxes or objects. The other icon, the capital letter T, conversely tells the software to apply selected colors to text only. This is a useful tool whenever you have occasion to create boxes or objects with text inside them, as you can quickly choose whether a certain color will be applied to the box, the text, or both simultaneously.

Beneath these color applicator icons are three more icons which respectively apply single colors, gradients of color, or no color whatsoever to a selected object. For example, selecting a box you have already colored green, and then clicking the no-color icon, will remove the green color from the selected box. Becoming proficient with these quick shortcuts to handling color will drastically increase your overall design speed.

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BY PRISMAApril 14, 2010

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