Adobe InDesign Tips I Wish I’d Known When Starting Out

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I love Adobe InDesign. For multi-page documents, it’s the most flexible and complete application out there. Yet I remember how counter-intuitive some things were when I was learning it for the first time. Here are some tips I wish I had known when starting out, as well as some answers to questions that others often ask me. This is not intended to be a manual; some good ones are already out there (although I personally learned by doing). Hopefully, these tips will help you make the best of your day-to-day use of InDesign.

Margins And Bleeds

If you are preparing a document for print, keep your margins and bleeds in mind from the beginning. Your printer will give you the measurements for the bleed, but generally 1/8 inch or 3 mm should suffice. Approximately the same area within the document should be kept free of text and important graphic elements (such as the logo). Set up your document for bleed in InDesign as you create it by selecting the correct settings in the document set-up box.

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Master Pages

When you have a multiple-page document, such as a brochure or catalog, using master pages will save you time. Master pages are used to automatically insert layout elements on various pages. All elements of the master page are placed onto any page you choose, and these are by default not selectable, which allows you to further develop the page without worrying about accidentally modifying the pre-defined elements (such as page numbers, grids and guides, and graphic elements).

To set them up, bring up the Pages palette and double-click on “A-Master.”

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Add all of the elements that are repeated throughout most of your document: guides, page numbers, a running text box, image frames, graphic elements, etc. You can have more than one set of master pages in a document, which is particularly useful for brochures, whose content often varies (for example, with a mostly textual introduction followed by image-heavy pages).

To apply your master page to new pages, simply drag it from the Master Pages pane onto the Pages pane in the palette. If you’ve already started working on layout elements but forgot to make a master page, you can turn any page into a master page. Just drag it from the Pages pane to the Master Pages pane.

And yes, you can modify master page elements on a particular page if you need to. Triple-click on the element — that is, click on it while holding down Shift +Command (on a Mac) or Shift + Control (Windows). Now you can select and edit it on the page you are working on while leaving it unchanged on all other pages.

Frames

InDesign places your content in frames. This goes for both text and images as well as databases and interactive content.

There are two types of frames: text and image.

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The text frame is fairly self-explanatory. After creating the shape for a text frame (typically a rectangle, but it could be a circle or a custom shape drawn with the Pen tool), you have two options: either type directly in the frame or import content from another document. To import, go to the File menu and choose Place (or use the shortcut: Command + D on a Mac and Control + D on Windows).

Image frames work in a similar way. After creating an image frame (either by selecting one of the default shapes or drawing one yourself), you can fill it with color or place an image from your computer inside it. Again, this is done by going to FilePlace (or using the shortcut).

Another way to import images and text is to simply drag them onto the document (from Mac’s Finder or Windows Explorer). This will automatically create an image or text frame, import the content and create a link to that file. If you drag content on top of an existing frame, it will replace the existing content but leave the size and cropping intact.

Resizing Content in a Frame

The set of shortcuts for fitting an image to a frame is also useful, and with it you can easily adapt content the way you want. To keep the frame the same size and fit the content proportionally, press Command + Option + Shift + E. (Note that if the image and frame have different proportions, then some white space will be left.)

To fill the frame proportionally, use Command + Option + Shift + C. (If the image and frame have different proportions, then the image will be resized and end up larger than the frame, being cropped the edges.)

To center the content in the frame, use Command + Shift + E. And if you want the image to stay the same and resize the frame instead, then fit the frame to the content with Command + Option + C.

Selecting Frames

Selecting the top frame is easy, but if a lot of frames are overlapping or one is on top of the other, you can cycle through them by holding Command on Mac and Control on Windows and then clicking on the frames to select the lower one. Keep clicking to cycle through them if you have several frames.

Image Formats

InDesign can import many image formats (including JPEG, PNG, EPS, PICT, PDF, PSD and TIFF). If you are preparing a file for print, make sure the images are in an acceptable format. If you’re using a file format that allows for low-resolution settings, such as JPEG, check that the images have a resolution of 300 pixels per inch (PPI) and are saved in CMYK color mode.

Place images at no higher than 100% of their size. That is, if your original image is 3 × 5 inches, don’t blow it up to 12 × 20, because the results would be obviously pixelated.

To be on the safe side, avoid JPEG altogether, and stick with formats that are intended for print, such as EPS and TIFF.

Importing PSD Files

The PSD image format deserves special mention. Being able to import PSD files into InDesign is extremely useful when working with elaborate graphics that have transparent or semi-transparent elements, especially if they are to be placed over colored backgrounds or textures. Another useful feature is the ability to turn the layers in a PSD file on and off directly in InDesign (i.e. without having to open Photoshop).

PSDs take up significant memory, which can sometime cause problems when exporting as PDF. I would recommend avoiding PSD files for simple images that could just as easily be flattened when saved as TIFF or EPS. But in cases where using a PSD file really solves a problem, make sure it is 300 PPI and in CMYK color mode, and keep it at its actual size. And when exporting to PDF, double-check that the transparency flattening is set to high.

Transparency Flattening Presets

You can create custom transparency settings by going to EditTransparency Flattener Presets:

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In most cases, the “High Resolution” setting will suffice. You can make sure this preset is used when exporting to PDF by going to FileExport, selecting PDF and then clicking on the “Advanced” tab. You can now set the “Transparency Flattener” option to “High Resolution” by default.

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Should You Copy And Paste?

One feature of the Adobe Creative Suite is the ability to copy and paste between its applications. But just because you can do this doesn’t mean you should. Vector files should still be created in Illustrator, and raster images should be saved in Photoshop. Not only will you be able to maintain control of these elements, but you’ll be saved from having to update every single occurrence of a given element in multi-page documents. Keep a given graphic in a separate Illustrator or Photoshop file, and you’ll be able to update all occurrences of it with one click.

Every image in an InDesign document can be viewed from the Links palette. Bring it up by going to WindowLinks or by pressing Command/Control + Shift + D.

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You can update placed images or check their locations directly from the Links palette. To bring up the Links menu, select the name of the image and click on the arrow to the right.

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Working With Color

InDesign is set up exactly like Illustrator in terms of using colors. You have the option of working with color sliders directly, and in either RGB or CMYK mode (remember to use CMYK if creating a document for print!). Press F5 to bring up the Color palette, and adjust the CMYK values in the sliders to change the color of the fill or stroke.

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You could also select a color from the Swatches palette or add a new swatch. Bring up the Swatches palette by pressing F6. Saving a color as a swatch makes sense if you use it frequently. Alternatively, you could import swatches that you’ve already created in Illustrator or Photoshop.

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You can also select spot colors from existing libraries, such as Pantone’s. But keep this in mind: if the document will be printed in CMYK only, without using Pantone colors, then you’re better off converting the colors to CMYK so that you get an accurate preview of the result.

Use The Right Black

There seems to be some confusion about the use of rich black, which is made up of all CMYK colors (for example, 40, 40, 30, 100). Rich black is excellent for large areas of black, such as logos and black backgrounds. It prevents fading (to a dull gray), which is especially useful for outdoor posters and flyers.

However, body text should always be in process black (i.e. 100% K) to avoid trapping problems. For the same reason, registration black (which is composed of 100% CMYK) should never be used for body text or thin lines.

Paragraph and Character Styles

The ability to create custom paragraph and character styles is an excellent time-saving feature. This pane is visible in the work area by default, and if you’ve hidden it for some reason, you can bring it up by pressing Command/Control + F11. You can create styles exactly to your liking using many options; and then you can apply them to a portion of text with just one click.

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Character styles work in a similar way, but they don’t have to be separated by the paragraph indents. This is very useful for highlighting words and phrases in a paragraph. You can even embed a character style in a paragraph and then define variables to apply it to certain words or before certain characters.

Special Characters

Special characters — an apparently underused InDesign feature — include things like date, page numbers and the “page 1 of (x)” format. Special characters free you from having to insert this data by hand (or having to modify it by hand whenever significant changes are in order).

In small documents, minor changes are not a major undertaking, but imagine working on a 164-page catalog or a 200-page book. Manually changing all of the page numbers would be a big hassle (trust me: I know from personal experience). To insert special characters, go to the Edit menu.

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Alternatively, simply right-click on active text to bring up the menu. Explore the options; you can insert a variety of symbols, dashes, spaces and indents through this menu, including the very useful “Indent to here.”

Glyphs

These are worth mentioning. With them, you can explore all of the characters in a font, which is handy when you’re looking for a particular symbol or working in a language that has accented characters.

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Use Find/Change

Another extremely useful feature for text-heavy documents is Find/Change. I don’t know about you, but in my experience, the longer the text, the greater the chance that the client will ask me to replace all occurrences of a certain phrase or title. When you have a fully laid-out 192-page book with footnotes, glossary and index, the task of manually replacing phrases is rather daunting.

In such cases, smart use of Find/Change comes to the rescue. You can find it under the Edit menu or press Command/Control + F. If it’s an unusual phrase or title, this is fairly easy: type the original phrase and the new one, and hit “Replace all.” There are advanced options to replace hyphens, em dashes and quotation marks as well.

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If it’s something complex, such as a word that has to be changed only in titles, you can use the advanced options to isolate some distinguishing feature. For example, if the titles are in a different font than the body text, you can use that. Use the font options in the “Find format” box.

You could include things like empty spaces and paragraph breaks in your search if you know, for example, that the word that has to change is followed by a space. Insert these special characters by clicking the “@” arrow to the right of the Find box, or search for a particular glyph by going to the Glyph tab. Replacing glyphs one by one might be best, so that you can monitor your work and progress.

You can even search for objects by using specific formatting options. For example, if all of your frames have a black stroke, and would like to remove the stroke, you can do so by selecting the appropriate options in the Object tab of the Find/Change box.

Of course, if you use Object Styles, which work like Paragraph Styles, then you don’t need this feature. Still, it’s the fastest way to do it if you’ve forgotten to save the style, or if you’re working on a document created by someone else or if you want to change one detail that’s common to several different saved styles.

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Toggle The Preview

Instead of hiding all the guides, you can hit the W key (make sure the text tool isn’t active) to quickly toggle between the document view and the working (or “Normal”) view, which has all of the margins, guides and outlines. I frequently use it for composition checks, because guides tend to distract from the big picture.

Data Import Feature

Few people think this feature is handy. Yet many of us frequently work with tables given to us by clients. The one I run into most often is the Excel spreadsheet of price listings and item features, which I have to make presentable for a catalog or sales collateral. Many designers recreate these tables from scratch to make them clean and attractive, but this can be time-consuming, especially with large tables.

There is a better way. InDesign has an “Import table” feature. You can import the client’s table from Excel and style it however you want. Use the “Place file” option in the File menu (or Command/Control + D), select “Show import options,” and you’ll be able to define the cells to import on the next screen and then style them as a group.

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Learn By Doing

Theory is great, and articles like this one can give you quick useful tips, but the best way to learn is by practice. If you are new to InDesign, try this: use an existing layout as a guide (anything you want: a page from a magazine, a poster or a business card), and try to recreate it from scratch. Familiarize yourself with the tools, menus and options. If you get stuck, you can always search for tips and tutorials or ask a friend.

Adobe InDesign is a versatile application, and there is always something new to learn. Have fun exploring it!

Want To Know More?

Here are a few articles that go into more detail on some of the topics we just covered:

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Footnotes

  1. 1 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/Smashing-InDesign-1.jpg
  2. 2 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/Smashing-InDesign-2.jpg
  3. 3 http://www.smashingmagazine.com//wp-content/uploads/2011/02/Smashing-Indesign-3A.jpg
  4. 4 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/Smashing-Indesign-3B.jpg
  5. 5 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/Smashing-Indesign-4B.jpg
  6. 6 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/Smashing-Indesign-5B.jpg
  7. 7 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/Smashing-Indesign-6B.jpg
  8. 8 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/Smashing-Indesign-6C.jpg
  9. 9 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/Smashing-Indesign-7.jpg
  10. 10 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/Smashing-Indesign-8.jpg
  11. 11 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/Smashing-Indesign-9.jpg
  12. 12 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/Smashing-Indesign-10B.jpg
  13. 13 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/Smashing-Indesign-11.jpg
  14. 14 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/Smashing-Indesign-12D.jpg
  15. 15 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/Smashing-Indesign-12E.jpg
  16. 16 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/Smashing-Indesign-13.jpg
  17. 17 http://indesignsecrets.com/findchange-objects-and-attributes-in-indesign-cs3.php
  18. 18 http://help.adobe.com/en_US/InDesign/6.0/WSa285fff53dea4f8617383751001ea8cb3f-6cafa.html
  19. 19 http://designorati.com/articles/t1/graphic-design/460/indesign-tutorial-add-style-and-save-time-with-paragraph-style-sheets.php
  20. 20 http://help.adobe.com/en_US/InDesign/6.0/WSa285fff53dea4f8617383751001ea8cb3f-700ea.html
  21. 21 http://indesignsecrets.com/downloads/ids_specialchars.pdf

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In addition to Italian, Russian and Dutch, Lisa speaks fluent Advertising and Design, and is happy to translate any concepts and terms into plain English. Lisa is on a mission to reduce the amount of ordinary, mediocre communication and marketing materials. And -- why not? -- to make the world a happier place. One beautiful communication piece at a time. Lisa has 10+ years of design and advertising experience, both in Europe and the US. In her free time, she rescues puppies, grows her own tomatoes, dances, and hangs out on Twitter.

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  1. 1

    I have a question regarding the rendering intent though….

    If i have a SWOP profiled image import form PS to ID, do I still needs to define the Profile and rendering intent in the import option box??

    I read artical that it is no harm to choose it again, if you choose the exact same setting as the image in PS. But do we really need to do it twice??

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  2. 52

    The combination of Photoshop and InDesign has transformed how I work – it’s so much easier now to concentrate on what I want to do, rather than the mechanics of how to do it. Thanks for presenting people with a great primer.

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  3. 103

    The above is all great information…I do not have a vast experience in any computer graphics but am old school advertising. I have tought myself enough to get by on community projects and art club pieces. I was hoping that I could pick your brain on a graphics matter. I have designed some pieces for a small company and done some digital printing and in the course of things come up with a little logo. It has a fast, loose sketch of flowers connected to the logo. The logo is made up of layers of type and these flowers (drawn in photoshop). Now I am sending a job to a digital printer.The piece has a 100% yellow background and I am getting a darker yellow area where the graphics box for the flowers reside in on the piece (even though this background on the art is transparent.) Do you have any suggestions for me????..

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  4. 205

    This was helpful but im having a problem with including bleeds in a booklet when exporting to pdf.

    Im creating an A4 booklet in InDesign with a front cover, a back cover, and a series of two adjacent pages throughout the middle. For the pages that run side by side in the middle there is no bleed line in the middle just around the entire outside of the two pages because this will be printed straight onto an A3 piece of paper. But how can I import my graphics so that they dont bleed over to the other page when I export it as a PDF? When I Export as a PDF each page is saved with its own separate bleed.

    Ive tried everything :( please help

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  5. 256

    Data Merge and save option required
    when i do a data merge for certificate which is A4 size….
    i will get 14 pages in single pdf file…
    since i have to do 14 certificates…

    I have two questions on this…
    1) I need to create separate pdf
    2) I need to name the individual pdf as the name given in the field…

    I need to save the pdf to individual names..

    thanks…
    Regards
    Mathews

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  6. 307
  7. 358

    @ Mathews: I just noticed that script is 4 years old. If that script doesn’t work, I’m pretty sure you can still do something similar in Acrobat Professional. Here’s a more recent article: http://indesignsecrets.com/automatically-generate-multiple-pdf-pages.php

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  8. 409

    Romano op den Kelder

    August 30, 2011 6:56 am

    Hi you all

    I would like to know if it possible to add a field which would would be a version id of the document and every time I would save it it would be added up by 1, so I can see what version I am working with every time.

    is this possible

    Romano

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  9. 460

    I was wondering if there is any way to retrieve or save an InDesign file that has had all the text and images created to outlines? I was handed a file this way and no original file without the outlines is available.

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  10. 511

    i am new to indesign ..i was just obliged (heheh) to use this sw because of our school newspaper
    originally the paper size is that we should work with is 8 1/2″ x 14″ ..apparently when were done we were asked to changed it to 9″ x 12″..will there be a major major adjustments? or is there any tool that automatically change the paper size and its contents? thanks!

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  11. 562

    Amazing! Thanks for clearing Rich Black and Style. I always got a bit confusing about this.

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  12. 613

    Hello,

    Thanks so much for this. I found this when searching for what kinds of documents creating a style sheet makes sense for. Our design staff simply uses last year’s InDesign document and replaces text–sometimes. The problem we’re having is that, even though my Word document was accurate, the designers will use last year’s text and forget to insert the new text. This has just resulted in an error in an annual program that we produce, and it’s embarrassing. I had had to compare my Word document to the proof, but apparently I missed a line. The designers were asked to create style sheets to avoid this problem, and the answer was that it doesn’t make sense to create a style sheet for a program (multipage document that doesn’t change format from year to year). The “solution” was for us in editorial to doublecheck against the Word document anytime we suspect that material was lifted from last year’s version, which just strikes me as time-consuming and ripe for error. There is always the possibility that we would miss something that wasn’t updated.

    Anyway, I would greatly appreciate your input on this issue, and I thank you in advance for your time.

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    • 664

      The conversation of converting RGB to CMYK is important for me as the pre-flight packaging is showing 2432 links found which are using RGB COLOR SPACE. No matter how we got there, long story as this is a very large book – I see in the links panel that the files are RGB color space so question – when I save to CMYK the PNG option does not appear – so how do you preserve transparency or which file type to utilize – PSD?, tiff, jpeg ?

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  13. 715

    Lots of debate is going over here and I am really confused where to starts and where to end to make my file brings a good results. I am very new with InDesign and printing but very curious to know what my file will look when printed.I google thru some few site related to printing but every body/writers talks about different setting and colors management and here I am with no solutions. As going thru your discussion I assumed theres no real proved on anything related to Printing (?) or it all depends on you and your printer?

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  14. 766

    Have to echo John above – I too am very new to InDesign and finding all of this utterly confusing, so I dont think this article is a “beginner’s” article, and definitely the discussion it has sparked makes me want to reach for a bar of chocolate to forget my woes.

    The sad thing is, I did my BA (Hons) in graphic design, many moons ago, and back then InDesign did not exist – we were taught Quark Xpress. Also, our teachers totally neglected to educate us beyond the creation of the design, so we never learned about how to set up the document for professional printing and how to interact with printers; alot of the printing language used above is completely foreign to me.

    Now I suddenly find myself with a job where I have to use InDesign to create a magazine, and I would absolutely love to find a crash course on it online, aimed at designers who dont need to be taught the basics of design, just the basics and details of InDesign itself. If anyone here knows of just such a course/tutorials, please do share. Thanks.

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  15. 817

    super helpful, the above. However I may be losing my mind because I meticuloulsy size a frame at 3 5 / 8 inches. yet when I print it out, it’s more like 3 / 28 inches. Also, the various elements do not match in the print out where I have placed them within the grid. With that, two questions: I used to be able to print an .indd document directly. Now , seems llike I have to export it to .pdf to see it in hard copy. Second, so I can get a grip on what’s going on, is there a way to print out the grid and ruler markings for test print-outs? Hugh befuddled in Los Angeles

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  16. 868

    Every time i want to print into a printer (epson photos style R280 and epson artisan 835… I doesn’t let me change the printer, instead says PostScript®file… Can you help me

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  17. 919

    thank you for your comments. Does anyone know if you how export documents which include text and pictures from Pages to Indesign and still edit them.

    0
  18. 970

    Fantastic article, and comments. There seemed to be 2 discussions at the beginning, I for beginners and 1 for experts. I have about 20 years in prepress and print and can see both sides, and agree with both. While most beginners will be designing and printing smaller projects and will most likely be dealing with smaller print shops, the article is very accurate. Small print shops need to stay competitive and don’t tend to keep up with the latest workflows. So working in CMYK, with 300dpi images is suitable and will result in much better results. When the beginner starts working in large documents, the time spent converting to CMYK and correcting everything will NOT be advantageous. But in that case you would be depending on your printers ability to convert the colour space for you. In either case the best advice is talk to your printers prepress operator/manager if you have any questions. Quite often you’ll get the wrong answers from a sale rep./CSR who is using information from when/what they learned, and can be outdated. As a point on colour conversion no one has touched LAB colour space. Quite a few workflows will convert your RGB files to CMYK using LAB. If you are having trouble keeping your colours bright, try converting RGB to LAB and finally to CMYK.

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  19. 1021

    Good article. I am still hunting for an easy way to do this, which seems vaguely related to this article. I want to insert a variable in a long Book (say 300 pages) where I can merge in a small graphic instead of the variable (e.g. a nice little graphic at the end of a chapter, or a POV graphic in the middle of the chapter, instead of the old *** that was used for centuries. Even a way to search for the key word and replace with a graphic would be all I need (since there would only be one or two levels), although I could see the usefulness of a meta data variable for Chapter NNN for instance where the chapter heading/name has a graphic instead of text.

    I am a newbie, but am an old programmer (rusty on that though) so I assume this can be done, but am a bit stymied by InDesign’s tutorials and help files. I never found Adobe’s way of thinking to quite mesh my own engineering way of thinking :-).

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    • 1072

      I’m also a newb and an electrical engineer turned InDesigner (for personal use).

      I wanted to do the same thing, and the fix I came up with was to use a character/glyph that you don’t use anywhere else in the book and find/replace using ^C (which replaces what you “found” with what is on the clipboard (i.e., your graphic)).

      There is a good chance there’s a better way (the InDesign people are brilliant and think of just about everything), but that’s what I came up with and it worked fine.

      Also great article … I’m reading up on color management before I go to press (so nervous…).

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  20. 1123

    Fantastic article – some really useful advice. I have a question – I’ve neglected to put in page numbers from the start and now the only place they will fit in by not disrupting text is in the bleed margins – will this print? It might be a silly question. If it won’t, does anybody have any shortcuts for placing page numbers as an afterthought? Thanks.

    0
    • 1174

      Page numbers in the bleed will not print unless the text block intersects the page. HOWEVER, once printed, they will be trimmed off. You can create the auto number in your master page, or if your pages vary a lot in height of margins, create the auto number on a page in its own separate text block, then copy and “paste in place” on subsequent pages that can accommodate it. (Type: Insert Special Character: Markers: Current Page Number) If you use the master page option and need to remove the page number, choose the page in the page menu (F12) and hit CTRL Click to bring up the menu, and choose “override all master page items” to allow you to delete it on that page.

      1
  21. 1225

    Hi
    When I try to open a new In Design document on my G5 all I get is a very small section – about 1/2 ” square of the new document. Why am I not seeing the entire page?
    I would appreciate any help so I can get started.
    Thanks,
    Adál

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  22. 1276

    Hi there, I run a small digital print shop in New Zealand.

    So thought I would add my observations, we typically tell customers 300dpi will be adequate and it is – however files that come at 600dpi print better – true most people don’t bother but the higher quality is available straight off our production laser.

    Whenever we create image heavy files inhouse we do so at 600dpi – the photos print noticably better.

    Secondly in regards to RGB/ CMYK when to convert – if you convert to CMYK early you narrow the colour space which makes it easier to predict the output colour. However if images are left in RGB in the PDF then our RIP processes the to CMYK these images/colours are often brighter & cleaner than their CMYK cousins – as the RIP (set up for this printer) is better at the conversion than a Photoshop conversion for ‘a’ printer.

    So for brighter colours and higher quality images 600dpi with files ‘unconverted’ – but 300dpi CMYK files will be fine.

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  23. 1327

    This is great but doesn’t answer one question I can’t seem to find the answer to. Is it possible to view my InDesign file with no guidelines, etc. without exporting it to pdf? The lines distract me when trying to get a full-on view.
    Thanks.

    0
    • 1378

      Meredith, is this what you’re looking for:
      (from the article)

      Toggle The Preview

      Instead of hiding all the guides, you can hit the W key (make sure the text tool isn’t active) to quickly toggle between the document view and the working (or “Normal”) view, which has all of the margins, guides and outlines. I frequently use it for composition checks, because guides tend to distract from the big picture.

      1
  24. 1429

    Whenever I open my Indesign, I cannot add any new pages. Under the Pages tool it won’t let me created master pages or any new pages at all…I really need help! I’ve tried resetting my Preferences and it wouldn’t let me do that either.

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  25. 1480

    Thank you for the lovely article! Some times its the most obvious things that get skipped when learning new stuff even when their the mot needed.

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  26. 1531

    i love indesign thanks for adding this article on.fb.me/YhgPC6

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  27. 1582

    I have never prepared a book cover before, and may never do so again, but would appreciate whatever good advice people may be able to offer me for the following process.

    I have a Photoshop *.psd file which contains on one layer the colourful artwork for the complete book cover (front, back, and spine). The file also contains about 15 other layers on which are all the (coloured) textual elements (the title, author, back-cover blurb, and so forth). The entire *.psd file has been composed in RGB mode. No special colour profile was set up at the outset: I simply ensured I was in RGB mode in order to have access to the many more tools available in Photoshop when in RGB mode, as opposed to the fewer tools available when working in CMYK.

    And it is only now that I have discovered that the printer requires that when this file is converted into a PDF it is must be in CMYK mode. And I now see from many of the above comments that it would have been best to compose the cover in CMYK from the outset. However, that’s not been the case.

    So how can I get the best possible conversion to CMYK?

    For example, will it lessen “the damage” if while in RGB mode I merge the 16 layers one-by-one, and save after each, before converting to CMYK, (and then producing the PDF)?

    Someone who is familiar with the printer I will be using (LSI), has advised that I should simply make a PDF from the RGB *.psd file and leave it to “the technical people” at LSI to convert it to CMYK. But that seems to me to be handing over control regarding aesthetic judgements, and I might regret it.

    All advice will be much appreciated.

    Thank you.

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  28. 1633

    Thanks Lisa – what a great article! It says a lot when comments are still coming in 2 years later ;o)

    I think both seasoned ID users and newbies will benefit from reading the comments also, they add a lot to the discussion. The different views and strength of argument show that there is often more the one way to do something. I’ve worked with ID for 5 years now, and am still coming across little time saving tips, usually in palettes which I just got blind to, never realised what they were or did.

    FWIW, I think 300ppi is a good rule of thumb for a newbie. That said, I think I’m going to begin talking to the printer more!

    The RGB-convert-at-the-end vs work-in-cmyk argument is a good one, I had a similar discussion with a colleague. For the sake of speed we opted to use The RGB route, but now I see that there’s room for both solutions, depending on the project. If colour’s critical, then work in cmyk seems a better route – like you say, better not to have a conversion surprise right at the end of a project when the deadline is pressing.

    Thanks again for starting this – long may the discussions continue!

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  29. 1684

    Thank you so very much!
    I had the hardest time trying to figure out a way to individually adjust the automated page numbers generated in my master pages. Command, shift , click on page number . . . thanks for sharing.

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  30. 1735

    Great article for beginners like me!
    I still have a question: when I try to copy a .doc several pages long using the option “File–>Place” it only copies the first page. The same happens if I select several pages and do a normal “copy/paste”. Is there a way to copy several pages from Word to several pages on InDesign other than doing it one by one? Thanks!

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  31. 1786

    Eliana really you are so helpful! I am making the transition from PageMaker (as a hobby – I am retired) and your explanations are so very helpful.

    I have a question (maybe stupid – old brain) every time i try to change the colour of text it goes to a gradient with three colours. I cannot seem to find how to overcome this problem. I know it could be in swatches but how?

    Thanks a million and you really are great – just like your picture

    sincerely Gwyn (in Bangkok)

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  32. 1837

    thanks for the article, useful.

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  33. 1888

    I have a 500 page catalouge in PDF –I want to place a frame or over lay on this catalouge with more information logo & a little more.

    I am flat out busy with sales 7 marketing & I would love to find someone who would do this for me without being greedy,

    Alternatively as Im computer & photo shop savvy I could do it myself

    In this case what is the best program to purchase to allow me do these PDF overlays

    I would be grateful for any advise as I dont believe in reinventing the wheel

    Michael

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    • 1939

      Hi Michael,
      I’d be happy to give you a hand updating your catalouge.
      PDF pages can be placed into a new InDesign document, and the new elements added to a master page so as to appear on all or most pages. Then the whole thing can be re-outputted to PDF. I currently manage catalouges for a large musical instrument wholesaler and am not greedy on price – happy to meet your requirements.
      best regards,
      Toby

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  34. 1990

    Does anyone know how to use InDesign CS6 to format different types of copy in a single book? I need to visually separate my narrative from emails using both typeface and a change in margins. Do I need to create a separate text book for emails with a narrower margin or do I continue on in the same text box as my narrative?

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