Multiple Instances of the Same Office Document in 'Alt-Tab' List

The Scenario;  You're a multitasker.  You have two or more documents open in Microsoft Word (by the way, this also applies to Excel and PowerPoint), plus numerous other documents and programs running. 

Multitaskers know about the Alt-Tab keystroke to cycle through everything that is open instead of using the mouse to click on icons in the task bar below.  Alt-Tab takes much less time and effort. 

The Problem: Let's say we have Word Document A and Word Document B open, and we are currently in Word Document A.  We know in our lizard brains that only two Word documents are open, but when we Alt-Tab to travel to the Word Document B our screen shows TWO OF EACH!   Often we land right back in Word Document A from which we were just trying to leave.  What is happening in MSOffice's brain is that it thinks two separate documents are two separate applications.  I swear I could kill the person who thought this would be useful because this has been annoying me for years.  I didn't even know if this problem had a name it was such an enigma.  I've attempted to Google multiple phrases describing this ridiculous state of affairs.  The phrase we need is "App Switching".

The Solution:  File / Options / Advanced.  Then in the Display category, find the "Show all windows in the Taskbar".  Uncheck this, and alt-tab will stop trying to interpret each spreadsheet in the same instance of Excel as a different application.  


InDesign CS6. Updating Links not working.

Let's say you want to continually update an image or file you placed into InDesign from illustrator.  Update not working?  One tip most people don't tell you when your links don't update is:

Edit / Preferences / File Handling

Check, "Create Links When..."

Hope this saved you some time.  Sure wish someone had told me!

DON'T GO YET!  I notice from my Analytics that this page is frequently visited.  Thank you for visiting and using my advice!  Please please please show your appreciation by sharing, adding a comment, or liking it!  

Illustrator CS4: (Windows 7 for the PC) Library Folders and Their Locations On Your System.

For Windows 7 on the PC:

Ever need to find that folder where you store a template?  How about where you stored that favorite Brush you created?  The info on how to locate these Library folders is sparse in the Adobe help websites.  This is what I've figured out so far...

Brushes:  C:\Users\User Name\AppData\Roaming\Adobe\Adobe Illustrator CS4 Settings\en_US\Brushes

Graphic Styles:  C:\Users\User Name\AppData\Roaming\Adobe\Adobe Illustrator CS4 Settings\en_US\Graphic Styles

Swatches:  C:\Users\User Name\AppData\Roaming\Adobe\Adobe Illustrator CS4 Settings\en_US\Swatches

Symbols:  C:\Users\User Name\AppData\Roaming\Adobe\Adobe Illustrator CS4 Settings\en_US\Symbols

Templates:  C:\Program Files\Adobe\Adobe Illustrator CS4\Cool Extras\en_US\Templates

Workspaces:  C:\Users\User Name\AppData\Roaming\Adobe\Adobe Illustrator CS4 Settings\en_US\Workspaces


Best of luck,


J. Rosenfeld

Adobe Photoshop CS4: Working with Alpha Channels, Making Transparent images.

Alpha Channels, in a nutshell, are Layer Masks that you can put aside and use again later in the same document.  While regular layer masks are only for the individual instance where you applied them, Alpha Channels can be used again and again.

Our goal here is to make an image residing in a single layer transparent.  To accomplish this, we will create an Alpha Channel. 

First:  open a document in PS.  Here we have the Adobe logo.


Click the Window drop-down menu, then click Channels.

Your screen should have both the Layers Palette and the Channels Palette open.

Your screen should have both the Layers Palette and the Channels Palette open.


Click the Blue Channel.  In this case it is closest to black as opposed to the Green or Red Channels.  Black normally filters out ALL colored pixels trying to shine through the image on the Layer itself.


Duplicate the Blue Channel by dragging it onto the Channel Palette’s New Layers icon.  Then select the duplicate channel, called "Blue Copy".  (This duplicated channel is the beginning of your Alpha Channel.)


Image / Adjustments / Levels

Pump up the Black to whatever level you like.  Click OK.


Click Image / Adjustments / Invert

Results so far...

CTRL + Click the Alpha Channel icon.  You'll see the dancing ants. 

Select Base Layer in the Layers Palette and click the Add Layer Mask button.  This will load the Alpha Channel into the Layers Palette.

A new Layer Mask is added to the Layers Palette. 

Voila!  Your Adobe logo is now transparent. 

The new mask (in the LAYERS palette and where colored black) prevents all white in the entire original image from shining through to your eye.  At the same time, the new mask (in the LAYERS palette and where colored white) allows all red from the original image to shine through to your eye.  "Black conceals, and white reveals!"

The crucial action that made it look so cool was the Invert.  If you hadn't of done that, your result would be so...

Without that Invert, your Alpha Channel (pre-inversion) would be colored white for the logo "A", and "Adobe" at the bottom and the triangle shapes on the left and right would be colored black.  (Compare with the proper result above.)  So, when you load the non-inverted Alpha Channel into the Layers Palette, "Adobe" and those triangles are transparent.  Why?  "Black conceals and white reveals!", the old rule for Layer Masks.



You see color.   A bright red Adobe icon.  PS does not see color.  PS sees that red as a composite of black and white pixels.

Pixels are the individual units of color in PS.  They're the molecules in the PS body.

PS sees any color pixel only as a mix of black plus white.  These mixes come in three.  modes:  Red Green and Blue, the primary colors of our universe.  Any pixel's black and white mixture is assigned 3 numbers.  (Pure black is R=0, G=0, and B=0.  Pure white is R=255, G=255, and B=255.  Midpoint Grey is R=133,  G=133, and B=133.)  That number combo is all PS sees, and is happy seeing.  You, on the other hand, get all emotional about how the color affects your life and your feelings. 

If you go back to your original image and open the channels palette, you can click each individual palette.  This will show the pixels that belong to that palette.  (Clicking on the RGB channel at the top will keep the image in full living color.)  If you are viewing the Red Channel only, the lighter the spot on the image, the more color red will show through in full living color.  This is best understood by looking for a single big white spot while in the Red channel, and then clicking on the RGB channel to see red appear in the same spot, then clicking on the Red channel again, then the RGB channel again, back and forth a thousand times to see red appear and disappear.

It follows that the darker the spots on the Red channel, the less red will show up in full living color.  Keep clicking back and forth till your mind is wrapped around this concept.  It can take a while.  You'll get it. 

The same concepts apply for Green and Blue channels.

Why did we make a copy of the Blue Channel for our Alpha Channel?  Because it was the darkest one of all for this particular image and therefore easiest to use as that final Layer Mask.  "Black conceals and white reveals!"

Remember, in Layer masks in general, black filters out color from shining through to your eye.  We made a black filter the shape of the Adobe icon, that means NO color will be shining through to your eye.  Hence, a transparent Adobe icon.


Best of luck,


J. Rosenfeld


Illustrator CS4: Breaking Links Between Photoshop and Illustrator.

In the past you may have imported, say a blue circle from a SOURCE FILE in Photoshop, into a TARGET FILE in Illustrator containing, say, a red square.  Then you saved the Illustrator file, and forgot about it.  If imported incorrectly (and you can’t just Edit/Copy from PS and then Edit/Paste into ILL), it caused an error message when you opened the Illustrator file much later on, which brought you here to get a solution.  Welcome!

What happened, technically and behind the scenes, is that a LINK was created between the PS image and ILL.  The terrific idea behind linking is that whenever you change the PS image, it will automatically update every ILL file that imported that image.   This is a great feature when operating under strict controls that never change.  But it causes error messages and a lot of headaches when, likely, the source file in Photoshop changed significantly (like a name change) or was deleted to free up space, or any number of other situations.

This is my solution, and it involves breaking the link:

In Illustrator:  I found the best process is to start by opening a new blank file, and NOT work immediately with the target file.

Click File / Place

Choose the source Photoshop file to import

Click OK, and the imported file opens in Illustrator.

Select the desired layer, and copy

Now go to your target file

Click Edit / Paste in Front

Open Links Panel

In Links Panel, open fly-away menu

Click Embed Image

Dialog box pops up

Click Convert Layers to Objects


Rename layer!!!!!!

File / Save target file

Close and reopen to double-check if the Link is broken, so no future mishaps with deleted linked files.

No more linked images, no more headaches.


Photoshop CS4: Uploading Images to the Web


Some basic guides. 

You'll need to create and save the image in Photoshop first.

Then click Image menu / Image Size. 

Begin at bottom & work your way up to top (really!)

  • Bicubic Sharper (which can also be set in Preferences)
  • Checkmark all 3:  Resample Image; Constrain Proportions; Scale Style. 
  • Document Size: Resolution: 72ppi (96ppi doesn't make the image smaller, in this example at least.)

Then save File as a .jpg. 

File / Save As / .jpg.

All of the measurements in inches or centimeters, the pixel height and width, and the resolution, stay the same during the conversion process. 

In my experience, changing the ppi and the physical measurements in inches or centimeters, etc, is the way to resize images for the web.  Changing the Quality measurements while saving as .jpg doesn't do it.

NOTE:  As you reduce the size of the image, the sharpness of detail increases.