ADOBE MUSE CC 2014.1
David Asch - September 17th 2014
Before Adobe launched Creative Cloud, updates to its applications were typically limited to 12 or 18 month cycles. Now, of course, new features can be pushed out as soon as they're ready. Last month, soon after its major 2014 update in June, Muse had its first 'dot' update, taking it to version 2014.1 (that's 8.1, in old money). Here's an overview of what's new in this version; you’ll notice there’s a heavy bias on typography!
One feature that's been conspicuous by its absence up to now is the ability to create bulleted or numbered lists. The new Bullets panel gives you the ability to add fully configurable, multi-level lists to your designs; just create a text box and select the list type, either ordered or unordered, to place it onto the page. You have full control over the bullet style, of course, which can be changed to any colour and character in the chosen font. The list indentation level and its corresponding style can be adjusted, as well as the vertical positioning and spacing between the bullet and the text. There's also the option to turn the bullet off, if you just want to use the list for its layout options.
With all the options you have to configure the bulleted lists, Muse also gives you the ability to save your presets using the Bullet Style Panel. Creating a new bullet style is the same as adding a paragraph or character style, simply click the New Style icon in the panel to create the preset. As with the other preset panels, if you make any changes along the line, you can choose to update the style or revert to the last saved state.
Another addition to Muse’s typography arsenal is a panel for picking out special characters such as the copyright symbol © and ƒ – both very useful if you’re into your photography! The panel is simple, closely resembling Windows’ Charmap. The entire repertoire of the currently selected font is displayed by default. A drop-down menu offers filtered views, enabling you to narrow your search to punctuation, bullets, currency symbols, math symbols and common symbols. The size of the display can be changed with the slider at the bottom of the panel. Inserting the desired character is as easy as clicking it in the window.
In addition to the Typekit and Edge web font libraries available inside Muse, you can now include the web versions of desktop fonts that many type foundries now offer as part of the font package; vastly increasing the options available to you in your designs. The desktop version needs to be installed in order to initially work with the design; the web versions are added using the Add Web Fonts dialog and will be uploaded when the site is published. Note: these fonts need to have the proper licensing rights in order for them to be used.
Keeping with the typography theme, languages that are written right to left, such as Hebrew and Arabic, can now be placed in text frames independently to the rest of the page content. This is useful if your site is predominantly one language but has snippets of information in another. The setting can be toggled in the Text Panel.
As well as text direction, the overall page language can be changed to override the site settings. Again, this is helpful for spell checking sections created in another language. This can be applied to standard pages and Master pages alike.
Another small but useful addition. Checkboxes can now be added to contact forms giving you the ability to have your visitors agree to terms and conditions or request a newsletter, for example. You can choose to make the mandatory and select whether the box is checked bi default via the settings panel. The box can be styled in the usual way; you can also change the checked indicator (a tick mark by default) by replacing the image using the Fill Panel or by right-clicking and choosing Replace Background Image.
Muse forms have had their own version of CAPTCHA for some time. This release sees the addition of Google's reCAPTCHA element. One major benefit of this is it can be used with 3rd party hosts as well as Adobe hosted sites, although you'll need to set up a public and private key via your Google account to use it on non-Adobe hosts.
Previously, when a form was submitted by a user on a Muse site, it was validated using code running on the user’s computer. Server-side validation is more secure and can help to reduce spam
That's all the major changes for this release. There were many behind-the-scenes tweaks and fixes, of course, to make sure the application runs as smoothly as possible. Check back regularly for more news!