Inside Adobe Bridge and Version Cue: Part 2 | 2 | WebReference

Inside Adobe Bridge and Version Cue: Part 2 | 2

Inside Adobe Bridge and Version Cue: Part 2

Working with Alternates

Another way to create variations of a file with Version Cue is to use alternates. Let's say you have a publication that will be sent to all of the states in the United States. To customize the publication, you will create 50 different covers, each displaying a photo of the state that the publication will be sent to. With InDesign, you can lay out the entire publication and use alternates for each of the state graphics. You can then quickly switch between these alternates for publication. Version Cue lists all the available alternates in the project folder.

You may want to save one or many alternates of a file in your project folder. That way, you can quickly access the other files to show the client a different look.

To create an alternate:

  1. Open the file you want to make an alternate in the program that you created it in.

  2. Choose File → Save As.

  3. If you are saving to the same folder, enter a new name for the file. If you are saving to a different folder, you can keep the same filename.

  4. Click Save.

Now you can view the alternate in the Version Cue/Bridge window.

To view an alternate in the Version Cue/Bridge window, click Alternates View at the bottom of the window. The primary file will be displayed in the left pane, and the alternates will be shown in the right pane (Figure 1-19). Here, you can see a thumbnail of the alternate as well as details on the alternate.

Figure 1-19.

At any time, you can change the primary (the original file used in the project/design) to a different alternate.

To change an alternate to a primary:

  1. Right-click (Windows) or Ctrl-click (Mac) the image in the right pane.

  2. Select Alternates from the contextual menu.

  3. In the Alternates for <filename> dialog box, select the alternate that you want to make primary.

  4. Click Done.

The image you've selected will now be the primary file used in the project. This feature lets you flip between the alternates quickly to show the various choices to your client.

In the Alternates dialog box, you can also choose to remove or open an alternate.

The alternates for a file do not have to reside in the same folder as the file (or as each other).

To make alternates indifferent folders or directories:

  1. In Bridge, open a second window.

  2. Navigate to the folder containing the alternate file.

  3. Select the alternate file—you must be in Alternates View to do this.

  4. Drag the alternate file to the first Bridge window, to the right of the separator. The file in Version Cue updates immediately with the information that there are alternates.

  5. Place the file in InDesign by choosing File → Place. Within InDesign, you can switch between alternates, and you can see all the alternates in one directory and as thumbnails, rather than having to look through a bunch of folders.


Though it sounds like a term straight out of X-Men, metadata is really just a funky name for something we all work with on a regular basis—information about a file. Operating systems (OSs) track information using metadata all the time. Although no one calls them that, things as basic as a file's name, type, date created and modified, and size are all types of metadata. Depending on your OS, you can search on all or some of these bits of metadata to locate a specific file.

In addition to the more familiar metadata, Adobe includes dozens of other text-based information fields that help to further define the characteristics of a file. As of this writing, you can enter some of this metadata manually into a file, but all sorts of metadata fields are populated automatically. To get an idea of how rich your documents are in terms of metadata, click on an image in Bridge and then click the Metadata palette in the lower-left corner (Figure 1-21).

You'll see all sorts of neat information (resolution, physical size, and more) near the top of the Metadata palette. But scroll down…and down…and down. You'll be amazed at the amount of information present. If the image is an original digital camera capture, you'll see everything that's stored in a standard JPEG file, including the exposure mode used for the shot and even the camera make and model (Figure 1-22). Photoshop native files can contain even more information. You can set what metadata you want to view—as well as other preferences—by choosing Bridge → Preferences.

Figure 1-21.

Figure 1-22.

In the future, it isn't hard to imagine software (hopefully from Adobe) that populates even more snazzy and intelligent types of information into a file's metadata. For example, snippets of text from your files, such as the headings in a long document, might be included, or deep, rich details about images in a web page. When it comes to the Adobe Creative Suite file formats, text is cheap. Additional metadata information is so tiny relative to the original file size that adding a bit more of it is never an issue. A fully metadata-stocked image might be less than 1K larger than one with no metadata. Figure 1-23 shows two images side by side: one contains metadata and one doesn't. Can you tell the difference?

Figure 1-23.

Created: March 27, 2003
Revised: March 27, 2006