Quick Solutions to 4 “Impossible” Adobe Problems

In my daily work (and as an Adobe Community Professional), I get asked a lot of questions about how to accomplish specific tasks in Creative Cloud applications like InDesign, Illustrator, and Acrobat. Some folks have questions about an application’s features. Others have issues with a problematic document or corrupted preferences. Some of my favorite questions are the ones that seem at first glance to have no solution. The ones where most folks would say, “Sorry, you just can’t do that in this application.” But often where there’s a will (and some creative thinking) there’s a way.

Below are four solutions to “impossible” problems in Adobe Illustrator and InDesign.

1. Linked images missing in PDFs

Q: I occasionally get PDFs from clients, saved out of InDesign, that need edits. Inevitably, they don’t have the native files, so I’m stuck making edits to the PDF in Illustrator (a horrible workflow, I realize). Usually the files have linked images, so when I open the PDF in Illustrator, the images are missing.

A: Illustrator is not a PDF editor! Weird, unexplainable things can happen when opening a PDF created in InDesign. Instead, open the PDF in Acrobat Pro DC and under the Tools menu, choose Edit.

Here’s a a video tutorial that shows the process:

Edit PDFs Like Never Before in Acrobat DC. from Jeff Witchel on Vimeo.

2. How to Add Rounded Corners to a Table in InDesign

Q: Is it possible to round the corners of a table in InDesign?

A: Technically the answer is no. But there are a few easy workarounds. First, you could put the table it its own text frame. Then do the following:

  • Select your Table and using the Stroke widget in the Stroke panel, choose the outside Strokes.
  • Apply None in the Swatches panel to these outside Strokes.
  • Now, select the Text Frame with your Selection tool (V) and double-click on a corner bounding box point. This should make the Frame the same size as your Table. If not, delete any extra paragraph returns in the Frame.
  • With the Text Frame still selected, add a Stroke to the Frame.
  • Under the Object menu, choose Corner Options and round your corners.


Here’s a Table inside of a Stroked Text Frame with Rounded Corners. Fill the Header with a color by adding a Fill color to the Text Frame itself and Fill the Body Rows by selecting Row Cells in the Table.

Here’s a table inside of a stroked text frame with rounded corners. Fill the header with a color by adding a fill color to the text frame itself and fill the body rows by selecting row cells in the table.

If this technique does not give you the look you need, try creating another empty frame with rounded corners. Then cut the text frame containing the table, select the frame with rounded corners, and choose Edit > Paste Into. The outer frame acts like a mask for original frame, creating a rounded corner effect.

See also: Cool Use for InDesign’s New Graphic Table Cells Feature

3. Paragraph Styles Doing Weird Things

Q: I’m copy/pasting text from MS Word into InDesign (something I’ve done MANY times before without issue). For some reason, the text gets pasted in Didot font, all caps, tracking +50—even though I have never and would never make that a Style anywhere in my document.

When I tried to use the Paragraph Styles I’ve set up to format the text, they don’t work. Only the weird Didot font formatting remains. I cannot override the formatting in any way. I’ve been through all the “Based On” settings in my Styles, and this font (and those settings) do not appear anywhere. It’s like InDesign has decided this is the default setting for all text and will not allow me to change it.

If I change the formatting manually, that works, but as soon as I try to apply a Style, it snaps right back to this Didot madness.

I’ve never seen this before and it’s holding up all my work. Any ideas?

A: Cases like this usually involve a rogue Character Style that has been accidentally applied to the text. Select the text, and change the Character Style to None for all text and the issue will go away.

4. How to Create a Round Cap at One End of a Line in Illustrator

Q: If I draw a line with the Line tool, is it possible to have a Round Cap at just one end? If I use the Cap options in the Stroke panel, it rounds both ends.

A: Simply cut the path in two with the Scissors tool (C) someplace along the path. Apply a Round Cap to just one of the two paths.

A Line segment cut with the Scissors tool (C), so it appears to be a Line with one Round Cap.

A Line segment cut with the Scissors tool (C), so it appears to be a Line with one Round Cap.


Posted on: January 11, 2017

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