Adobe Certified Professional: What is on the InDesign exam?

Adobe Certified Professional: What is on the InDesign exam?

Adobe’s official exam guide for InDesign lists the exam objectives, including key terms, concepts, tools, and settings that you need to know to pass the Adobe Certified Professional in Print & Digital Media Publication Using Adobe InDesign exam. In this article, we provide definitions of the terms and explanations of the concepts, tools, and settings in an effort to help you prepare for and pass the Adobe InDesign certification exam.

Whether or not your goal is certification, if you’re interested in a InDesign class for yourself or for your team, check out our Introduction to InDesign Creative Cloud (CC) Training class.

Read on to learn what you need to know to pass the Adobe Certified Professional in Print & Digital Media Publication Using Adobe InDesign exam.

Working in the Design Industry

This objective covers critical concepts related to working with colleagues and clients as well as crucial legal, technical, and design-related knowledge.

  1. Identify the purpose, audience, and audience needs for preparing publications.
    1. Determine whether content is relevant to the purpose, audience, audience needs, user experience, and has an appropriate design for target devices.
      1. Key Terms
        1. client goals – What are the goals of your client? Why are they having you create this document?
        2. target audience – The group or groups of people that you hope to have read your document.
        3. demographics – The target audience can be defined in demographic terms (e.g., by age, gender, religion, geographic location, political affiliation, etc.).
        4. accessibility – You should understand that you and your client may be legally obligated to make your documents accessible to people with various disabilities.
    2. Identify requirements based on how the design will be used, including print, web, and mobile.
  2. Communicate with colleagues and clients about design plans.
    1. Demonstrate knowledge of techniques for communicating about design plans with peers and clients.
      1. Key Terms
        1. sketches
        2. specifications
        3. design process
        4. wireframes
        5. prototypes
        6. iterations
        7. change orders
        8. drafts
        9. feedback loop
        10. creative brief
    2. Demonstrate knowledge of basic project management concepts
      1. Key Terms
        1. project scope
        2. scope creep
        3. cloud utilization and file management
  3. Determine the type of copyright, permissions, and licensing required to use specific content.
    1. Identify legal and ethical considerations for using third-party content, such as copyright, permissions, and licensing.
      1. Key Concepts
        1. Creative Commons
        2. public domain
        3. intellectual property
        4. derivative work
        5. commercial use
        6. attribution
        7. work for hire
        8. fair use
        9. fair dealing
        10. stock images and vector graphics
    2. Identify when and how to obtain permission to use images of people and locations.
      1. Key Terms
        1. model release
        2. location release
      2. Key Concepts
        1. Permission to use a photo is separate from permission to use a person’s face or restricted location.
  4. Demonstrate an understanding of key terminology related to publications.
    1. Demonstrate knowledge of digital image terminology.
      1. Key Terms
        1. image resolution
        2. image size
        3. file types
        4. linking and embedding
        5. pixel
        6. raster
        7. bitmap
        8. vector
        9. path
        10. object
        11. type
        12. resizing
        13. units of measurement (picas, inches, pixels, centimeters)
    2. Demonstrate knowledge of how color is created in publications.
      1. Key Terms
        1. color management
        2. gamut
        3. CMYK vs. RGB vs. grayscale
    3. Understand and use key terms related to multi-page layouts.
      1. Key Terms
        1. title
        2. header
        3. body text
        4. block quote
        5. footer
        6. caption
        7. table of contents
        8. index
        9. page size
        10. page orientation
        11. facing pages
        12. spread
        13. bleed
        14. trim
        15. slug
        16. master/parent page – In InDesign 2022 - master pages were renamed to parent pages. See Adobe’s reasons for doing so here.
        17. alternate page layout
        18. column
        19. gutter
        20. margin
        21. frame
  5. Demonstrate knowledge of basic design principles and best practices employed in the design industry.
    1. Define common graphic design and layout terms and principles.
      1. Key Terms
        1. rule of thirds
        2. foreground
        3. background
        4. tone
        5. emphasis
        6. movement
        7. hierarchy
        8. negative space
        9. grids
        10. focal point
        11. gestalt principles (similarity, continuation, closure, proximity, figure/ground, and symmetry & order)
    2. Communicate visually by using the elements and principles of design and common design techniques.
      1. Key Terms
        1. line
        2. shape
        3. form
        4. color
        5. texture
        6. contrast
        7. balance
        8. white space
        9. proportion
        10. rhythm
        11. pattern
        12. unity
        13. repetition
        14. alignment
        15. balance
        16. scale
    3. Identify and use common typographic adjustments to create contrast, hierarchy, and enhanced readability.
      1. Key Terms
        1. font
        2. size
        3. style
        4. color
        5. alignment
        6. kerning
        7. tracking
        8. leading
        9. horizontal and vertical scale
        10. line length
        11. serif vs. san serif

Project Setup and Interface

This objective covers the interface setup and program settings that assist in an efficient and effective workflow, as well as knowledge about ingesting digital assets for a project.

  1. Create a document with the appropriate settings for web, print, and mobile.
    1. Set appropriate document settings for printed and onscreen publications.
      1. Key Concepts
        1. width
        2. height
        3. margins
        4. columns
        5. orientation
        6. pages
        7. bleed
        8. slug
        9. Facing Pages
        10. Primary Text Frame
        11. column gutter
    2. Create a document preset to reuse for specific project needs.
  2. Navigate, organize, and customize the application workspace.
    1. Identify and manipulate elements of the InDesign interface.
      1. Key Concepts
        1. menus and panels (Control, Tools, etc.)
    2. Organize and customize the workspace.
      1. Key Concepts
        1. tabbed documents
        2. showing, hiding, nesting, and docking panels
        3. saving and resetting workspaces
    3. Configure application preferences.
      1. Key Concepts
        1. Display Performance
        2. Interface
        3. Grids
        4. Guides & Pasteboard
        5. Spelling
        6. Story Editor Display
        7. Units & Increments
  3. Use non-printing design tools in the interface to aid in design or workflow.
    1. Navigate a document.
      1. Key Concepts
        1. panning and scrolling
        2. zooming
        3. rotating pages
        4. pasteboard
    2. Use rulers.
      1. Key Concepts
        1. showing and hiding rulers
        2. changing the measurement unit on rulers
    3. Use guides and grids.
      1. Key Concepts
        1. adding, removing, and locking/unlocking guides
        2. setting color
        3. hiding guides and grids, showing grids, Smart Guides
        4. creating guide layouts, snapping, Document and Baseline Grids, etc.
    4. Use views and modes to work efficiently.
      1. Key Concepts
        1. changing screen mode
        2. Normal, Preview, Bleed, Slug, and Presentation
  4. Import assets into a project.
    1. Open and use templates.
    2. Place assets in an InDesign document.
    3. Use the Adobe Camera Raw interface to import images.
  5. Manage colors, swatches, and gradients.
    1. Set the active fill and stroke color.
      1. Key Concepts
        1. frame vs text
        2. swatches
        3. Color Picker
        4. Eyedropper tool
        5. color values
    2. Create and customize gradients.
      1. Key Concepts
        1. Gradient panel
        2. editing color and transparency stops
        3. radial and linear gradient
    3. Create, manage, and edit swatches and swatch libraries.
      1. Key Concepts
        1. color and gradient swatches
        2. identifying color swatch type, including Process and Spot
        3. creating, managing, and loading swatch libraries (including commercial libraries like Pantone)
  6. Manage paragraph, character, and object styles.
    1. Load, create, apply, and modify styles.

Organizing Documents

This objective covers document structure, such as layers, and managing document structure for efficient workflows.

  1. Use layers to manage design elements.
    1. Use the Layers panel to modify layers.
      1. Key Concepts
        1. adding, deleting, hiding/showing, locking/unlocking, duplicating, and renaming layers
        2. layer options
        3. understanding that layers are spread-based
    2. Manage and work with multiple layers in a complex project.
      1. Key Concepts
        1. layer color
        2. working with layers across spreads
        3. hierarchy and stacking order
        4. grouping, selecting, and targeting objects using the Layers panel
  2. Manage and modify pages.
    1. Create, edit, and arrange pages in a document.
      1. Key Concepts
        1. adding/deleting pages
        2. pages vs. spreads
        3. selecting pages
        4. rearranging pages
        5. shuffling pages or spreads
        6. page settings
        7. alternate layouts
        8. Page tool
    2. Create and apply master pages.
      1. Key Concepts
        1. Master options
        2. naming
        3. unlocking objects
        4. overriding

Creating and Modifying Document Elements

This objective covers core tools and functionality of the application, as well as tools that affect the visual appearance of document elements.

  1. Use core tools and features to lay out visual elements.
    1. Create frames using a variety of tools.
      1. Key Concepts
        1. understanding frame types (graphic, text, unassigned)
        2. creating frames using frame tools, Type tool, Pen tool, etc.
    2. Manipulate graphics in frames.
      1. Key Concepts
        1. placing graphics into documents or into existing frames
        2. using frames to affect visibility of the content
        3. Frame Fitting options
        4. Content-Aware Fit
  2. Add and manipulate text using appropriate typographic settings.
    1. Use type tools to add text.
      1. Key Tools
        1. text frames
        2. Type tool
        3. Type on a Path tool
    2. Use appropriate character settings in a design.
      1. Key Settings
        1. font
        2. size
        3. character style
        4. kerning
        5. tracking
        6. leading
        7. baseline shift
        8. horizontal and vertical scale
        9. color used to enhance readability and hierarchy
    3. Use appropriate paragraph settings in a design.
      1. Key Settings
        1. indentation
        2. alignment
        3. paragraph spacing
        4. hyphenation
        5. Drop Cap
        6. numbered and bulleted lists
        7. using and working effectively with paragraph styles
    4. Convert text to outlines.
      1. Key Concepts
        1. benefits/disadvantages
    5. Manage text flow across multiple text areas.
      1. Key Concepts
        1. managing overset text
        2. threading text
        3. text wrap
        4. primary text flow
        5. text columns
    6. Use tools to add special characters or content.
      1. Key Terms
        1. page numbers
        2. table of contents
        3. index markers and index
        4. break characters
        5. special characters
        6. glyphs
  3. Make, manage, and edit selections.
    1. Make selections using a variety of tools.
      1. Key Tools
        1. Selection tool vs Direct Selection tool
        2. page selection
        3. selecting frames vs content
        4. content grabber
    2. Modify and refine selections using various methods.
      1. Key Concepts
        1. keyboard modifiers
        2. selecting multiple objects with selection tools or in the Layers panel
        3. moving and grouping objects
        4. Selection tool vs Direct Selection tool
  4. Transform digital graphics and media within a publication.
    1. Modify frames and frame content.
      1. Key Terms
        1. frames
        2. content
        3. redefining frame types
        4. clipping paths
        5. content collector
      2. Key Concepts
        1. understanding the relationship between a frame and its content
        2. replacing frame content
        3. using frames to crop content or split text
        4. manipulating anchor points
    2. Rotate, flip, and transform individual frames or content.
      1. Key Concepts
        1. alignment
        2. distribution
        3. scaling
        4. shearing
        5. rotating
        6. transform panel
        7. registration point
  5. Use basic reconstructing and editing techniques to manipulate document content.
    1. Use various tools to revise and refine project content.
      1. Key Tools
        1. find/replace
        2. custom dictionaries
        3. dictionary language
        4. spell check
    2. Evaluate or adjust the appearance of objects, frames, or layers using various tools.
      1. Key Concepts
        1. fill and stroke
        2. opacity
        3. Pathfinder panel
    3. Use the Story Editor to edit text within a project.
      1. Key Concepts
        1. Story Editor interface
        2. editing with Story Editor
        3. troubleshooting/proofreading in Story Editor
  6. Modify the appearance of design elements by using effects and styles.
    1. Use effects to modify images or frames.
      1. Key Concepts
        1. applying premade object styles
        2. drop shadows
        3. feathers
        4. glow
    2. Create, edit, apply, and save object styles.
      1. Key Concepts
        1. creating, deleting, redefining, and managing object styles
        2. Break Link to Style
  7. Add interactive or dynamic content or media to a project.
    1. Add interactive elements and behaviors.
      1. Key Concepts
        1. navigation
        2. hyperlinks
        3. cross references
        4. buttons
        6. events
        7. page transitions
        8. animation
    2. Demonstrate knowledge of how to embed rich-media objects.
      1. Key Concepts
        1. creating, deleting, redefining, and managing object styles
        2. Break Link to Style
        3. video files
        4. Media panel
  8. Create and edit tables.
    1. Create a table to display data.
      1. Key Concepts
        1. adding or importing tabular data
        2. rows, columns, and cells
        3. graphic vs text cells, etc.
    2. Edit tables and cells.
      1. Key Concepts
        1. fill
        2. strokes/borders
        3. merging/splitting cells
        4. distributing cells
        5. converting text and table data
        6. table and cell options

Publishing Documents

This objective covers saving and exporting entire documents in multiple formats, or specific assets within the project.

  1. Prepare documents for publishing to web, print, and other digital devices.
    1. Check document for errors and project specifications.
      1. Key Concepts
        1. Preflight panel and process
        2. resolving preflight errors
        3. color space
        4. bleed
        5. resolution
        6. document size
        7. define profiles and preflight options
  2. Export or save documents to various file formats.
    1. Save in the native file format for InDesign (.indd).
      1. Key Concepts
        1. saving for compatibility with earlier versions of the software (.idml)
        2. saving copies
    2. Save or export in appropriate formats for print, screen or online.
      1. Key Concepts
        1. PDF
        2. EPUB
        3. HTML
        4. Publish Online
    3. Print proof copies before publishing.
      1. Key Concepts
        1. print settings
        2. printing pages vs. spreads
        3. printing thumbnails or tiles
    4. Package an InDesign project.
      1. Key Concepts
        1. font and image management
        2. packaging projects
        3. handling protected fonts (CJK)

That’s it!

It’s a lot, of course, but it’s what you need to know to pass the InDesign certification exam. Best of luck!

Written by Nat Dunn. Follow Nat on Twitter.