InDesign CS 5.5 strikethrough character style fails

Category: Duck Notes

The problem: an InDesign CS 5.5 character style including a strike-out, when used to strike certain out portions of a word, doesn’t always work. The solution is to clear the “ligatures” check box on the “basic character formats” tab of the character style.

When getting ready to publish I newest puzzle book, Cryptic Word Searches, I came across an odd glitch in InDesign CS 5.5. As part of publishing our answers, we use character styles to cross off letters within a word. For example,

Example as expected

We use this to show “hidden words” and other tricks which are part of the puzzle. In the example above, if you take the last three letters of “example”, plus “as” and the first letter of “expected”, you get “please” as the hidden word.

This works most of the time. However, in some cases it wasn’t working, for example:

suffix in greek

The word hidden here is “fixing”, however in InDesign it was appearing as:

suffix in greek

The “fi” in “suffix” was crossed out even though the character style was not applied to it. In other cases, the cross out did not apply when it should have.

The problem always seemed to include the letter “f”.

After confirming that the styles were being applied correctly, I did some experiments and noticed that if a space was added between two letters that weren’t acting correctly, the styles were then applied properly. The final resolution was to completely uncheck the “ligatures” box on the character style. This corrected the problem. It seems that InDesign was trying to bind the letters together and was having an issue with the strike-through. As it’s uncommon to strike out just part of a word, I can see why this is a fairly rare bug.

The InDesign character style dialog 

We used Arial as our font, it’s likely that other fonts would not have demonstrated the problem.

Create Space error: text is too close to trim line

Category: Duck Notes

When submitting the PDF for my newest Sudoku book, Sudoku Atlantis, Create Space rejected the document with:

The images in the interior file extend to the edge(s) of the page. Full-bleed images should extend at least 0.125" beyond the book's trim line on the top, bottom and outer edges. Additionally, all text should be at least 0.25" away from the book's trim lines.

In terms of useful messages, this one isn’t. Notice how it doesn’t tell you where they think this problem or problems are occurring? It’s sort of like going to the doctor and being told “you’re sick, take some medicine.”

After filing a support request, I was told they had to contact their “technical” people. A few days later I was told the problem was associated with my answer section where I had black tabs extending to the bleed line with the word “Answer” appearing in them. I checked. And double checked. And finally figured out what happened.


Here’s the section of the page they rejected on the left and the one they later accepted on the right. In both cases the actual base of the text is more than 0.25" in from the edge of the page.


Rejected by Create Space
Accepted by Create Space



In both cases the baseline of the text is about 5/16" away from the edge of the page. I use InDesign CS 5 and what I had done was use a baseline offset to adjust the text reading “Answer” so it would be just within the required 0.25” away from the edge of the page. Some internal tool of Create Space is not smart enough to realize how this works and so (I’m assuming at this point) it raised a red flag saying that the text was too close to the margin.

It seems clear that no human being ever looked at the pages in question since it would have been easy to determine the text was not too close.

The solution was to make a new text box, well inside the 0.25” boundary with the text and adjust it to fit. The other alternative I considered and rejected was to make the entire black bar plus text be an image. Create Space would have accepted that, however I prefer to keep text in the InDesign document - it comes out sharper that way unless I use a very high resolution image which makes the PDF significantly larger.

When this PDF was submitted it was accepted – and the warning about images extending to the bleed line simply disappeared.


When presented with an error about text too close to trim lines, look for any text that may be adjusted away from the margin but where the text container extends too far. Do not assume that Create Space has actually verified the problem.

Placing an image over an InDesign table cell

Category: Duck Notes

While working on my upcoming Sudoku book (Sudoku Atlantis) I came up with a new need for placing images in my puzzle grid. All of my publishing is done using Adobe InDesign CS5 with a C# program I use as a GUI generating JavaScript code which is then run in InDesign.

Previously I had simply set up a 9x9 array of rectangles on a separate layer within my InDesign template and manually aligned it with the puzzle grid. This worked well enough but I wanted to have a little more flexibility.

What I want to do is be able to create a rectangle in the exact position and size as a table cell.

Read more: Placing an image over an InDesign table cell

8-bit manuals

Category: Duck Notes

While cleaning out some old boxes I found a variety of manuals from my 8-bit days, the days before the Intel 8086 and Motorola 68000 brought us into the 16 bit world. I've scanned them and made PDFs just in case someone should find themselves with an IMSAI 8080 or a Kaypro IV and no manuals...

All of the scans below are Adobe PDF files, optimized for version 8.0 or higher.

The first set is from a little software company in the Pacific Northwest, you may not have heard of them before. These manuals are for the tools we used on Zilog Z80 systems before we started using "C".

You might notice that these are all scans of Xeroxed copies. Back then when you bought software, you never got either a printed book nor - of course - online documentation, you got a stack of paper, 3-hole punched if you were lucky.

Here are the scans of my CP/M (Control Program for Microcomputers) documentation. CP/M is basically the same as IBM's DOS. In fact, if you looked at the API structure for the original MSDOS, by some strange coincidence, the lower numbers for API access were identical to CP/M and the higher numbers were identical to Xenix (sort of the original Linux for microcomputers).

I worked at Kaypro for several years and my first MSDOS computer was a Kaypro 10, purchased through the company at a discount and with payroll deductions (ooh! ah!). Below is the hardware specifications and manuals for the various Kaypro computers.

Lastly I have a manual for my ML 4100 Arium logic analyzer. This was a godsend when working on device drivers in the Z80 world. The Arium replaced the actual Z80 processor chip with a cable and plug. You could then single step the processor, set hardware breakpoints and so forth. Without this gadget debugging device drivers was all trial and error.

Adding Google Adsense ads to Joomla 3.x

Category: Duck Notes

Advertising on your site using Google Adsense is a simple way to earn money from your site visitors. This tutorial will describe how to place a Google Adsense ad on your Joomla! 3.1 site.

You will need the following:

  • The location on your site where you will be placing your ad. This depends entirely on how you want the ad to look (tall and skinny, short and wide, a box, etc.) and where the template you are using for your content pages has room.
  • A Google Adsense account ( In this account you should have created an ad of the size you want. I have several ads I use, the one I'm using in this tutorial is 120 pixels wide by 620 high.


In this example, the template I am using (Pixeldot from has a position labeled as "right" on the template. I'll be placing a tall and skinny ad (120 px wide by 620 px tall) on my pages along the right hand side. In fact if you look to the right on this page you should see an ad from Google.

The Joomla! banner model supports three important concepts, clients, categories and banners. A client is who is supplying the advertisement, a category is used to group ads from one or more clients and a banner is the actual representation of a single ad (or in this case, the JavaScript from Google that displays the ad).

Let's start first by setting up Google as a client. A client is the organization that is paying you (hopefully!) for placing their ads on your site. They may have a budget for impressions or clicks or have other constraints. Google adsense has none of these, but it's helpful to create a client for Google anyway so you can track impressions and clicks.

Log in to your Joomla! 3.1 site as administrator and click on the Components Menu, select Banner and then Clients.

This brings you to the client manager.

Click on the (+) New button in the upper left corner and the "New Client" form appears. We're going to fill in our client's name and contact information – you would only fill in the contact information if you were personally contacting the client and the click the v/ Save & Close button.

Next we're going to create a category. Categories allow you to pick and choose which ads, either by content, source or – very importantly – size and placement will appear on various pages. For example, if on some pages you wanted a horizontal box (short and wide) ad and on others a vertical (tall and narrow) you might set up those two categories. You will then place specific banner ads inside of them.

I'm going to set up a simple category called "Google" in which I will place my one and only ad for the site.

Click on the "Categories" menu selection in the upper left below the (+) New button.

This will show you the default category of Uncategorised but we want our own category, so click the (+) New button. We'll enter the title of "Google" then click the v/ Save & Close button.

We now have a client and a category; it's time to put our banner in. The Joomla! banner model is designed for rotating advertisements and for having the ability to limit the number of impressions each advertisement gets. Since we're just putting up a single Google ad in which Google is in charge of impressions and rotations, we don't have to worry about most of that.

Log in to your adsense account at Google and select which advertisement you want to display. In this case I'm using my 120x600 advertisement; your ad name may be different. Click on the "get code" link below the advertisement title.

This will pop up a screen containing some JavaScript, conveniently marked for you. Copy this code and then switch back to your Joomla! administrator page.

Click on the "Banners" link on the left just below the (+) Save button and enter the name of the ad. I find it useful to include the ad dimensions in the title. Select the Category of "Google", set the Type to "Custom" and insert your copied JavaScript code into the "Custom Code" box.

I suggest clicking (+) Save to save the banner as it is, then click the "Banner Details" tab link. On the details page click the "Unlimited" checkbox, select the "Client" as Google and the "Purchase Type" as unlimited. Save the banner by clicking the "Save" button.

Now comes the part that was most confusing for me when I first started using Joomla!, how to get the ads to actually appear. Everything that you see on a Joomla! page has been assigned to some location in the template, but nowhere in the banners do you get that option.

The solution is to go back to your main administrator menu and go to the Components menu and select Modules.

From the Module Manager, click the (+) New button. You're now asked to select a module type – and there are the banners! Click on this link to create a new Banner module.

For the module you can put in a banner title, I used "right 120x600" to remind me of the exact configuration where I'm planning on placing the ads. For some reason the "Show Title" option defaults to "Show", you should probably set this to "Hide". The only reason I can think of for showing the title is if it's something like "Please visit our sponsors" or equivalent. From the dropdown for "position" I chose where in my template I wanted to place the ad, in the module position in my default site template that's off to the right side of each content page. Depending on your template and where you want to position the ad this may be different. Save the banner at this point if you wish then click the "options" tab link.

On this page you select your client and category both as Google. You can ignore the "Randomise" option since with only one advertisement, it will always put up your Google adsense advertisement.

Save the banner – and that's it. Now go back to your home page and your Google ads should be appearing.


If your ads are NOT appearing, go back to the Module Manager, click on the banner module you created and look at the "Position" again. Make sure that the position you have selected is under the default template for your pages – not the administrator template or a template you're not using. The drop down has grayed subheadings showing the template name; make sure you only pick positions that are below your default template.

Also go back to your Banner, your Client and your Category and make sure that any time there's a choice for "Published", that setting has been made. This should always be the default, but it's possible you clicked "Unpublished" by mistake.

If you're not sure what your default content template is, click on the Extensions ? Template Manager option. Look for template that has the yellow star in the "default" column and "site" in the "Location" column.

If the position is correct but ads are not displaying, go back to the module and turn the banner title back on ("show" instead of "hide") and redisplay your content page. Look around for that text – perhaps it's in a place where you don't expect it or where there's not enough room for the ad to appear.

If the title is not on the page at all then it's possible there is something wrong with your template; that it's been configured wrong or that someone has edited the template file and somehow messed it up.

If the title does appear but the ad does not then go back to adsense, copy the JavaScript again and edit the banner. Empty out the "Custom code" text box (mark all and then delete) then repast the JavaScript. Save the banner and try redisplaying the page again.