This is the second review Iâ€™ve done of a Zevrix Solutions product. So far Iâ€™ve been very impressed. And if you didnâ€™t read the Batch Output review â€“ in a nutshell, it got a very big thumbs up from me.
It seems Zevrix Solutions is gradually cornering the market in developing intuitive add-on software that takes InDesign to another level in productivity. LinkOptimizer solves a problem that I and Iâ€™m sure thousands of other InDesign users have many times. But what is it?
Now be honest
Letâ€™s have a virtual hands up. How many times have you finished an InDesign project, â€˜packagedâ€™ it up, written the email to the printer and then realized that itâ€™s a one gigabyte email attachment youâ€™re trying to squeeze dow the pipe?
Or perhaps, left a file printing whilst you made a quick cup of tea only to discover that even though the tea break may of been quick the printing wasnâ€™t?
Well back in the dark days, or should I say Quark days. I used to make a layered PSD, then a flattened hi-res TIFF and then finish the process off with a lo-res TIFF for printing and positional purposes. Then swap around the files according to what I needed to do. What a kerfuffle! Well InDesign changed all that with its ability to make both layered PSDâ€™s and TIFFâ€™s. Weâ€™ve been truly spoilt, and I suppose it makes you become lazy. Why make three files when you can get away with one! Thatâ€™s all well and good but it can cause you long delays with printing, exporting PDFâ€™s and simply trying to get the artwork out the door.
A diet for your documents
Now with LinkOptimizer you may have a solution. I think the easiest way to describe it, is that it’s like a diet for your InDesign documents.
I wrote several drafts of this next section trying to explain the process simply and with as little tech jargon as possible, unsuccessfully might I add. In the end Iâ€™ve opted to keep the words to a minimum and illustrate it using Skitch. As you will see I have set up a simple postcard using a shot of my local Brighton beach. Currently the image in that postcard is 52 megabytes! I deliberately used an extra large image and also cropped in heavily to try and test the power of LinkOptimizer.
There is no way that the image in that file needs to be anywhere near that size. As you can see the image is actually a lot larger than the postcard itself.
What that means, is that every time you print, export and collect that file you are processing hidden megabytes that you donâ€™t actually need. Granted this is a postcard so itâ€™s not the end of world. But say for instance you are working on a magazine, newsletter or a brochure these are all potentially image heavy documents. And it all adds up! After Iâ€™d run LinkOptimizer I was amazed at the saving it had managed and the process of running the app was simplicity itself. LinkOptimizer actually does all of its resizing, optimizing and cropping in Photoshop. But itâ€™s all very sneakily done and so quick â€“ you would hardly notice that Photoshop has launched.
From a whopping 52 megabytes it managed to squeeze the image down to 12 megabytes and it swapped out my old oversized PSD and replaced it with a new lean, mean smaller version automatically. It really is a ‘start it up and go and make a cup of tea process’. However, if like me you wouldnâ€™t want all of your original images cropped, optimized and overwritten it is very easy to set-up LinkOptimizer to make a new image and automatically back-up the old image.
Under the processing pane I almost missed some extra goodies that are also worth a mention. LinkOptimizer can convert image colors to CMYK, RGB or Grayscale, apply sharpening filters, flatten images all on the fly. You can also set tolerances for bleed allowances.
On the LinkOptimizer home page it makes several statements about itâ€™s abilities. I have tested the product and I hope that in my review I have illustrated these points. There is one point though that bugged me:
- saving valuable hard drive and backup storage spaceâ€¦
but please let me explain why.
First of all I want to make it very clear the above statement is not incorrect. LinkOptimizer will save you hard drive space. Itâ€™s more to do with how a typical InDesign user working in a studio would/should work and how I personally handle files for my clients. I would never let LinkOptimizer overwrite an original file. I have been producing artwork for almost twenty years and have been a InDesign user since CS1 and in my experience clients are notorious for changing their minds and backtracking to version 1 from version 28! So for me I would always be gaining an extra image albeit a smaller, leaner, version meaning I would technically be losing storage capacity.
But that aside I was very impressed with LinkOptimizer and think it would be a welcome addition to any modern studio. All it takes is that one nightmare project to arrive and I think LinkOptimizer really could save the day.
LinkOptimizer costs $99.95 for a single user, and has discounts available of multi user licenses. As you would expect you can try before you buy.
LinkOptimizer System Requirements
- Adobe InDesign CS/CS2/CS3
- Adobe Photoshop CS/CS2/CS3
- Mac OS X 10.4.2 “Tiger”
Tip: Last week I finished a project which had lots of images. The printer didnâ€™t have an FTP server and insisted on me supplying the files on email. I ran LinkOptimizer and it did make a considerable saving on the images, however it was still a bit chunky for email. I highly recommend you try sharing your files with Divshare.com which has an excellent FREE account.