Organizing Print Presets
I love having Print Presets in InDesign so I don’t have to enter all the information every time I print.
The problem is, I have so many (and use most of them all the time) and there seems to be no way to put them in any order other than the order I created them in.
Do you have any idea what I’m babbling about, and do you know any solutions?
Yes, I know exactly what you’re babbling about. ;-) It’s aggravating not being able to drag and drop the Presets (in the File > Print Presets > Define dialog box) in the order that you prefer, such as alphabetically. This is true for all the presets, not just the Print ones — you should see the PDF Presets I have, its dropdown menu is almost as long as the list of palettes in the Window menu!
One thing you can do — if you can remember to do this before you open the Print dialog box — is to use the super-secret keyboard shortcut for forcing InDesign menu items to appear in alphabetical order. Hold down Command-Option-Shift (Ctrl-Alt-Shift on Windows) and keep them held down while you open the File menu and then the Print Presets fly-out menu. As long as the keys are still pressed when you open the fly-out, the fly-out menu will be in alphabetical order too.
Here’s a before and after of my InDesign File > Print Presets menu to show how it looks normally (top image) and with the keys held down (bottom image):
This little trick works on all the menus and fly-out menus, in all CSx versions of InDesign, as far as I know. Just select the Print Preset you want from this list and the Print dialog box opens up with that preset active.
Unfortunately the trick doesn’t carry through to dropdown menus in dialog boxes, so you have to remember to do this instead of choosing File > Print (or pressing Command/Ctrl-P). Holding down the three keys while choosing the Presets dropdown menu in the Print dialog box has no effect on their order.
Permanent but Tedious Workaround
Got an extra twenty minutes or so? You can tinker with the Presets so that they appear in any order you desire, both in the File menu’s fly-out menus and in the dropdown menus in the relevant dialog boxes.
We’ll use my five custom Print Presets as an example, though this works with any set of presets in InDesign.
First, open the Preset’s “Define” dialog box from the File menu, and export each custom preset to the desktop or other convenient location. Just select a preset name in the dialog box, click the Save button, and rename the preset from the default “Saved Presets.prst” filename to the name of the selected preset. It doesn’t have to be an exact match — the actual Preset name is saved inside the .prst file — just an identifier.
Here I’m saving (exporting) my “Canon draft proofs” preset as “canon draft:”
After you’ve exported each custom preset, shift-click them all in the dialog box (not the Default one though), and click the Delete button.
Now click the Load button (adobe-speak for “import”) and navigate to where you saved your prst files. Select the one that you want to appear first in the list. InDesign imports that preset and you’ll see its full name appear under the “Default” preset. Continue pressing Load and selecting the other presets, one-by-one in the order you want them to appear.
Here’s my Print Presets > Define dialog box, after I’ve loaded them in alphabetical order:
This way, I don’t have to hold down any special keys, and in the Print dialog box, the presets dropdown menu shows them in this same order.
Here’s that dropdown menu in my Print dialog box. Note the separator bar? I’ll tell you about that in a second.
When I was done loading all my individual presets, I kept the Define dialog box open and added a new preset by clicking the New button. I named it as a series of dashes so it’d look like a separator bar. Since I’d never actually choose this preset — I just wanted the separator bar — I didn’t bother checking the settings for it.
I did that because now, as I save more presets, they’ll appear below the separator bar. It just helps me to remember “the ones above the line are in alpha order, the ones below the line are not,” making it easier to quickly find the preset that I want.