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Tips, Tricks & Stuff



 Here’s an update to a tip we originally posted in 2009.

Every graphic designer eventually finds themselves facing this client request. You’ve designed a newsletter layout in Adobe InDesign. The client loves it, but they want a template in Microsoft Word they can edit themselves.


CreativeTechs happens to be located in Seattle, just across the lake from the Redmond campus of Microsoft. Needless to say, we get this question a LOT from various graphic designers in our area. There isn’t a perfect solution, but here is a technique that does a surprisingly good job.

Read more »

Here are a few of our favorite tips, in no particular order, for optimizing and using iOS 7.


1. Reduce Motion.

It doesn’t look as cool, but it makes the interface feel even a bit quicker. Best of all, it doesn’t make you dizzy. Settings / General / Accessibility / Reduce Motion.


2. Larger Type / Bold Type.

Many people have complained that its a bit more difficult to read with the narrow typeface. Did you know you can make it all larger? Or even just make it bold. Super handy for when you are looking at your phone on the go. Settings / General / Accessibility / Larger Type.  Then you can adjust the slider to decide just how much larger you want it. Feel like that isn’t quite enough? Bold Type is right there too. Settings / General / Accessibility / Bold Type.

Note Bold Type setting requires a restart to take effect.

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Have you lost track of that important email? Can you only remember part of the necessary information for a successful search? Don’t worry, Apple has included a valuable and intuitive new way to search in the newest version of mail.

The Problem:

The modern Mail user is in need of more and more email accounts. It is commonplace to have a work, personal, gmail, and any number of other accounts at a single time. This means that it is easier than ever before to lose track of essential emails. Read more »

HelpWanted-iPhone.pngCreativeTechs is looking for an additional Mac Consultant to join our team.

We’ve been continuing to grow over the last year. We are (frankly) somewhat desperate for a talented Mac IT person who can hit the ground running and continue to help our team grow to the next level.

Over the last decade, CreativeTechs has grown into the Pacific Northwest’s premiere team of Macintosh experts. Our Mac IT consultants support some of the best Mac-based creative teams in the greater Seattle area, including design firms, ad agencies, photographers, video studios, and in-house creative departments.

Read more »

Adobe EPUB Books

The acceptance of mainstream eBooks is just getting started, and publishers are very interested in the future of digital books. Apple’s new iPad will use the open EPUB format for selling and distributing electronic books (iBooks) on their new tablet.

If you work in the publishing industry, it’s time to learn what the EPUB format is all about. A good place to start is with a series of three new how-to guides from Adobe on producing and exporting EPUB eBooks from InDesign:

PDF: How to export EPUB eBooks from InDesign.

PDF: Working with images in InDesign for export to EPUB.

PDF: Common questions about exporting EPUB files from InDesign.

Link: Adobe How-To Guides: Producing EPUB eBooks from InDesign.

Source: This tip inspired by a post by Anne-Marie Concepcion on InDesign Secrets. Designer’s in Seattle may be interested in The InDesignSecrets Print and ePublishing Conference May 12–14, 2010.

PSCS5-SneakPeak.pngHere is a great little treat.

Photoshop Product Manager, Bryan O’Neil Hughes, shared a glimpse of new selection technology that offers better edge detection and masking results in less time—even with the trickiest images, like hair.

Video: Photoshop Selections Sneak Peek.

The video is only about a minute long, but it reveals that Adobe has some powerful tools slated for future versions of Photoshop.

Source: We don’t know when CS5 will ship (or even if that’s what it will be called) — but rest assured that as soon as the new tools are unveiled, you can expect a slate of live worldwide classes exploring the latest features in our online classroom.


I love the solid feel of a clean grid-based layout. Get started with this handy collection of resources for working with the 960 pixel grid system many web designers use to streamline web development.

Link: 960 Gridder Overlay. (shown above)

Link: 960 Grid System – Resources and Links.

Link: The Grid System – Grid systems for designers (print & web).

Link: Typogridphy – Working the 960 grid with Type.

Source: I’d been thinking a lot about grids lately. This tip inspired by an upcoming website redesign for the CreativeTechs Training site.

MailChimpGroups.pngThis is an open letter to the MailChimp team:

Let me start off by saying that I LOVE the MailChimp service for handling email newsletters. We’ve been MailChimp clients for over years, and MailChimp has been my product of choice for most of the email marketing classes I’ve led over the years.

But the Interest Groups feature in MailChimp is broken. I’m hoping that by demonstrating our problems with the current Interest Groups implementation, those issues will be addressed, and I’ll be able to continue using MailChimp for many years to come. As it stands today, I’m seriously considering moving to another service for our training classes. And I’d really prefer to stay with MailChimp. Read more »

Last week Steve Jobs unvieled the new Apple iPad. Happily, almost everything we’ve been learning about developing iPhone Web Apps looks like it’s going to work the same for Apple’s new tablet.

Here is a short video exceprt from the first week of Elisabeth Robson’s course, Learn to Build iPhone Web Apps, showing how to use a simple CSS Media Query to easily customize your website for visitors on mobile browsers.

Note: Although this was presented two weeks before the iPad announcement, the first question asked in Q&A was about Apple’s upcoming then-unconfirmed tablet device.

Source: We demonstrate a simple CSS Media Query for sample CreativeTechs Web App. Visit this page from an iPhone, and you see a sample App. Visit from a desktop broswer and the page is tucked into a simple iPhone preview:

clicktoflash-nytimes.pngOne of the more controversial choices in the new Apple iPad is the lack of support for Flash-based content.

So, what does the web look like without Flash? If you are curious, there are a number of utilities and scripts that allow you to disable Flash on your desktop browser. Here are a couple plugins:

Safari (Mac): ClickToFlash

Firefox (both): Flashblocker

Flash elements are replaced with a simple box – which I find does speed up much of my web browsing. When you want to view the Flash, just click on it to play as normal (and option that won’t be available on the iPad).

Source: I was turned onto ClickToFlash by consultant Kyle Pauley who owns and leads the Mac Support side of CreativeTechs in Seattle.