Type Tamer



Adobe Tips


Columns are balanced when the baselines of type on all columns on a page line up with each other. This is relatively easy to achieve in programs such as Ventura Publisher which put type in frames, and define multiple columns within the frame. You can just set a paragraph attribute to tell the program to balance columns and it will add small amounts of extra space between paragraphs so that all the columns will balance.
Pagemaker, with its separate text blocks for each column cannot use this method. There is however a way to achieve balanced columns, but it can be done it just requires a bit of preplanning when designing your publication.
Pagemaker allows you to set up an invisible leading grid on which you must base the styles in your publication. For example, if you choose a leading size of 12 point for your publication, then set the leading of your body text as 12 point, you can set up your paragraph styles so that the baselines of all paragraphs with 12 point leading will be aligned. Pagemaker does this by inserting a small amount of extra space after paragraphs which would throw the leading grid of the following paragraph off the invisible grid.
In order for paragraph baselines to work, the paragraphs to be aligned must all have their leading set to the same point size (which must be a specified number, not "Auto") and the paragraph before the paragraph to be aligned must have the "Paragraph - Rules - Options - Align next paragraph to grid box checked and the "Grid size" set to the same point size as the leading of the paragraph to be aligned.
This sounds a bit complicated, but once you have played with the settings and got a feel for how they work it is very easy to use. It will save you a lot of time if you are used to manually adding space between paragraphs to get your columns to balance.
This feature has been available in Pagemaker since version 4. Version 6 has a new Plug In called Balance Columns which does an entirely different thing to the baseline method of balancing we have just looked at. This plug in lets you select a number of text blocks and choose some options for alignment and it will then adjust the sizes of the text blocks as best as possible to equalise their lengths. Beware sometimes this may cause text to drop off from the last line, and it will not change any paragraph spacing to align baselines of text.

A quick way to change a style definition is to click the text cursor on a paragraph so that the style name is highlighted in the styles palette. If you then hold down the control key and click on that style name in the styles palette the edit style menu will appear. Also, to quickly create a new style from existing formatted text, select it with your text cursor, then select Define Styles and press New. The new style will take on the attributes of the selected text. Great if a customer makes a change of typeface or something and you have done a quick and rough job and not used styles to start with, as at least once you have fixed the job using styles and they decide to put it back how it was it will be easy the next time!
You can also type style names in Pagemaker from your word processing package or database report generator, just put the style names in <angle brackets> and select Read Styles when importing the file into Pagemaker.

Wrapping Text Around Graphics
A great design element for many styles of documents is text wrapping around an object. Adobe Pagemaker allows for this, with a text wrap feature.
To access this, place your image into the publication in the place that you would like it. Don't worry that it obscures the text.
Next, select the image and click on Element > Text Wrap. This will bring up the dialog box for the text wrapping options.

There are three main options for the Text Wrap.

  • The first is the Wrap option, which decides if the text should flow over the object (this is the default), or if the text should wrap around and avoid the object.
  • The second is the Text flow option, which decides if the text stops dead at an image, and continues onto the next container, or if the text flows both above and below the image, or if the text flows all around the image, but not over it.
  • The third defines the default standoffs from the object. That is, how far away from the object should the text start to wrap. The default for this is 4mm. To achieve the same result as we have here: under Wrap option, select the middle icon (where the text flows around the object); and under the text flow, select the right hand icon (where the text flows on all sides of the object). Leave the standoff at the default of 4mm, and click on OK. You'll notice that the text is now flowing around a square box the size of the image. Although this may be the effect you are looking for if you have a rectangular photo, we can also change the shape of the wrap to more suit the image that we have.

If you look at your selected image, you'll notice that in addition to the square handles on the corners and the sides, there are 4 diamond handles along with a dotted rectangle outside the image.
To change the shape of the wrap box, simply grab one of the diamond handles and drag it to a new position. This will change the size and shape of the box to suit the position of the new corner. If you want to add a new handle, just click on the dotted line, and it will create a new 'corner' in the place that you clicked.
With a bit of experimentation, you should be able to use these techniques to wrap text around pretty well any graphic that you like and add impact to your publications.

One of the things that makes Pagemaker very simple is the way in which it will store internal copies of all graphic elements, so you don't have to worry about a bunch of externally linked files when you archive your job to disk for backup or to send off for imagesetting.
This feature is great for small simple jobs, but can cause problems when the files you work on become larger or contain many copies of the same graphic. Once your level of proficiency moves beyond beginner you should take some time to learn how the linking features of Pagemaker work and then use them to your advantage.
Keeping all copies of graphic elements external to the program has a number of advantages: it saves disk space, allows multiple people to work with the same set of graphics and allows you to make last minute changes to a graphic, such as retouching a photo or converting from RGB to CMYK at any time without risk of the changes not appearing in the finished job. Also if a graphic is stored externally and used many times within the publication you only have to keep the one copy on disk, and don't have to worry about the size of your file blowing out to something unmanageable after performing a few copy and paste operations within Pagemaker.
One point to watch, if you have been working with an externally linked graphic and have changed the size or shape of it, you will have to delete and replace each occurrence of the item in Pagemaker, otherwise the graphic will be distorted to fit within the size of the original object!
In order to work with external graphics you need to change some of the link settings so that you don't inadvertently end up with a mix of internal and external graphics, and get caught by making a last minute change to a graphic which doesn't end up in the file.
Graphics that have been cut and pasted across the clipboard will always be stored in the publication, however I strongly recommend you don't use this method if the job is to be professionally printed as the quality of these type of graphics at high resolution is often very poor.

Default Settings
To change the default settings for a particular publication, make sure you do not have any graphic elements selected on the screen then choose Element/Link Options from the menu and make sure the "Store copy in publication" checkbox is not selected. The default settings that Pagemaker ships with, and most people never touch, are to store the graphic in the publication. There is another setting in the Preferences menu that is used in conjunction with this to warn the operator if the graphic they are about to store is bigger than a certain size (default is 256Kb) and give them the option to link to the file instead. These default settings can lead to some confusion as to which files are needed to archive a job, as some are internal and some are external, depending upon whether the operator decided to store each particular graphic they were warned about when placing.
To change the default settings that Pagemaker will use for all new publications make sure that you have no publications open and no graphics selected and then make the same changes described above.

Linking Files
Pagemaker actually keeps track of the update status of all linked and unlinked files, and provides the facility to copy either all files associated with a publication, or just those required for correct remote printing as an option when saving a job. This often overlooked option should always be used when saving a job to be sent out for imagesetting as it is the safest way to make sure that all the files you need are saved to disk. Choose the destination of the save to be either the physical floppy or removable media you will send the job on, or a temporary directory on your hard disk if you will be sending electronically, the contents of this directory can then be compressed before sending.

Recovering Corrupt Pagemaker Files
It's handy to know that Pagemaker has a facility to rescue a corrupt publication. Unlike many programs Pagemaker doesn't make a backup of the working file when you save, so if the unthinkable happens and the job you have worked on for months won't open the morning after your client has approved it, you have a serious problem.
The first thing to do is to make a copy of the file you are trying to retrieve, then, if you make a mess of it you can go back to where you started and try again.
You should then run a hard disk utility program on your system to ensure your hard drive is functioning properly and all bad sectors are mapped out, also, of course make sure you have plenty of free disk space as running out of space could have contributed to the problem.
There are several things you can do to a publication to try to force the internal structure to be rebuilt and thus recover the work.
Depending upon what has happened to your particular publication various combinations of the following may help:

  • Perform a diagnostic recompose by holding down Ctrl and Shift then choosing Type/Hyphenation, then perform a Save As of the publication. The diagnostic recompose forces Pagemaker to check, re-create and/or repair many of its internal data structures.

  • While holding down the Shift key, choose Layout/ Go To Page, this will initiate a Slideshow of the publication, which has a side effect of repairing links within the publication. Wait until all pages have displayed at least once, then force display of the master pages by right clicking on the master page icons. Once this is complete Save As to disk.

  • Unlink all files that have broken links by choosing File/Links then select each file that is preceded with an upside down question mark or the letters "UN" and click on Unlink, then Save As. Removing these items may stop Pagemaker errors due to trying to resolve broken links.

  • For each graphic included in the publication, choose Element/Link Options, then deselect the "Store Copy in Publication" checkbox. Perform a Save As after each one.

  • Try to isolate the object that is causing problems by deleting sections of the publication one at a time, say half the publication at a time, using the Remove Page function, and find the bad sections by a process of elimination.

  • Try saving the publication as an earlier version, and then reopening it in this format (some features may be lost by this conversion).

With a bit of luck one or more of the above methods will allow you to repair your publication, or at least rescue most of it.

If you are a Corel user and miss the magnifying glass, it's in Pagemaker, but hidden. Just hold down both control and the space bar, the glass magically appears.

The default settings for all NEW publications can be set by starting Pagemaker from scratch, not opening any files and changing the settings in any of the menus that are not greyed out. For example set default typeface size, define a default set of styles, default line weights, ruler and guide settings and which palette windows to display when you start a new publication. These settings are saved when you exit Pagemaker.

If you have a standard design that you use a lot the template feature might be useful to you. Simply set up a basic layout and save it as a PT5 or PT6 file (depending on the version of Pagemaker you are using), rather than a .PM5 or .PM6 file. Next time you open the template file, you will have the base layout, but Pagemaker will treat it as a new document, and will ask you for a filename when you save it.

Quick Help
If you come across an item in Pagemaker, and you have no idea what it does, you can easily find out - just press SHIFT-F1, and the mouse pointer will turn into a question mark. Click on the item that you were interested in, and up pops a window to help you out.

Pagemaker Preview
If you want to see what your Pagemaker document will look like when you print it out, try pressing CTRL-J. This will hide the guides on the screen, to give you be better view of how your document will look. To switch the guides back on, just press CTRL-J again.

Master Pages
If you want to have something appear on all the pages in your Pagemaker document, simply put it on the master page. The master page is a special page in your Pagemaker document that will be shown and printed on every page of your PageMaker document. To get to the master page, simply select either the 'L' or 'R' pages. These are master pages for the left and right hand sides of your document for double-sided documents. Single-sided documents have an 'R' page only. Also, if you want to put repeating page numbers in your document, just type CTRL-SHIFT-F3 for PageMaker 6.5 (CTRL-SHIFT-3 for PageMaker 6), in a text block, on your master page. The LM or RMs will be replaced with the appropriate page numbers on every page in your document.

Did you know... That by using the Place function in Pagemaker it uses much less memory and can be considerably faster than simply cutting and pasting?