The following is an excerpt from Adobe InDesign CS4 One-on-One which will not only entertain and enlighten you, but will inspire you to aquire the actual book for yourself. —cw
With InDesign CS4, Adobe has completely rebuilt the Links palette from the ground up. No longer simply a list of the graphics linked from the document and their status, the Links palette now offers a rather dizzying amount of information. Fortunately for all involved, you can easily customize how much information is displayed, allowing you to tailor the palette to suit your needs.
First, let’s examine the basics of the default palette. The palette is split into two panes:The links list pane functions similarly to the traditional Links palette from CS3 and before, but adds page links to the page numbers shown (this has the same functionality as Go to Link, but does not require selecting the link first). It also contains the traditional four buttons to work with links.
The link info pane shows you a host of information regarding the selected link, including color space, actual and effective PPI (pixels per inch, which I explain in a moment), and the directory path to the link. For even more convenience, the link info pane includes shortcuts for scrolling back and forth through the link info for all your links.
Just how much information is available? From the palette menu in the upper-right corner, select Panel Options.
The Panel Options dialog box appears, with a whopping 44 pieces of information you can show (or not show) in the palette. While you’ll know better than I any particulars you might need, what follows are some basics for customizing the palette for most workflows.
Stick with just Name, Status, and Page in the View Column category. You might be tempted to add other columns (and on occasion it could prove useful), but more often than not the columns will become too narrow to be of any use. Best to keep other information in the Info pane.
Keep Actual PPI and Effective PPI in the Info pane. These provide the actual (native) pixels per inch of the graphics file, and the effective PPI when output from InDesign (which is different if you have scaled your artwork). The effective PPI is the more critical of the two, because it will let you know if you’ve scaled an image too large to print smoothly. (300 PPI is considered the baseline for photo-quality images, but the ideal resolution varies depending on your final ouput destination.) Conversely, if your effective PPIs are all approaching or surpassing the thousand mark, you could improve both printing and InDesign’s performance by linking to lower-resolution versions of your art.
Turning on Color Space and ICC Profile will allow you to check that all your images are consistent, at least in terms of color settings, across your document. While InDesign’s output options—both to print and PDF—allow you to convert color settings at output, keeping your links in order helps to ensure that the color in your output is what you were expecting. (For more on output and color, see Lesson 12 in Adobe InDesign CS4 One-on-One.)
Transparency indicates a simple yes or no: whether or not an image contains transparency, such as alpha channels or Photoshop layers. (Transparency is covered fully in the next lesson.) This setting will help you determine what images might be affected by flattening. It may sound painful, but it’s simply the method InDesign uses to render transparencies and effects like drop shadows. Depending on your final output destination, flattening may or may not be something you need to worry about. You can find all the details in the sidebar “Rasterization and the Flattener Preview Palette” in Adobe InDesign CS4 One-on-One.
Layer Overrides, Scale, Skew, and Rotate are good indicators of whether the image has been altered in InDesign. Layer Overrides shows if any layers have been turned on or off that differ from the original Photoshop file; Scale, Skew, and Rotate specify what transformations have been made to the image inside InDesign. While there are plenty of reasons to make these changes in InDesign (isn’t that one of the advantages of the all-Adobe workflow?), some agencies and studios still frown upon altering images outside image-editing programs, and some professional printing houses may flag these issues during their prepress checks. At the very least, Scale is a great way to check that you haven’t accidentally scaled an image disproportionately.
Most of the other information is metadata regarding the image (including modification date, copyright, and creator) or, conversely, project management information. (Some of the information is specific to InCopy—the standalone story editor for InDesign—and text linked dynamically to the document. These bear no relevance to image links.)
Armed with this information and given some experimentation, you can bend the Links palette to your will, so that it provides only the information you want to see.