InDesign for Beginners

by Elizabeth Smith

Adobe InDesign is a robust desktop publishing program. Part of Adobe's Creative Suite, InDesign is intended specifically for document layout. Whether you are working with single-page flyers or full-length books, InDesign makes it easy to include both text and images. Before you begin working with InDesign, it is important to have an idea of how the program works and how it can make your publishing projects easier.

Working With Text

InDesign is engineered specifically for documents with large amounts of text. It comes with tools that enable you to link text boxes between pages, so the paragraph flow adjusts automatically when you make changes to one area of the document. The program also includes sophisticated text formatting tools that enable you to create different styles for various areas of a document. Styles can be applied to small or large text blocks, so you can ensure that your document is consistently formatted.

Design Features

InDesign is well suited to long documents and documents that use several specific design templates. With the program's Master Pages feature, you can create different templates and apply them to each page. In a book, you might use individual masters for the chapter headers, content pages and index pages. That way, when you need to adjust the font of all chapter titles throughout a book, you can make one change to the title master and apply it to the entire document.

Working With Images

InDesign enables you to import a wide range of image formats, from PDF files to layered Photoshop files. When you place an image in an InDesign document, you can link it to the original file. That way, when you edit the image file in its source program, it will automatically update in your InDesign document.

Preparing Documents

The easiest way to create powerful, successful documents in InDesign is to prepare documents up front. Create masters, paragraph styles, and character styles, and apply them to each page as you add it. That way, it will be easy to make changes down the road. Although InDesign requires more work up front than traditional desktop publishers, it can save you a considerable amount of hassle when editing the document in the future.

Export Formats

InDesign comes with a wide range of export formats. Each time you export an InDesign file, you can select from options that include high-quality print, low-resolution PDF, e-publishing, Dreamweaver files, or text. The program also enables you to include printers' marks, which is handy for professional books and magazines.

Photo Credits

  • George Doyle/Stockbyte/Getty Images