InDesign Secrets: Easter Egg hunt for hidden features

Published by | Thursday, November 3rd, 2011

It’s just past Halloween, you probably haven’t bought your Thanksgiving turkey yet, and the stores are piping in Jingle Bells already. So what is the appropriate InDesign Secret for this time of year? Easter Eggs, of course. In this week’s free movie, David Blatner shows you some of the hidden little tricks (known affectionately as Easter Eggs) you can treat yourself to with InDesign. These hidden mystery features range from the mostly entertaining to the actually useful, but they’re all guaranteed to distract you from your mundane work and holiday overload.

For full frivolity bordering on total time wasting, David will show you how to visit a friendlier version of the ‘angry alien’ you may know and remember from QuarkXPress, and he’ll reveal how the About InDesign credits window can be transformed into an interactive butterfly landscape, complete with pin-a-butterfly capability.

On a more practical level, David reveals Easter Eggs that allow you to set up some custom stroke styles that actually give you patterns you can use. By creating custom strokes called Feet, Woof, and Lights you can automatically create the effects below by simply applying your chosen custom stroke to a boring standard one:

InDesign Custom strokes Feet, Woof, and Lights

In this case I set the Feet stroke to pink, the Woof stroke to brown, and for the Lights stroke I took inspiration from our resident InDesign FX guru and applied a Satin effect to give the bulbs glowing filaments. I can only imagine what Mike Rankin might be able to cook up with these strokes and his magic suitcase full of effects. If you have ideas, please be sure to share them in the comments section below.

Meanwhile, David’s partner in InDesign Secrecy, Anne-Marie Concepcion, has an exclusive members-only movie in the Online Training Library® this week: Cool GREP styles everyone can do. GREP actually stands for General Regular Expression Parsing, but—don’t be scared off—as Anne-Marie points out, it really means: “Way to use InDesign to make efficient formatting.” No tricks or turkeys here!

See you back here in two weeks with more InDesign Secrets.

• All the InDesign Secrets in the Online Training Library®
• Courses by David Blatner in the Online Training Library®
• Courses by Anne-Marie Concepcion in the Online Training Library®
• Courses on InDesign in the Online Training Library®

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8 Responses to “InDesign Secrets: Easter Egg hunt for hidden features”

  1. One more hidden stroke style easter egg: Rainbow. Make sure to use a capital R in the name and to change the type of stroke to Stripe from the dropdown menu before you add it.

  2. Cool, Anne-Marie. That reminds me, the capital letters are very important for all the custom stroke styles. Luckily, I used my hotline to David to figure out why my custom strokes weren’t working. Going to go try the Rainbow now!

  3. MJ Seibert says:

    Thank you!

  4. Jane says:

    *Great* Easter eggs!

    I have to ask if QuarkXPress was accidentally or on purpose misspelled with a lower case “p” — QuarkXpress (sic). The first two comments are about capitalization, so I guess this one is, too!

    • Chelsea Adams, managing editor says:

      Hi Jane! Good find—you uncovered our editorial Easter Egg! We do recognize it’s not as exciting (or as on purpose) as the friendly alien….(oops!) Glad you had a bit of fun with our InDesign Easter Eggs!

  5. Rohit says:

    I am creating an iPad magazine app and I want to include the shake effects. How do I do it using adobe Indesign?

  6. @Rohit, I polled our InDesign brain trust of authors here at, and here’s the scoop from James Fritz:

    “Currently it is possible to use JavaScript on a website to access the shake input on iOS. However, DPS does not allow this action to bubble-up into its system so even if you added it to HTML that you placed in ID via DPS, it would be ignored. ”

    Meanwhile, we’re definitely keeping an eye on the needs of people like you who are using InDesign for creating iPad apps. You may want to check out our course: Up and Running with DPS for more InDesign to iPad tips.

  7. Luk Dhondt says:

    Using a “web viewer” element in Twixl Publisher, an alternative solution for iPad publishing from InDesign, you can use effects like shake or other JavaScript without the limitation Adobe DPS currently has.

    More info about Twixl Publisher is at

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