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Resize with Intelligence

Answered by Jay Nelson, Editor and Publisher, Design Tools Monthly

We often need to resize a layout, but sometimes the designer isn't available. We've gotten in trouble in the past for squishing page items -- designers hate it when you do that. Has software gotten smart enough yet to resize a layout without scaling things that shouldn't be scaled?

Just about. If you're using InDesign, you can make use of one of its lesser-known features. But a better solution is Gluon's ProScale, which is available for both InDesign and QuarkXPress. I'll describe InDesign's feature first, then ProScale.

InDesign CS3 has a "Layout Adjustment" feature under the Layout menu. When enabled, it automatically rearranges page objects when you change the layout's size or orientation, keeping their relationships similar to the way they were originally laid out. For example, any text box that reaches a column or margin guide will automatically resize to the new guides. You can specify whether graphics and groups automatically scale or not, whether ruler guides should move or not, and whether locked objects can move.

But what about QuarkXPress, and what if you need more power than InDesign's feature? Well, the geniuses at Gluon came up with a solution many years ago, and named it ProScale. And now it's available for InDesign as well.

ProScale costs $139 and is available as either an XTension for QuarkXPress 4/5/6/7, or as a plug-in for InDesign. It lets you resize an entire multipage DOCUMENT with complete control over what gets scaled, and how. For example, you can scale all the pages of a document, including the text, but maintain rule and/or frame sizes.

The options are almost limitless. You can scale pages non-proportionally, while maintaining the proportions of page items -- and the results are very close to what a designer would have chosen. You can use it to quickly fit an entire ad to a new column width. Seriously.

For convenience, ProScale includes a "Fit To" pop-up menu with common sizes such as A4, A5, business card, 1/3 page, 1/2 page, letter size, tabloid size, etc. (It's great for converting letter-size to A4 and vice-versa!)

Its other options let you scale from the center of a selection, and step-and-repeat your scaling -- perfect for logo sheets.

Once you get a combination of settings that you like, you can save them as a preset to reuse in the future.

I've been astonished by the results we've achieved in our office. If for nothing other than its awe factor, I encourage you to take a look at the examples at Gluon's website:

By the way, you can also use ProScale the old-fashioned way: just click and drag selected items to a new size.

And one more thing: ProScale is extremely fast, and it lets you undo the scaling!

This question was answered by Jay Nelson, Publisher & Editor, Design Tools Monthly. We love DTM's tips and advice and think you will, too. For a free sample PRINTED issue, contact Design Tools Monthly at 303-543-8400, e-mail, or go to their website:

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