It may depend on who your friends (or enemies) are … but at any rate, here are a few tricks and tips on using BookSmart for smoother and more powerful bookmaking. A version of this post ran in July 2008 and we thought it was time for an update. Read on for some great tips and smart ideas.
Lock Your Spreads Together
You’ll hear book designers often refer to “spreads” when talking about books. A spread is simply the two side-by-side pages you see when you open a book — both the left and the right pages viewed as a whole. You can lock spreads or individual pages together in BookSmart using the handy “lock pages” feature hidden away under a right-click menu. To find this gem, select your page or spread in the page thumbnails (see below) and right-click on your mouse. Click on “Page Lock Options” to lock together a page, spread, or all of the spreads in your book. A locked spread can still be edited — it will just act like two pages that can be moved or deleted as a single entity.
Drag and Drop Images Directly to Page Thumbnails
Thumbnails are the tiny pages at the bottom of BookSmart that you use to navigate forward and backward in your book. You can also drag images from your photo library or page layout directly to the thumbnails, which is really helpful when you want to move an image to a different page in the book. Give it a try.
Hang Your (Virtual) Shingle
Once you’ve created your masterpiece, why not share it with the world (or a little corner of it). Our recent release of BookShow makes it easy to post a preview of a portion or your entire book to Facebook, your blog, or website. Did you know you already have a virtual bookstore that can be shared? To see a list of all of your public books add your username to the end of this link where it says username: blurb.com/user/store/username For example, my public bookstore can be found at: http://www.blurb.com/user/store/CapnScrappy To share, simply share that link.
Show Unused Photos
Not sure which photos in your photo library you’ve already placed in your book? The “Filter” menu at the top of “My Imported Photos” holds many options for viewing and sorting your photos, and the “Show Used Photos” and “Show Unused Photos” filters are incredibly useful since they hide or show all photos you’ve already placed … leaving only those that are still looking for a layout home.
Use Arrows to Nudge an Image
If you are looking for precise control over how your photo is positioned within a layout, try using the arrow keys (Up, Down, Left, Right) to nudge your photo once it has been added to a layout. Simply select the image and tap on the arrow keys.
Use Keyboard Shortcuts and Right-Click Menus
Nothing says “Power User” like keyboard shortcuts … unless it’s getting your right-click on. You can find a full list of BookSmart shortcuts in this FAQ. Looking beyond the standard Copy/Paste? You might try Image Alignment (Cmd/Ctrl + Shift + C centers your image for instance), Zoom In (Cmd/Ctrl + =) and Zoom Out (Cmd/Ctrl + – ). Also, try out right-click menus when you’re selecting photos and pages — you’ll get quick access to common actions.
Turn off Text Auto-Zoom
When you insert your cursor into a text box in BookSmart it automatically zooms in so you can edit the text at an easier-to-read size. If you’d rather zoom on your own, just turn this feature off. Look at the bottom of the View menu and click on the “Auto-Zoom for Text Input” option to toggle this on and off.
“Copy and Paste Page Layout” is Your New Best Friend
This one may be obvious, but it’s also something I find myself using over and over again. Once you have a layout, spread, or sequence of layouts that you’re happy with, it’s easy to build out a book full of those layouts — all ready for your photos or text. Simply select the layout by clicking on the page thumbnail (at the bottom of BookSmart interface) and Shift-Click to select the additional layouts. Then Copy and Paste over and over again to build out your template.
Paste Text to Match Style
Many people write and edit big chunks of text using their word processor tool of choice. When you copy and paste that text into BookSmart it will, for the most part, keep the style (font, color, size) that you were using in the word processor. This can be a powerful tip in itself, but what if you’ve already defined a look and feel for your text in BookSmart? Under the “Edit” menu you’ll find an option to “Paste Plain Text.” Paste your text using that option, and it will take on the style already defined in BookSmart.
Save Headers and Footers Until Last
Headers and footers are also referred to as folios. These are the small text boxes on the top and bottom of many pages that are used for page numbers, book title, chapter title, etc. We also see the occasional Blurb book that utilizes folios for photo captions. My only tip here is to not worry about designing your folios until you’ve laid out your entire book. At that point click in, edit and style the text, and determine if you’d like to apply the style to the whole book, the chapter, or just the page.
Hope these are helpful, and that you found at least one or two you didn’t already know.
Have other tips and tricks not mentioned here? Leave us a comment with your favorite.