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Archive for February, 2009

Use the Mid and Search Functions to Extract Characters from a String

In Microsoft Excel, it is very simple to break data into separate columns when a delimiter, such as a comma or space, can be used. This can be done from the Ribbon by using the Text to Columns command found on the Data tab.

However, what if the data is inconsistent, and there is no comma or space delimiter that can be used? This can make separating the text in a string a little more difficult. One way to handle this is to use the Mid and Search functions.

For example, you can use the Mid and Search functions to separate some data into separate columns like this:

String Data Separated into 3 Columns

Text String    Extract Data

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Multiple Artboards in Illustrator CS4

The utility of multiple artboards might not be obvious to all Illustrator users.  However, the power of this feature is undeniable to experienced users.  See why this new feature will make so much difference in this video from Layers Magazine:

Multiple Artboards in Illustrator

InDesign: Use clipping paths to wrap text around irregular graphics

Trying to import a Photoshop file containing a subject with a transparent background into InDesign or Illustrator can be frustrating. You need to extract the subject from an image and place it into an InDesign or Quark XPress document, like this:

original cat image      cat with clipping path in layout

In your page layout program, it might appear that you have done all you need to do by copying and pasting selections or by using a layer mask and importing it. Sometimes, even if the transparent part of the image displays correctly on your monitor, it may still come out all wrong in the printout. That’s because you need to create a clipping path in Photoshop before you import it into InDesign or Illustrator.

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Format Your MS 2007 Word Document in a Snap with Styles

Did you know you can apply formatting to text in MS Word without highlighting and manually selecting type attributes? You may be accustomed to highlighting text and clicking buttons to to re-format every paragraph, heading, subheading and so on. In a long document, this process is repetitive, time-consuming, and subject to errors. Using the Microsoft Office Word 2007 Quick Styles, applying type specifications is as easy as clicking a button in the Quick Styles Gallery.

Let’s see how…

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Power of Pivot Tables

Pivot tables can quickly organize, summarize, and compare large amounts of data in a worksheet. With just a few mouse clicks, you can view data in many different ways until you get just the data summary you want. To learn more about the power of pivot tables, see the video.

Create a newsletter from a template in Adobe InDesign

To the uininitiated, creating a newsletter from scratch in Adobe InDesign may be a daunting task. However, using one of Adobe’s predesigned templates makes it an easy task. Here, we’ll show you how you can create your own newsletter with an InDesign template.

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Make a brush from Illustrator artwork

Did you know you can create your own custom brushes in Adobe Illustrator from any artwork object? This makes it easy to scatter copies of an object across an area, or to apply artistic effects without modifying the original object.

Music Note

For example, on the left is a simple, two-piece object drawn in Illustrator. From it, we can make a paintbrush that creates a design like you see on the right:

Scattered music notes

Let’s see how to do this.

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Remove the background from a photo or clipart: for print

You may find that you have with a logo or piece of clipart that has a white or solid-color background, and you need to remove the background. For example, you may need to drop the artwork into InDesign over a tinted text box, or to apply it to a colored object that isn’t paper.

In other words, you may need to go from this:

  Cat on bag with white backgroundTo this: Cat on bag with no white background

Adobe Illustrator has a particularly good way to tease the background out of a logo or clipart. You can also use this technique if there is plenty of contrast in a photo for which you want to remove the background.

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What is UniCom?

UniCom is a new way to communicate at IU. UniCom provides telephony, email, instant messaging, audio and video conferencing that you can access from almost anywhere. Microsoft Office Communicator and Live Meeting are the main applications you use. Any member of the IU community can join up! To learn more, see the video.


Getting Preceding Zeros to Print in an ID field when Performing a Word Mail Merge

It is very easy to use the Custom dialog box in Microsoft Excel to add preceding zeros to a number, such as a University ID number, for example, to make it 10 digits. However, these zeros may be lost when using this field in a Word mail merge. To solve this problem, here is what you can do:

In Microsoft Word, set up the main document and data source in the normal way, placing the UniversityID field in the Word document. Right click the UniversityID field. Choose “Toggle Field Codes.” Change the {MERGEFIELD UniversityID} to read {MERGEFIELD UniversityID\#”0000000000″}. These 10 zeros indicate that the number must be 10 digits. Right click again and choose “Update Field.” Then click “Preview Results” on the Ribbon.

Now when you perform the mail merge, the zeros should appear in the merged document(s).

(Special thanks to April Law for contributing to this article). 

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