Review: Slendro PictureLinks for InDesign

Useful plug-in provides link palette that's better than the InD Links palette on steroids

Slendro PictureLinks Palette
The Slendro PictureLinks Palette (click to enlarge).

The InDesign Links palette does a fair, basic job of cat­e­go­riz­ing your linked pic­tures and graph­ics. The infor­ma­tion on it is, how­ev­er, well … skimpy, and one has to know what one’s files con­tain to avoid mak­ing mis­takes. If you have non-descriptive file names, you’ll need to click the “Go To Link” but­ton to see what you’re relink­ing.

What if you could add all the infor­ma­tion you’d want to see about these files into the links palette? You’d per­haps want a thumb­nail for quick iden­ti­fi­ca­tion, a list of file attrib­ut­es for quick ref­er­ence, an infor­ma­tive file list–maybe with thumb­nails avail­able, and but­tons up front for the most used func­tions. Now, we don’t know what your ver­sion of such a thing might look like, but we’d bet it would look some­thing like Slendro’s PictureLink palette, a plug-in for InDesign.

Everything Up Front And Personal

Slendro’s PictureLinks plug-in installs just by copy­ing into the InDesign plug-ins fold­er, and when InDesign is next launched, the palette is accessed by the Slendro PictureLinks item that now appears on the Window pull-down.

Opening the palette reveals a wealth of infor­ma­tion: indul­gent­ly large thum­nail and com­plete file infor­ma­tion in the top pan­els, an easily-readable file list with luxuriously-large thumb­nails of its own, and a rank of icon­ic but­tons across the bot­tom which bring func­tions not found on the InDesign links palette up front, such as Copy to new fold­er and relink, and Edit Original. The fly­out menu con­trols what infor­ma­tion you see in the descrip­tion col­umn of the list: size, res­o­lu­tion, and col­or space, amongst oth­ers.

Recently we had the chance to use Slendro PictureLinks in the pro­duc­tion of a tabloid-size newslet­ter, and the pic­ture shown above was cap­tured in the process. We found PictureLinks to be a pro­duc­tion enhancer, elim­i­nat­ing a good deal of iden­ti­fi­ca­tion guess­work and telling us as much and more about the files than we actu­al­ly had to know. This plug-in would be ide­al for design­ers lay­ing out a pub­li­ca­tion with a large num­ber of illus­tra­tions, and will spoil any oth­er design­er with its gen­er­ous detail.

The only draw­back is the size of the palette itself–it has to be pret­ty large to include all the stuff it does, which will claim pre­cious screen real-estate on users with sin­gle mon­i­tors of 17- or 19-inch mea­sure­ment. The size is adjustable down­wards, though, and users with small­er screens can just open the palette when they want to actu­al­ly view link infor­ma­tion, so as flaws go, it’s rather a minor one.

For those who want a list, a report can be gen­er­at­ed as a text file. Another nifty fea­ture, the drop­down between the info pan­el and file list, pro­vides a com­plete path to the linked file.

If you like hav­ing a lot of impor­tant infor­ma­tion at your fin­ger­tips about your file links in InDesign, or if you don’t want to both­er with the Bridge, Slendro’s PictureLinks is def­i­nite­ly the way to go.

Price and Availablilty

Slendro’s PictureLinks plu­g­in can be had very eas­i­ly: it’s avail­able at Slendro’s page via this link, which also has a link to the order page.. Price is USD $99.95 for any ver­sion and is down­load­able. PictureLinks comes in three ver­sions: Mac (CS and CS2) and Windows (cur­rent­ly CS2 only).

Pariah Burke

Author, consultant, trainer, guru: Digital Publishing, ePub, InDesign, Illustrator, Photoshop, Quark. Empowering, Informing, Connecting Creative Professionals™

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1 Response

  1. Andrew Smith says:

    Hopefully their site will last longer than the Stolen Sheep one. Never did man­age to get my hands on their palette.

    Andrew