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InDesign CS5 Document Assets Are Just a Click Away in Mini Bridge

We’re all pretty familiar with the big new features in InDesign CS5. Features such as multiple page sizes have gotten plenty of air time, but there are so many hidden gems in CS5 that’s it’s really hard to know where to start.

Many have already been discussed but one of my favorites involves the use of  Mini Bridge to find all of the links used in a document. This is particularly handy when you’re working on a document and would like to use a graphic that you’ve used in a different InDesign file. In the past, you’d have to open that other document, then look for the link in the links panel and finally, find where it’s stored.

Those steps can be eliminated now. With Mini Bridge open, browse to the InDesign CS5 file that has the graphic you’d like to use. A small icon will appear if you have either detail views or thumbnail views enabled.

Right clicking (control+click if you’re still using a one button mouse) on the file will bring up a contextual menu:

Choose Show Linked Files and Mini Bridge will display all of the assets used in the document regardless of where they are stored. Find the one you need and just drag it into your new document.

As I understand it, this feature uses a new method of embedding metadata InDesign files and therefore won’t work with files saved in earlier versions. And in case you’re wondering, this also works in the full version of Bridge.

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8 Comments on “InDesign CS5 Document Assets Are Just a Click Away in Mini Bridge

  1. Thank you, Bob!

    I too, I am discovering how deeper are the changes in CS5, and the miniBridge is in my list of things what “need more attention”.

  2. I love Mini Bridge! What you describe is a great use for it, too. A couple tips to add on that:

    - You can quickly get MiniBridge to show you the thumbnail of the active InDesign file by choosing Reveal in Mini Bridge, a new option added to the pop-up menu to the left of the horizontal scroll bar.

    - After you choose Show Linked Files, the content window fills up with thumbnail previews of all the links to the ID file, even if they’re actually in various folders on your local drive or server, as you said.

    If you then switch to Bridge (Bridge automatically opens and runs in the background as soon as you click Browse Files in Mini Bridge), you should see the same previews…. they mirror each other.

    Once in big Bridge, you can select all the thumbnails (of the layout’s linked files) and turn them into a Collection — click the New Collection button at the bottom of the Collection panel to the left. That means you can easily see all of the linked files anytime by just clicking the Collection name, no need to find the ID file first. If you switch to MiniBridge, you’ll see the new Collection name appear there too.

  3. Here’s another Mini Bridge “little gem” feature that I love even more than Show Linked Files, and is for any of you who create and use Snippets and Libraries…

    You’ve been able to quickly create a Snippet by dragging any number of selected page items to the Desktop for many versions now. There are two problems with that approach though — you have to be able to see your Desktop which often requires you to move and/or resize the application window first, and, the file name you end up with for your created Snippet is a bit random and meaningless.

    In CS5, Mini Bridge becomes the perfect “drag and drop target” for creating Snippets. Simply drag your selection into the Mini Bridge panel to save the Snippet to the current directory being displayed. Once created, you can simply click on the random file name to give it a proper name, all without having to leave InDesign and perform application window gymnastics.

    Bonus Tips:
    1. Create a specific folder on your hard drive for your Snippets and make that folder a “Favorite” in Mini Bridge. Then drag your selections to that folder. This potentially eliminates the need to create and manage InDesign Libraries, meaning one (or more) less panel(s) to deal with.

    2. When you drag a Snippet from Mini Bridge, it loads it into the Place cursor. Option (Alt) click to place the Snippet in the same X,Y position of the document the Snippet was originally created from.

    3. Assign a keyboard shortcut to Mini Bridge to make it easier/quicker to open and close. I assigned Cmd+Option+B.

  4. This is a great feature and one I’ll use all the time. Shame it doesn’t work with indd files before CS5 as I have tons of client work that would benefit from being accessible with this feature.

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