Quick InDesign Tip: Discover the Story Editor


InDesign Story Editor

Many InDesign users may primarily work on image heavy, single page documents such as flyers, office stationary, business cards, posters or ads. But if you have ever found yourself in charge of laying out significant amounts of text for projects such as annual reports, directories, or even your great American novel, the often-overlooked Story Editor in InDesign can be your best friend.


Toolbox for PageMaker 4.0, before Adobe Systems purchase
The Aldus PageMaker 4.0 Toolbox

Like most every feature in an Adobe product, you will discover layers of functionality the deeper you decide to explore. This article intends to just open the door on a feature that is a little bit hidden. Back in the days of PageMaker, the InDesign predecessor originally produced by a company named Aldus, manipulation of text was the heart and soul of the program. Tools to import and arrange graphics and photos were essential and expanding with every upgrade, but PageMaker’s “reason to be” was styling and control of text and the Story Editor was it’s powerhouse. Whenever you work with large amounts of text, it still is today.

Artwork from PageMaker Story Editor

The most basic function of the Story Editor is to allow you to see overset text that fills up a text frame or page without having to go ahead and flow the rest of your text onto new pages or off on the pasteboard area. Click within a block of text and hit Command+Y (Ctrl+Y) or Edit > Edit in Story Editor to open up your text in its own window. Think of it like a “word processor” view of the entire placed text, scrollable even for hundreds of pages in one long view. (The original Aldus software manual described the Story Editor as “PageMaker’s word processor.”) This view of your text does not show line breaks, styling (other than basic bold, italic, underlined), or other design/layout attributes – what you get is the raw complete text where you can write, edit, correct, search and manipulate without the distractions of the layout. (If you are familiar with WordPress, the Story Editor is similar to the Text or HTML view rather than the Visual tab.)

From this window you can work on large amounts of text flow in a multi-page document. If you are still writing your content, or just searching out edits and corrections, this view gives you the control to write and edit without turning pages, screen redraws, or design distractions. If you ever find yourself confused as to why a portion of text is not “acting” as expected, check the Story Editor to see any hidden text variable or markers such as Drop Caps, Index Markers or Hyperlinks. Often you can delete or edit these here much easier than in the normal layout view. Even if you are just working on text that is difficult to see on screen due to size, rotation or special effects, a quick Command+Y will let you see and edit the text in a straightforward window and the changes will update live in both displays. The Story Editor is also the place to manage more advanced tricks like footnotes, XML or tagged text, and conditional text.

Open your Story Editor just to get a feel for how it can benefit you in your own style of working with InDesign.

Story Editor Preferences Pane
Set the font and appearance for your Story Editor view

Be aware that each independent text block or series of linked blocks will open its own Story Editor window – there is not one single Story Editor for an entire Indesign document. Also know that you can customize the look and display of your editor from the InDesign Preferences/Story Editor Display window. Take a few moments to explore the Story Editor and save yourself a lot of time, clicks and frustration on future design jobs.



Call us at 828.684.4512 for any marketing needs. As a printer, we understand communication and design. Your printer should be able to provide you with the latest information, inspiration, technical advice, and innovative ideas for communicating your message through print, design and typography, signage, apparel, variable data printing and direct mail, integrated marketing and environmentally responsible printing. If they can’t, you have the wrong printer! The best advice, always, is to ASK YOUR PRINTER!

ImageSmith is now partnered with Extreme Awards & Engraving – our in-house partner providing custom engraved trophies and awards for employee recognition programs, sporting events, and promotional needs. With our new sister company, we will be sharing space, resources and expertise in a collaboration designed to further provide you with one place to meet all of your marketing needs… Under One Roof! Visit them online at www.extremeae.com or call direct at 828.684.4538.



Call us at 828.684.4512. ImageSmith is a full-service print and marketing provider located in Arden, North Carolina. Contact us at ImageSmith for quotes on all your print and marketing projects, and more useful tips on how to create custom, effective, high impact marketing solutions.

Saving Your Print Project – Seven PrePress Pitfalls, One Simple Fix

7 common mistakes in file submission for print

THE HAND-OFF:  the moment of truth in a smooth, successful marketing project comes when you transfer your digital files to your print service provider. Below are seven of the most common roadblocks that are sure to frustrate you and defeat your deadline.

FAIL #1: Giving the printer EVERYTHING. A good rule of thumb is to not give your printer any file that you do not want printed! It is tempting to try to save time in back and forth file transmissions and endless emails to just hand over every related file for a project. Often customers will drop off a disk or jump drive with all their marketing materials on it. At the design stage, this can be a good resource to have, but if your design is finalized for a specific project, you just astronomically increased your chances of getting the wrong thing printed!

FAIL #2: Missing fonts, missing links. Not gathering all the necessary digital files to print your job is really the heart of all file submission problems: missing fonts, image links, profiles – they all stop your project dead in it’s tracks. Probably the most common is missing image links. A printer will not be able to output high resolution images from an “unlinked” page layout. If they request the specific images, be aware that placing a picture onto a page in a Word document (this applies for InDesign, Quark, or any other page layout program as well) is NOT sending the actual image file. You will need to find the original file itself to send. Missing fonts will also derail your project – fonts work on the computer where your files were created because they are installed on that machine. Ship the file to another computer and the fonts will substitute to ones with which you will NOT be happy. Most layout programs now, thankfully, have a feature that allows you to package all necessary files into one bundle for printing. Also, creating print-ready pdf files will allow you to avoid all the link and font issues as the pdf can be a self-contained file suitable for print.

FAIL #3: Mixing process, RGB and spot color definitions in the same file. Color management can be a complicated process, but in general you should be aware of the “colorspace” your layout is created in and it’s intended output. Using spot or PMS colors in a design will require them to be converted at some point if you plan to print in CMYK. You can design in an RGB workspace, but be aware that colors will shift when the conversion takes place to offset or digital printing. A common mistake is also using spot or PMS colors in a file that contains transparency – ie, uses drop shadows, gradients, photo effects that incorporate transparent layers. Most programs will warn you to look out for “unexpected results.” They aren’t lying!

FAIL #4: When a different file type is requested than the one used, just change the file extension name by retyping it. Yes, this happens often! It seems like such a simple fix, but predictably, it changes nothing. A pixel-based tif or jpg file cannot automatically become a smooth, resizeable vector file just by typing a suffix onto the filename.

FAIL #5: When a vector file is needed, just drop your pixel-based image onto a page in Illustrator and save as .eps. This is similar to just changing the file extension in the name. When a vector file is required – usually for spot color separation or to be resized for smooth output at a large scale – a file type that is pixel-based will not become a vector file by simply placing it into a program that is vector-based.

FAIL #6: Supply your logo or an image by right (or option) clicking on a website and saving to your desktop …or tell a printer just to go the website for the art they need. As a rule, the resolution of any art on a website will be too low for good print quality. Just count on it.

FAIL #7: Neglect to specify a PMS color match for a specific color output that must be exact. Remember, blue is never just blue.

So, all of those are common mistakes to avoid during file submission. The good news is there is one simple fix – talk to your printer! Call them on the phone and ask for guidance in preparing and transferring your files. They will be eager to walk you through any questions or problems you encounter. The advice is free, and will most likely save you additional pre-press charges that you can incur if they have to fix or adjust your files for digital or offset output. If you are dealing with an online printer and cannot get an actual person on the phone you have discovered one of the reasons they are able to offer lower prices: low standards for customer service.

Communication is the answer – it will save you time and money. If your service provider can’t provide the needed answers or doesn’t have time to chat with you, you have the wrong printer! The best advice, always, is to ASK YOUR PRINTER!

ImageSmith is a full-service print and marketing provider located in Arden, North Carolina. Contact us at ImageSmith for quotes on all your marketing projects, and more useful tips on how to create custom, effective, high impact marketing solutions.