Adobe InDesign: Tips and Tricks
Any rectangular frame with unassigned content can be turned into a check box. There are also pre-formatted check boxes in the sample buttons and forms that come with Adobe InDesign.
If you made a mistake in your new document setup, you can easily change the margins and guides.
Paragraph Styles form the basis of many features in Adobe InDesign, and the Table of Contents function is no different. The Paragraph Styles to be included in the Table of Contents are selected, and then the content with those styles applied is pulled into the Table of Contents.
The Pathfinder Panel is used to modify shapes in various ways. The following four steps show how to make custom shapes with it in Adobe InDesign.
Fill colors in image frames will show through in areas where the image is transparent. This is often done with white logos and icons. Transparency can also be applied to the image without affecting the fill color.
A booklet means that both sides of each page are printed, and typically, there are two pages on each sheet of paper, as seen in saddle-stitch brochures, which are folded and stapled on the fold. An InDesign document needs to be paginated so that the front cover joins to the back cover, the inside front cover joins to the inside back cover, and so on. InDesign makes it very easy to do this when creating a mock-up of a booklet. The following six steps show you how.
Liquid Layout is used when creating Alternate Layouts, where one file contains multiple versions of each page at various sizes and orientation. The feature was originally developed to cut down the massive production time required for publishing to tablet devices. It can also be applied to any project where multiple sizes are needed: for instance, an ad that's placed in magazines and journals with different ad sizes.
Creating a pull quote is really just a matter of creating a text frame and applying a text wrap to it.
Special Characters are a wonderful feature of InDesign that can save time and add professional polish to the typography in a layout. Special Characters include commonly used characters, such as ® and ©, as well as lesser characters that can create all the difference in type treatment. In this example, I'll use Special Characters to stylize a quote.
Adobe InDesign's Find/Change function can be used not only for changing text content, but also for applying formatting to specific text content. In this example, small caps with a different text color will be applied to a company name that appears throughout the body of the text.
More often than not, when providing a file to a printer, it will be as a PDF. InDesign provides color-management tools when creating the PDF. It is always good practice to check with your print provider to verify their requirements.
The Polygon Tool is one of the most versatile of the InDesign shape tools. It can be used to create much more than six-sided polygons.
There are various kinds of text wraps that can be created with InDesign. Text can wrap around the bounding box of an object, which is always rectangular. The text wrap can also be set to follow the contour of a shape or silhouette. In many cases, the silhouette of a portion of an image is created in Photoshop using a Clipping Path or Alpha Channel. In this example, we'll look at turning on a Photoshop Clipping Path to use for the text wrap in InDesign.
The Object States Panel can create multiple versions, or states, of an object in a layout. With the addition of navigation buttons, an interactive slideshow can be produced.
Numbered lists are created using paragraph options and should then be saved as a Paragraph Style. The numbers can be stylized by creating an associated Character Style to be applied to the numbers.
Beyond creating common elements like page numbers on master pages, placeholders can be created on the masters for both text and images. In this example, we'll look at image placeholders.
Text variables are dynamic text content that can change with context. There are some standard text variables in InDesign that can be used for job-tracking, such as File Name and Modification Date. Custom variables can also be created by users. In this example, I'll create a variable based on a paragraph style to be used as a running footer.
Inserting an Excel table in Adobe InDesign is just like inserting any text file. Just follow these four steps.
The Primary Text Frame option in InDesign automatically creates one text frame on each page sized to match the margins. This option replaced the Master Text Frame option in the New Document setup in InDesign CS6. Primary text frames do not have to be overridden on document pages. They are particularly useful when placing long text documents because the pages necessary to contain the text will automatically be generated. There can only be one primary text frame per page.
Sometimes you may need to push a paragraph into the next linked text frame or the next column in the frame. Using paragraph returns can create extra work if the text is edited in the future, so InDesign provides a better alternative with frame breaks.
Adobe InDesign's Find/Change function is very versatile. In this example, we'll use Find/Change to change the stroke color on multiple image frames.
For many organizations, the layouts of various documents are similar, containing many common elements. If a new project is being started that will use the same page sizes, page numbering, etc., as a previous project, time can be saved by importing, or loading, those master pages into the new file.
Combo box form fields allow the form-filler to either type in an entry or select from a list.
InDesign styles are one of the biggest features for workflow efficiency. Using styles for text and objects allows nearly instantaneous global edits, thereby eliminating the tedium of going page by page through a document to change one common attribute.
The Glyphs Panel lets you access all the characters available in any given font without knowing the keystroke modifiers. You can also create custom glyph sets of favorites that are used repeatedly. In this example, I'll create a glyph set for alternate characters in the Adobe Caslon Pro font family.
Have you ever used an image with the body text wrapping around it that now needs a caption? The default is that text wraps apply to all text frames, but there are ways to control that.
Optical Margin Alignment creates hanging indents on letters like A, V, W, Y, and punctuation, so that the beginnings of lines in a text frame appear flush. It is one of the finer points of typography aesthetics. The following four steps show how to apply Optical Margin Alignment.
In Adobe InDesign, tables are always anchored objects within a text frame, and they can be anchored before or after regular body text. An anchored object is basically any kind of frame within a text frame, which means typography options like text alignment and paragraph spacing can be applied to the object. In many cases, it's easier to format the table first, then anchor it in the text frame where it belongs.
The Workspace refers to how the entire InDesign window is configured—the panels on the Panel Dock, the tools that are displayed on the top level of the Toolbar, etc. There are several preset workspaces built into InDesign that are geared for different kinds of projects, such as Digital Publishing. Customized workspaces can also be created by users.
One advantage to creating an Adobe InDesign Book from multiple project files is that one file can be used to harmonize Swatches, Paragraph Styles, and Master Pages throughout all the book files. To synchronize your book files, follow these four steps.
Using the Articles Panel is an easy way to define and order content in a layout when exporting to HTML or EPUB. Text, images, and graphics can all be defined as articles.
Master Pages are used for common graphic elements that will appear on multiple pages throughout the document, such as page numbers. By default, there is always an A-Master page which can be modified at will.
Multi-state objects can be created with any kind of frame, including text frames. In this example, captions will be added to a multi-state object slideshow.
Special characters, such as bullet symbols, or ®s and ©s, need to be used in dialog boxes on occasion. For instance, when using Find/Change, or when creating a nested paragraph style. In many cases, commonly used special characters will be listed in menus in the dialog boxes, but not always. The first example below shows where to access a commonly used special character in the Find/Change dialog box. The second example demonstrates how to use a special character as a marker when creating a nested style.
Clipping paths are silhouettes around portions of images. They can be used to mask out opaque white backgrounds, as well as create contours around portions of an image for text wraps to follow. Clipping paths are often created using Photoshop, but InDesign can do it too, when there is enough contrast between the image edges and the background.
Many workflows involve content that has been written in Microsoft Word for use in InDesign layouts. There are a lot of variables to think about, such as whether text frames have already been created for the content in the layout and how lengthy of a Word file it is. It's also helpful to know if the text has been formatted in Word using styles, and if so, whether you want to bring those styles into the InDesign file. I'll be walking through different scenarios in other tutorials, but for now, let's start with a basic example.
Just like Paragraph and Character Styles, Object Styles can greatly improve workflow by capturing commonly used attributes for frames. They can be used for text, image, and shape frames alike, and can also be loaded between various InDesign files.