Configurable toolbar and type effects for InDesign

utilitybeltUtility Belt is a bundle consisting of two InDesign plug-ins: CTBar and TypeEffects. (Previously available separately, these plug-ins are now only available as part of the bundle.) If you’re not a keyboard-shortcut user, you may find CTBar useful. CTBar is a configurable toolbar designed to give quick access to InDesign menu commands. The plug-in is extremely simple to use: Just select the menu and add the button to the floating palette. The only customizable option is the icon used on the button. Unfortunately, this plug-in can only assign buttons to actual menu items, not to any available command, such as Save All Open Documents (Command-Option-Shift-S [PC: Control-Alt-Shift-S]).

CTBar is strictly for users new to InDesign who have no desire to learn keyboard shortcuts. If I were dealing with such a user, however, I’d want them to learn where the menus are located, not use buttons. Advanced users will want to use or assign keyboard shortcuts.

The TypeEffects plug-in fares a little better. Again, it’s very simple to use and appears to use Photoshop-like warp effects on the type. Of course, assuming you have Photoshop or Illustrator, you’d probably use those programs instead; however, some users may not have those applications, so the plug-in can be useful. The plug-in converts your type to a raster image, with options only for 150, 300, and 600 dpi (ppi). The highest setting, 600, may not be good enough for high-end output. Another drawback is that an individual effect can’t be selected directly in the TypeEffects dialog; the user has to click through them to find the correct one.

Overall, even though a beginner may find these plug-ins useful, I don’t think they’re worth the price for the more advanced user. —David Creamer

PRICE: $69.95
FROM: Andromeda Software, Inc.

HOT Creates type effects directly in InDesign
NOT Unnecessary for intermediate-to-advanced users