Changing Your Preferences

Changing Your Preferences

Setting your preferences is important to do when you’re working with new software. Understanding what the preferences can do for you gives you a good idea about what the software does as well. All the programs in the Adobe Creative Suite have different preferences; however, the way that the Preferences dialog box works in each program is the same.

The Preferences dialog box for each program can be opened by choosing Edit®Preferences (Windows) or Program Name®Preferences®General (Mac). The Preferences dialog box opens, as shown in Figure.

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Figure: Click an item in the list on the left side of the InDesign Preferences dialog box to navigate between each section.

The Preferences dialog box contains a great number of settings you can control by entering values into text fields, using drop-down lists, buttons, check boxes, sliders, and other similar controls. Preferences can be quite detailed; however, you don’t have to know what each preference does or even change any of them. Most dialog boxes containing preferences are quite detailed in outlining what the preferences control and are therefore intuitive to use. Adobe also sometimes includes a Description area near the bottom of the dialog box. When you mouse over a particular control, a description of that control appears in the Description area.

In some Preferences dialog boxes, the left side of the dialog box has a list box containing the different categories of preferences that you can change. Alternatively, a Preferences dialog box might have a drop-down list, like the one from Photoshop shown in Figure. When you select an item in the list box or from the drop-down list, the dialog box jumps to that area containing different setting controls that you can modify.

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Figure: Use the drop-down list in Photoshop’s Preferences dialog box to navigate between each section.

When you’re finished changing the settings in that area, select a new area from the list box or drop-down list to change the settings for a different part of the program.

In some programs, not all the settings you can modify are in the Preferences dialog box. For example, in Illustrator, you can change your color settings by choosing Edit®Color Settings to open the Color Settings dialog box, as shown in Figure. What is very useful about this dialog box is that when you mouse over particular drop-down lists or buttons, a description of that control appears at the bottom of the dialog box.

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Figure: Change the color settings in Illustrator.

In many Adobe Creative Suite programs, you have an option for setting up the main preferences for the overall document, such as setting up the page dimensions, number of pages in the document, or the orientation (landscape or portrait) of the pages. In GoLive and Photoshop, these kinds of options are available by choosing File®Page Setup; in InDesign, Acrobat, and Illustrator, you choose File®Document Setup. A Page Setup dialog box is shown in Figure.

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Figure: Editing the document settings in Acrobat.

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