Clear Photoshop’s Swatch Palette

Categories Design

The Photoshop swatch palette

Everybody wants a rainbow, apparently.

Whether you’re trying to save a specific set of colors for later use, or simply want a palette with only your colors on it, you’ll likely have encountered a problem that has been plaguing Photoshop for as long as I remember, and still hasn’t been addressed in CS5 (or CS5.5, that I know of): how do you clear the swatch palette?

The only things you can do from Photoshop’s own menus are:

  1. reset the swatch palette to the default colors
  2. replace the palette with a new swatch palette by selecting “Replace Swatches.”

Anyway, there are two ways to clear the swatch palette completely. Actually, there are three, but one of those is to manually right-click each swatch and select Delete swatch.” If you’ve got way too much time on your hands, this would be the way to go. For the rest of us that would rather get on with our lives, there are two better methods of clearing out the palette.

The first method is to do it manually, only with the help of a keyboard shortcut. While holding your mouse cursor over the swatch palette, hold down Alt ( Option on Mac). Your cursor should change to a scissors icon (). Click any color in the swatch palette to delete it. You’ll have to do this over a hundred times to clear out the palette, but if you’re a furious clicker like me, you can have this done in under 10 seconds (I play Starcraft, so…yeah).

The Alt/ Option clicking works fairly well, but is still somewhat labor intensive. If you want to clear it even faster, you can download this (mostly empty) swatch file. It includes only one color, black, so you can simply delete this single swatch and begin filling the palette with your own colors.

Download the file below:

single_swatch.aco (50 bytes)

Adobe Shadow: Speed Up Design on Mobile

Categories Design

Adobe Shadow, not to be confused with DJ Shadow.

Lee Brimelow (evangelist for Adobe) has just posted a link to a new product released in Adobe Labs called ShadowAdobe Edge Inspect. This is an application that sits both on your development machine, and as an app for Android or iOS devices (iPod Touch, iPhone, iPad), enabling you to quickly debug the rendering of websites.

Basically, once you are running Shadow on both your development machine and your mobile device(s), the app will then pair the devices. You then browse websites using your development machine, and your devices browse along with you. No touching, no turning on, and no fiddling with mobile browsers.

Remote inspection of pages is another pretty amazing feature of Shadow. In the same vein as Firebug and Chrome/Safari’s Developer Tools, the DOM can be inspected and edited directly on the device from the development machine.

While this is all very cool, the one downside (yet somehow an upside from Adobe’s point-of-view) is that each device is actually making separate requests to the server for each URL. While this does keep the navigation of pages consistent with how they would actually be browsed, I can’t imagine this working very well for sites that rely heavily on POST requests.

For designers, it seems to be quite an elegant solution to the problem of testing multiple variations on a single site design.

Check it out at the Adobe Labs.

Edit: This is now called “Adobe Edge Inspect” is now included with Creative Cloud subscriptions.

Referrer Spam Trick

Categories Internet

Just a quick post here, since there’s not too much to say about this one.

I received the comment below on one of the blogs I administer:

Hi, I left you a DOFOLLOW backlink on my website. This isnt a spam message, i actually did leave you a backlink on my site. If you check the top of the page you will see “Sites we like” and there will be a link to this site. Would you be kind enough to leave me a backlink? If so my website is http://[SCREW YOU, SPAMMER].com please use the anchor text “[I AM A STUPID SPAMMER]” for the link and add it to a post or as a widget. Then please send me a email at backlink@[NOT A CHANCE].com – If you want me to change your links anchor text let me know. Thanks

Since I’m the curious type, I decided to visit the site. Imagine my surprise when the backlink is actually there!

Wow, really?!

Being that the top of the home page is an extremely unlikely place for a backlink, I entered the URL directly. As expected, the link disappeared.

So, it’s checking the referrer, and displaying the link to one of the sites spammed when the correct referrer is found. Not a new trick, but pretty clever.

Quick Tip: “Permissions” Issue with Adobe Extension Manager

Categories Design

If you receive an error while installing an extension to the CS5 (or CS4) suite like “You do not have appropriate permissions” to install the extension, do the following:

  1. Close Adobe Extension Manager
  2. Through the Windows programs menu, find Adobe Extension Manager and right-click it
  3. Select “Run as Administrator”
  4. Install your extension by double-clicking the .zxp file

WordPress Tip: Adding Custom Menus to a Theme

If you’re using WordPress 3.0 or above (which, if you’re using WordPress, you really should be), you have the option of adding custom menus to your theme without extra plugins.

In the past, this was managed via plugins such as “Page Links To” and “Exclude Pages.” Now, this can all be managed within the WordPress admin console and in your theme, with a decent amount of customization.

In this tutorial, I’m assuming you know the basics of PHP (enough to create your own theme, at least).

To tell WordPress that this theme supports menus, add the following code to your theme’s functions.php file:

// I want to add a header and footer
register_nav_menus( array(
'header' => 'Top Navigation',
'footer' => 'Top Navigation',
));

To use a menu in your theme files, you will need to add a line similar to what’s shown here. I added this in my header.php file for the top navigation, and added a similar line to footer.php:
wp_nav_menu('sort_column=menu_order&menu_class=header-nav&menu=header');

There are many more options available for how your menu is displayed; see the WordPress Codex page for wp_nav_menu.

To create your new menus in WordPress, go to the admin console, click Appearances > Menus. This screen is fairly self-explanatory. I was able to replace three plugins and some custom header and footer code using only this method, in about 10 minutes (including research on wp_nav_menu).

For even more hardcore customization using custom walkers (a feature described in the Codex), check out Christian Budschedl’s excellent post, Improve Your WordPress Navigation Output.

Happy blogging!

Adobe Creative Suite 5.5: Worth the Upgrade?

Categories Design

Adobe Creative Suite 5.5: Make Adobe Money Edition

Note the "CS5.5" tag, because it's the exact same box as CS5.

Adobe has recently released version 5.5 of its Creative Suite packages. Having recently upgraded to CS5 from a mixed CS3/CS4 environment, I had to ask myself if it’s worth both the trouble and expense to upgrade at this point.

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