- User name
- Document name
- Document file path
- Date saved
- Date printed
- Spot colors used
- Fonts used
The Locked or Hidden Detector (LorH) is now available in the Worker72a collection. This plugin for Adobe Illustrator scans your documents for art objects that are locked or hidden. You can run it with a menu selection or set it to automatically scan every document you open.
This update now runs under Windows and on Apple’s new M1-series processors. You can download it and evaluate it with 500 free trial uses.
The second Worker72a plugin is now available here. When Text Overflow Alert is installed, it automatically scans all documents when opened for text frames or text paths with overflowed text, and selects it for you to inspect and edit as needed. You can read more about it on its product page or follow upcoming Worker 72a plugins on the Worker72a download page.
The plugin is on sale through August 2022, with prices as low as $3.00 for an individual license.
Look for more Worker72a plugins in the near future.
Worker72a is now part of the Graffix family of Adobe Illustrator plugins
Doug Habben has been writing Adobe Illustrator plugins for a couple of decades, and in 2006 began offering them to the public under the banner of Worker72a. Doug and I have been in touch for many years, trading tips as fellow part-time plugin developers. After several years of retirement from his day job, Doug decided to retire from his own business, as well, and contacted me about handling and maintaining his plugins going forward. We obviously reached an agreement and for the first time, Worker72a plugins will be available for Windows, and also run natively on the new Apple M1 processors.
The first of Doug’s plugins to migrate over is White Overprint Detector. When installed, it automatically scans all opened documents for text or path art with white overprinting strokes or fills, and selects it for you to inspect and edit as needed. You can read more about it on its product page or follow upcoming Worker 72a plugins on the Worker72a download page.
The plugin is on sale through August 2022, with prices as low as $3.00 for an individual license.
Best wishes to Doug in his “other” retirement!
Wrangling those oddball oblique angles just got a lot easier!
If you do technical illustrations or just work in isometric, you’ve probably struggled with surfaces that don’t lie on any of the isometric planes. AxoTools’ Transformations panel helps coerce orthographic art into any series of known rotations, but now you have a tool to help place your flat art onto surfaces at oddball angles. Tame those angled walls and tilted panels!
The new Auxiliary Projection panel helps you determine the projection of a path that’s been twisted into something resembling a parallelogram at any angle. With it, you can flatten the oblique art back to an orthographic view, project orthographic art to fit the oblique projection, extrude and move art along the projection’s axes, and draw new matching art following the auxiliary projection’s axis angles.
AxoTools comes with a thousand free trial uses that you can use at your leisure to download and try it out.
For current users, this is a free update. Through May 2022, regular licenses are 1/3 off and annual licenses 1/2 off, starting at only $5.00!
Available for Adobe Illustrator CC 2019 through 2022, Mac or Windows.
Sometimes we run into jobs that require variations of artwork where we start with a sample, and once approved, the customer provides the remainder of the information. This often means duplicating what we have and embarking on a tedious process of changing the parts that are different. If the text needs more than one style, re-applying fonts, weights, colors, etc., can become time consuming. Here’s a way to streamline that process using the TextSync plugin.
Say we’re doing a series of information on various states. Let’s start with Minnesota, using a state outline and an area text object. Since the text frame may shrink or grow from one state to another, it’s probably a good idea to go to the Type menu and set the Area Type Options to enable Auto Size.
In this first example, we set the state name to a larger size, bold, and add a color. Assign a character style (I called it “State”). Assign the remaining text another style (in this case “info”). Select the capital city of St. Paul and change its formatting, then assign a style. Next, the term “Vikings” will change for other states, so select it and assign a new style, even though the actual formatting doesn’t change from the text surrounding it. Last, assign a character style to the text of the beer name.
In the Layers panel, duplicate the layer and give each a descriptive name. With nothing selected, export all of the text of the document with the menu command File > TextSync > Export Text Objects… You’ll see a dialog prompting you to create a text file to save the data in. At this point your document contains a hidden index correlating the text objects to each line item of the file. Because of the way the text is broken into blocks according to its formatting, it’s probably easiest to edit it in a spreadsheet application such as Microsoft Excel. Here’s what our sample’s file looks like:
The first column contains the ID of each text object. Do not change or delete these! The “<p>” at the beginning of column C represents a paragraph break. Similarly, a tab character would be indicated with a “<t>” notation. You can see here that it’s helpful to not include the return character in the formatted state text, so that it stays in the column we won’t edit.
Let’s select cell B1 and change the state name to Illinois. Now tab to column F and change Vikings to Bears, then change the beer name in column H, then make changes for Wisconsin in row 2.
Now we’ll import this back into our Illustrator document. We can save this file out as tab-delimited text and in Illustrator, select it with the menu item File > TextSync > Import Text Objects… A faster way, though, if you’re editing the text file on the same computer as your Illustrator file, is this:
- Select the data
- Copy the data to the clipboard
- In Illustrator, press the Alt or Option key as you select the menu item to import.
Your text will update with formatting preserved, because the tabs in the exported file represent the areas where formatting changes. That’s why we gave the football team its own character style, even though the characters didn’t really change. If we replace the state outlines to match, we’ll get something like this:
To change the text formatting, you need only double-click the character style in the Character Styles panel and change the specifications there, and the text with that style will update everywhere in the document.
You’ll probably find this most useful for when you have many labels with similar formatting, or using layers with different specifications for different products.
If you have one or more text objects selected when you export, only the selected objects will be exported. With nothing selected, everything is exported. If text files are imported with no IDs or IDs that don’t correlate with existing text objects, new text objects will be created, one for each line of text. This can be useful for importing files with lists of callouts to be added.
Please keep in mind that each “chunk” of text represents what’s known internally in Illustrator as a text run. Each text run ends and a new one begins where the formatting changes. TextSync doesn’t support specific format changes, but was created to allow the contents of many formatted callouts to be exported and edited outside of Illustrator, then updated in their original locations with minimal effort.
I hope this saves you as much time as it’s saved me. Remember, it comes with 100 trial uses to import and export to test if it’s useful for you.
It’s now even easier to create technical illustrations and infographics with AxoTools for Adobe Illustrator. The new Extrude tool in this free update turns a flat path into a simulated 3D view of the art extruded along any of the axes defined in your Axo Projection panel. There are several options for using the tool.
Simply drag a selected path along one of the axes to add the extruded sides. Press Option or Alt while dragging to also project the art to the corresponding axonometric face. The result is not real 3D, and can’t be further rotated as in complex and expensive object modeling software, but it is Illustrator artwork that can be edited without first being expanded. Press Alt/Option while dragging to also project orthographic art to your axonometric plane before extruding for a quick one-swipe operation.
Scaled from orthographic views:
When doing technical drawings, you can add depth to objects based on flat views you already have, without guessing, or calculating or transferring measurements.
When drawing complex shapes like gears, let the Extrude tool do the tedious work of adding connecting lines and applying detail and outline stroke widths. AxoTools’ Extrude can also fill your art with white or other color, allowing you to rearrange pieces without manually removing lines from objects behind it.
When creating extruded art, choose how you want the art filled:
- Wireframe (no fill)
- Fill with white
- Fill with object color (retain the fill color of the original art)
- Fill with shaded object color (lighter on the top face, darker on the right)
Extrude numerically if you’d prefer.
- Enter a distance in points, mm, cm, or inches
- Select whether to foreshorten the distance relative to the axis it’s on
- Enter an angle or click an arrow to choose an axis and direction to extrude
- Choose whether to project the art to the axonometric face
The Axes here relate to the current view defined in your AxoTools Projection panel, so you’re not limited to isometric.
Click the Extrude button to draw your axonometric art.
If you have other art to extrude to the same settings, whether you dragged the tool or used the Extrude panel, select the other art and click. The art will be projected, if needed, anchored at the point clicked, then extruded.
Now when you create a cube or cylinder primitive, it will apply the detail and outline stroke weights. Of course, the primitive reflects the current projection, not just isometric.
Enhanced Line tool
The Axo Line tool now draws with the stroke weights defined in the Axo Draw Settings panel, and allows you to change line weights or pick up stroke properties from other paths with just a click.
Both the Line tool and primitives will continue to function for FREE after the trial uses have been used, as a replacement for and upgrade from the old Isometric Line Tool.
With 500 free trial uses of the tool, you can try it out at your leisure and likely even finish a job or two with it before making a commitment. It’s available now for download in the Adobe Illustrator Plugins page under the Downloads menu.
One of my favorite tools in Adobe Illustrator is the Free Transform tool, but it does have a few quirks in more recent versions of Illustrator. Say you have a shape made of two rectangles, one of which is rotated 90° from the other, and both rotated some random small amount. With one rectangle selected while using Adobe’s Free Transform Tool, all is well.
Now select the second rectangle and the bounding box is no longer rotated with the selection.
With ToolShed’s new Transform tool, the bounding box is always rotated to match the topmost object, so you can transform these rectangles as though they were one object. One way around this would be to use the Square Up plugin to square the objects along their dominant axis, but that’s now an unnecessary step.
If you press the shift key while rotating, ToolShed’s Transform tool will rotate only the bounding box, which makes it easy to stretch your art along any angle you wish!
Using Adobe’s Free Transform tool, I often grab the handle on a side to stretch it a bit taller or wider, but then it goes all cattywompus. Using the Free Transform tool on more recent versions of Illustrator requires us to first lock proportions by clicking an icon in another tiny palette that, it seems, is always hidden behind other panels. In addition, grabbing a corner to rescale it often seems to rotate the art instead of scaling it. Ain’t nobody got time for that! ToolShed’s Transform tool doesn’t skew and doesn’t rotate from a corner, so for most purposes, you can work more quickly and with fewer surprises.
Remember, you can download ToolShed and try it out with a thousand trial uses that don’t expire before you have a chance to seriously test it. They don’t expire at all!