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Is there any way to hide the main/home window that's always there in the background? I find it annoying and gets in the way.
Whenever I close a file, I have that window staring at me which I find annoying and not needed.
Thank you for any help.
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I think you are referring to the Application Frame? You can control the display in the Window menu. Just uncheck it.
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THE QUICK ANSWER:
Following up on Barb’s posting, you’ll find one of the controls you’re after at the bottom of the ‘Window’ menu:
But there are other ways to configure InDesign. If you don’t like the busy Home window that pops up every time you start InDesign – or when you close all open documents – continue reading.
THE MORE DETAILED ANSWER:
Your question brings up an interesting user interface matter: if you’re a long-term Macintosh user, how can you restore Adobe applications like InDesign to the way that the user interface originally worked?
When the Macintosh was new, Apple had a very specific set of guidelines about how application interfaces should work. The purpose: to ensure that there was consistency across all applications, no matter who wrote the software. That way, it didn’t matter which application a user was working in: the same action produced the same result. This is why the original Macintosh machines were so intuitive.
In the Macintosh interface, every file and folder would open up in its own separate window. Windows could be overlapped or place side-by-side. You could drag-and-drop things from one window to another, or down onto the desktop. And where there were no windows, you could see the Desktop in the background. Clicking on the Desktop would take you there, just like clicking on an inactive window or application.
InDesign was originally released in 1999 with this style of Macintosh user interface. But there are many different ways of designing and configuring an interface: different people need to work in different ways.
One feature that’s become very popular over the years is the tabbed window. Tabs did not first appear in web browsers, but were already present in dialogue boxes and in panels of applications like early releases of Illustrator and Photoshop. And in the first version of InDesign.
Adobe’s challenge over the years was to design applications and interfaces that worked and looked the same on both Macintosh and Windows. This way, people could move working files backwards and forwards, using consistent interfaces no matter the operating system.
This is why the Application Frame feature was added to Macintosh versions of Adobe applications. On historical versions of Windows, every application has its own application frame. And every application’s file windows had to exist within that application frame. Thus file windows are grouped by application on Windows. This is different from the Macintosh approach: where file windows are freeform, allowing you to easily drag-and-drop between windows, regardless of the application.
Since Adobe couldn’t change the way that the Windows interface relied on application frames, they decided instead to adjust the Macintosh versions of their software to follow the Windows approach too. When this feature was originally introduced, it upset a lot of Macintosh users – who were very used to dragging-and-dropping however they liked – or who simply wanted to click through to the Desktop.
Fortunately, the command ‘Window > Application Frame’ exists. That way, you can revert back to the original Macintosh interface behaviour. When you switch this switch, InDesign will respect your setting from that point on.
Plus you’ll also find the ‘Window > Application Frame’ command available in other Adobe applications, like Illustrator, Photoshop, and InCopy. Most of the audio and video editing applications like After Effects don’t have the setting, because their interfaces were built differently from Apple’s original Macintosh recommendations.
The application frame is not the only newer interface feature that has appeared in Adobe’s Macintosh software. Another is the tabbed window: largely inspired by the same feature that everyone takes for granted in web browsers. The tabbed window is an indispensable interface feature today. But it does have a problem.
Apple’s original Macintosh interface called for separate windows for each file and folder. This made drag-and-drop logical and intuitive. But when a window has tabs, it’s not so obvious how drag-and-drop works. You can still easily drag-and-drop between windows, but most obviously between the active tabs of windows.
But what happens if you need to drag-and-drop between different tabs in the same window? It’s not quite as intuitive. You can technically do so, but how the feature works depends upon the application. The result: there are a good number of Macintosh users who prefer separate windows over tabs, and who also like to see through to the Desktop.
If you’re one of those people, Adobe applications like Illustrator, Photoshop, InDesign, and others have settings that allow you to restore that interface behaviour. The ‘Window > Application Frame’ command will get you halfway. If you want to switch from tabbed windows to separate windows, you’ll need to take a trip to the Preference panels.
In the ‘InDesign > Preferences > Interface…’ panel, you’ll find the switches to control tabbed windows:
There are two switches that you’ll need to turn off: ‘Open Documents as Tabs’ and ‘Enable Floating Document Window Docking’. The first switch prevents tabs from forming as you create new documents, or open existing documents. The second switch disables an annoying feature that merges a window you’re moving into another window as a tab, whenever you overlap the two windows.
Other Adobe applications have similar settings for disabling tabbed windows – or enabling them, if you like. These settings are also in the Preferences panels, but in slightly different places than InDesign’s switches.
Another interface feature that some long-term InDesign users want to disable is the Home screen, which appears when you start InDesign.
The Home screen is a useful resource that gives you access to a range of Creative Cloud services. It also has an interface for creating new documents, which is visually different from the standard InDesign interface. These ‘New Document’ controls are simply a reflection of InDesign’s original ‘File > New > Document…’ dialogue box, which is disabled by default in newer versions of the software.
A complaint that I’ve heard from many InDesign users over the years is how the Home screen tends to slow down the application on startup. The most likely reason why this happens: sections of the Home screen need to actively download data from Adobe’s servers. If the servers are slow – or you don’t have a reliable internet connection – waiting for the Home screen to load can be both inconvenient and inefficient.
If you like the Home screen – but don’t like waiting for it to open – try disabling your computer’s internet connection completely before starting InDesign. You may notice that InDesign becomes remarkably snappier, although you also lose active access to online services like Adobe Fonts.
If you’re a long-term user of InDesign – or someone who doesn’t use any features of the Home screen other than the ‘New Document’ section – you can choose to permanently turn it off. Simply go to the InDesign > Preferences > General…’ panel:
At the very top of the ‘General’ panel are a couple of switches. Turn ‘Show Home Screen When No Documents Are Open’ off, and turn ‘Use Legacy “New Document” Dialog’ on. The first switch permanently disables the Home screen. The second switch returns you to the original version of the ‘File > New > Document…’ dialogue box:
Turning the Home screen off and the original ‘File > New > Document…’ dialogue box on returns InDesign to a more consistent interface. A particular advantage: InDesign starts faster. And getting to the point of creating a new document is much faster too, no matter how slow your internet connection is.
When you disable the application frame, tabs, and the Home screen, you can return the Macintosh version of InDesign back to the way it worked in the very beginning. You don’t have change all these settings: if you like tabs but not the Home screen, then keep tabs enabled.
The InDesign team have preserved existing working interfaces, while introducing newer ones. It’s up to you how you choose to work: configure InDesign’s interface to meet your own specific needs, rather than accepting the default application settings.
I hope that answers your question. If not, please let me know.