Steal from the Best: Get Your Gradient Swatches for InDesign by Lifting Them from Illustrator
And while you're at it, get your InDesign know-how by lifting it from Anne-Marie Concepcion and David Blatner.
As I've probably mentioned ten thousand times already, I have a project I'm working on that requires InDesign, and I'm heading to PEPCON (the Print and eProduction Conference) this weekend and don't want to seem dull-minded as I mix with the InDesignerati. (In my experience, the crowd, speakers, and attendees alike, are wicked sharp at PEPCON.)
So, one of the ways I'm feeding my craving for more InDesign know-how is to watch a lot of David and Anne-Marie's lynda.com course, InDesign Secrets. In fact, that's where I stole this movie on how to get gradient swatches out of Illustrator and into InDesign.
If you're an InDesign user with a design-centric version of the Creative Suite or a subscription to the Creative Cloud, then you already have access to Illustrator, so go grab those swatches. They're already yours. I'm just using the thievery motif for dramatic effect. Much like one might use these gradients:
Like Deke's Techniques, the InDesign Secrets collection at lynda.com is a continually updated series of short episodes. And if this level of InDesignery is over your head, there's an Up & Running with InDesign course taught by some guy named Deke there, too. And if you're not a member, you can get a free week's trial at lynda.com/deke.
For those of you who like to read, here are my insightful observations on Anne-Marie's trick:
1) You can create gradient swatches in InDesign, but you have to do it by hand.
There are no default gradient swatches in InDesign. You have to create the stops yourself in the Gradient panel or the Swatches panel.
2) It's easy to load prefabricated gradients in Illustrator by using the Swatches Libraries menu button at the bottom of the Swatches panel. You'll find a whole menu full of interesting gradient collections, like the Metals collection that Anne-Marie uses in the video.
3) Try as you might, you can't exchange a set of gradients (or patterns or tints) as an ASE (Adobe Swatch Exchange) file that you could then load into InDesign. You might try, but you'll end up with this warning.
4) You can however, create objects in Illustrator, color them with the gradients you want to export, and copy/paste those objects into InDesign. While tooling around, I noticed you can even select them in an Illustrator window, drag the objects to your InDesign window, and drop 'em.
5) At that point, the swatches will magically appear, in all their editable glory, in InDesign's Swatches panel. You will have to name the new swatches yourself, because all the cool descriptive names from Illustrator will disappear, as you can see in the interesting comparison below. The shiny panel on the left is from Illustrator, with all the swatches descriptively and romantically named. The anemic panel on the right is from InDesign after I pulled the objects over. And yes, that's as big as I can make the swatches and still see the names.
6) You can even save these swatches as default gradients for InDesign, by saving your gradient-filled document, closing it, then loading those gradients into ID with no document open. There are a few steps; check out the end of the movie where AM shows you how.
I always say steal from the best, my nefarious dekeComplices, whether it be Illustrator for gradients or Anne-Marie Concepcion (and David, too) for InDesign Secrets.