8 Replies Latest reply: Dec 21, 2011 12:21 PM by m.kellerman RSS

    Can I have "All spots to process" checked at all times, even for new spot colors?

    m.kellerman

      When I check “All spots to process” in the pdf export settings and save my settings the settings remember that I've checked this option. But, if new spot color objects using new spot color swatches are added to the document (or another document) and I go into the pdf export settings the check mark has been changed into a dash (with the actual checkbox highlighted) – signifying that only some of of the spot colors will be changed to process colors during export. I absolutely fail to see how this could possibly be seen as a feature and not a bug … if the user has checked “ALL spots to process” wouldn't the user expect ALL spots to be converted to process colors, rather than just any spot colors that happened to be in the document that happened to be open when the user first checked that checkbox and saved that setting?

       

      Am I missing something here? What's the point of even having that checkbox as part of your saved export settings if it doesn't include any other spot colors than those used when saving the settings?

       

      What's the point of having settings if you can't trust them, and still need to manually "override" them every time?

       

      I see that some users have taken to writing scripts that instead turn all spot colors in the swatch panel to process colors, and while I commend them for creating that workaround, I'm still pissed at Adobe for not getting the function right.

       

      If this is a feature, who is it for? People who want to add just certain spot colors and turn those into process colors rather than turning all spot colors into process colors are surely better off doing that in the swatches panel, where they're in total control of what's what. And if they don't want to "permanently" change their spot colors to process colors, and prefer to (temporarily) convert them during exporting/printing only, they can do that in the ink manager. But when someone checks convert "All spots to process" couldn't we safely assume they really want ALL spot colors to be converted and not just some of them? I mean, the way that checkbox behaves now, it's like it's a button and not a checkbox. As in: hit the button "All spots to process" to switch all currently viewed spot colors to process colors in the ink manager, OR check the "All spots to process" checkbox to always convert ALL spot colors to process colors during exporting/printing.

       

      Anyone got any light to shed on this?

       

      And is there a way to actually get the advertised behavior, because if you have to run a script every time you export/print you might as well just manually select the checkbox every time instead, but either way it's just really unnecessary as far as I'm concerned … Adobe should get the feature right instead.

       

      If you save a setting and recall it, it shouldn't be possible for that setting to change into something else (in this case changing a checkmark to a dash).

       

      Clearly CMYK printing is the norm, so for most users it would make a lot of sense to have the "All spots to process" checked most of the time, and then you just go into the swatches panel or the ink manager and set things correctly for those print jobs that really do need spot colors.

       

      I myself am not one of those who add spot colors to my swatches unless I'm really using them as spot colors, but I often work with magazines and folders featuring adverts made by whoever, and typically there's always at least one advert that features spot colors, and therefore it would be very nice if the "All spots to process" feature actually worked as advertised without any required actions from me.

       

      We stopped sending ads back to the advertisers for adjustments a long time ago, unless we absolutely had to, because there were so many things wrong with so many ads that it was simply too much work to write back and explain everything to people who most of the time didn't even understand what we were talking about. We found that it was usually a LOT faster and easier to just adapt the ads ourselves, as long as it was something that could be worked out really quickly from within InDesign itself, which pretty much included most typical errors.

       

      But with this feature I find Adobe is trying to make my job harder rather than easier, and it's pissing me off. Arrrghh… ;-)

        • 1. Re: Can I have "All spots to process" checked at all times, even for new spot colors?
          rob day CommunityMVP

          The Ink Manager settings are not included in PDF Presets—the Ink Manager button is there so you don't have to exit the Export dialog in order to make a change over in Ink Manager. If you choose Adobe PDF Presets>Define... you'll see that the Ink Manger button under Output is grayed out. The Print dialog and Print Presets work the same way.

           

          All Spots to Process is a shortcut for checking or unchecking the process/spot buttons in the ink list, not for setting a global application behavior.

          • 2. Re: Can I have "All spots to process" checked at all times, even for new spot colors?
            m.kellerman Community Member

            I wasn't looking for a global application behavior, but rather a per document setting, and I'm sad to hear that it isn't actually saved with the PDF Presets.

             

            So is it saved with the document then? Or not at all (which would pretty much mean that it is a global app behavior, though, wouldn't it, so that shouldn't be an option)? Or what?

             

            But regardless of the loss of not being able to save the setting in a PDF Preset, there's still the issue of the checkbox not acting like a checkbox. If Adobe wanted the current behavior they should have made the checkbox a button instead and called it “All current spots to process”. By omitting the word “current” and using a checkbox rather than a button Adobe are implying that you've now flipped a switch saying all spots should be converted to process during output, and as a checkbox the function should not be able to uncheck itself just because new spot colors are added – because checkboxes that uncheck themselves are pure evil. ;-)

             

            And Adobe should definitely make the Ink Manager setting part of the PDF Preset, so that any ink settings are recalled along with the rest of the settings when exporting some standard job you've set up a PDF Preset for. What arguments could there be for not doing that (other than labor and cost to make it happen obviously)? Is there anyone who gains from not being able to save these settings as part of the other export settings?

            • 3. Re: Can I have "All spots to process" checked at all times, even for new spot colors?
              rob day CommunityMVP

              So is it saved with the document then?

               

              The state of the ink list (spots on or off) is saved with the document. The All Spots to Process check box is merely a convenient way to switch the state of a long list of swatches that are defined as spots, it's not intended to ensure any specific behavior at print time—the person outputting the job has control over that. If you want to remove that control, you need to convert the swatches from the Swatches panel.

              • 4. Re: Can I have "All spots to process" checked at all times, even for new spot colors?
                m.kellerman Community Member

                Thanks for the saved state info.

                 

                But I reiterate that the current function should be a button and not a checkbox, as a checkbox should always stay checked and deliver on what it says, and this one doesn't work that way, it works like a button. And also that having a checkbox behave like a button makes precious little sense, and that I would like to see it behave like the checkbox it poses as instead.

                 

                I'm also questioning why the Ink Manager settings aren't saved as part of the PDF (and Print) Presets. The only answer I've managed to come up with so far, is that it poses a problem for Adobe that way, as users could save different Ink Manager settings to both Print Presets and PDF Presets and then select presets with incompatible settings. So were Adobe to start saving Ink Manager settings for both Print Presets and PDF Presets, they'd need to have separate Ink Manager settings for print and export. For me that wouldn't be a problem at all, though. I'd just be happy to be able to save and recall this setting along with my other export settings, so that I wouldn't have to manually check for spot colors every time I export a document containing lots of ads. The idea is surely that InDesign should try to save the user from repetitive manual labor, no?

                 

                But if it never gets to be a part of the Presets, and just remains a per document setting, then Adobe should at least make the checkbox behave like a checkbox, or if worst comes to worst (ambitionwise on Adobes end) at the very least change it into a button instead.

                • 5. Re: Can I have "All spots to process" checked at all times, even for new spot colors?
                  rob day CommunityMVP

                  as a checkbox should always stay checked and deliver on what it says, and this one doesn't work that way, it works like a button.

                   

                  The ink list can have 3 different states, which the checkbox shows—all on (checked), all off (unchecked), a mix of spot and process(a dash). 3 state check boxes are pretty common.

                  • 6. Re: Can I have "All spots to process" checked at all times, even for new spot colors?
                    m.kellerman Community Member

                    Compared to the regular checkboxes they pose as, they're really not common at all.

                     

                    And I'm sorry, no. You will never convince me of this being good, or even ok, or even excusable, interface design … if that's even what you're attempting to do. I outlined the behavior of the actual checkbox in my initial post, so I'm well aware of how it currently works. ;-) And that's just a really awful implementation. Using a checkbox as an indicator for feedback for more than two states is bad enough to begin with (and that doesn't change because others have on occasion made the same bad decisions before). But when a user checks a checkbox, it should damn well stay checked – that's the most basic behavior of a checkbox and that just shouldn't be tampered with.

                     

                    Bring up the InDesign Preferences and on the middle of page one you'll find Object Editing, with a checkbox for “Prevent Selection of Locked Objects”. If this checkbox worked the same way the “All spots to process” checkbox does, any newly locked objects would simply disregard that setting and be selectable anyway, and then you'd have to bring up the Preferences again and hit that (now dashed) checkbox again to achieve the desired results. Is that a good idea? Not really, no. ;-)

                     

                    Or how about “Use Typographer's Quotes” only being applied to text existing when first checking the checkbox, but not to new text … until, you recheck the checkbox manually. Good idea? Hell no. ;-)

                     

                    Imagine that sort of behavior applied on any substantial number of checkboxes in the app, and the app would quickly drive any regular user insane.

                     

                    So why would it be a good interface design decision in this particular case? It's not. It's just as much of a bad idea in this case.

                     

                    And furthermore, if it doesn't behave like a setting, don't present it as a setting.

                     

                    The only possible way I can think of that would make the current functionality even approach being ok, is if it's instead presented as part of the “table” above it … where all spot colors have a separate checkbox on every row and then there's a “Select All” checkbox, right above or right below the column of checkboxes, that works just like the current checkbox does. Presented that way the current functionality would at least make sense. But while that wouldn't be bad interface design, it would still be far less useful than if the checkbox actually worked like a checkbox so that users didn't have to go reset it manually.

                     

                    This one really bugs me, as it affects me every time I finish designing a magazine. But as others have pointed out before me (here's a little something just to get started, and here's the continuation), the various Adobe CS interfaces are just riddled with inconsistencies, and it would be very welcome indeed to see Adobe clean up their act at some point, and maybe even actually make the CS suite look and behave pretty much the same … at some point. Any day now would be fine with me. ;-)

                    • 7. Re: Can I have "All spots to process" checked at all times, even for new spot colors?
                      rob day CommunityMVP

                      Bring up the InDesign Preferences and on the middle of page one you'll find Object Editing, with a checkbox

                       

                      But It's not a preference it's a shortcut for enabling and disabling items in a list.

                       

                      If a story has 2 paragraphs one with Hyphenation turned on and the other with it turned off, I don't have any problem understanding what a dashed Hyphenation check box means when I select both paragraphs.

                      • 8. Re: Can I have "All spots to process" checked at all times, even for new spot colors?
                        m.kellerman Community Member

                        But It's not a preference it's a shortcut

                         

                        It's a bad joke, is what it is. ;-)

                         

                        So, why in your opinion should it be presented the way it is? I keep saying in it's current functionality it shouldn't be presented the way it is (and that: if it is, it shouldn't work the way it does). If it's not a preference or even a proper checkbox, why present it that way?

                         

                        If you put it right next to the table at the top of the window (so that it's directly associated with that information, rather than information right above it) and just called the checkbox “Spot(s) to process” and had it only visually reflect the content of the sleected spot colors in the table, then I'd see your point with likening it to the “Hyphenate” checkbox.

                         

                        If a story has two selected paragraphs that uses two different hyphenation settings then the checkbox should present the way it does now, but if you hit the checkbox so that both paragraphs now use hyphenation and create a third paragraph inbetween the two previous ones it better inherit that setting and not turn off hyphenation for the new paragraph (unless of course there's a defined next paragraph style that switches to a style with hyphenation turned off). And if that checkbox said “Hyphenate all paragraphs” instead, then I would expect it to do just that, and not just the selected ones, and not just the current paragraphs but quite literally all paragraphs even newly created ones – otherwise it doesn't do what it says it does, and simply shouldn't be labeled that way.

                         

                        And seriously bad interface design aside, you'd have to rename “All spots to process” to “Switch all currently displayed spot swatches listed in the table above to process” to actually describe what that checkbox does. So even if you're a fan of the current functionality, as opposed to one that actually lets the user set and forget a setting like that, and think it's better that users manually check it repeatedly (which I'm not saying that you are, but you're not giving me any feedback suggesting you even see my point of view with any of this, so what do I know?), then why wouldn't you still support an interface that visually matches/signals that functionality better? If it's a “Select all” checkbox supplementing a table containing a column of checkboxes, then present it that way. Don't put it at the bottom of the window next to another checkbox that works just like a regular checkbox and label it “All spots to process” – because that way you are signalling a different behavior.

                         

                        Seriously, if I was to do design using the same mentality that Adobe uses when designing their user interfaces it wouldn't be long before I lost all clients. There's a lot to be said for de facto monopolies, I suppose. Oh no, there's nothing wrong with the design, just as long as you accept it on it's own terms and don't compare it to anything relevant, and just as long as you give people enough time to understand and accept it … and surrender to it.

                         

                        For real … I wouldn't win one single pitch that way.

                         

                        Today's threads have in many ways been a thorough reminder of the following quote from the second link I provided:

                         

                        Is there an Internet rule yet stating that even the most obviously indefensible mistake will eventually be defended by someone somewhere? Awful marketing efforts get explained as genius viral campaigns, broken features become solutions.

                         

                        And whether or not you're able to see my point of view or not is really besides the point too.

                         

                        The real point was, and remains to be:

                         

                        That for those who receive lots of ads or other external files that may or may not contain spot colors it would be far more useful to be able to set a checkbox to always convert all spots to process when exporting, than the current functionality is (and I'm not suggesting eliminating the current functionality, just change so it's presented like what it really is, and then just let that separate checkbox do what it says) … causing unnecessary manual action on the user's behalf shouldn't be the business of Adobe – preventing it should.

                         

                        And here's further reading on the subject of bad Adobe interface design for those who might feel so inclined. ;-)

                         

                        Cheers!