In this week’s free InDesign Secrets episode, David Blatner offers a list of five Adobe InDesign features that, when added at the beginning of your InDesign project, will improve the long-term efficiency, organization, and collaborative potential of your project. Although some documents (shopping lists, quick flyers) may not need all five of these features, their addition is critical for efficiently working on professional documents such as books, magazines, and brochures in InDesign.
In the video, David gives you a quick overview of his five suggested features, and why each has the potential to make your InDesign workflow easier. Since several courses in the lynda.com library also provide more information on how to use these features, I’ve also provided links to related content as applicable throughout the text below.
Ever inadvertently move a background image on your page when you’re trying to resize a text frame? By keeping each type of element on a different layer, you stay organized and keep everything in its right place. For more on creating and using InDesign layers, check out Chapter 10 of David’s InDesign CS6 Essential Training course. (David’s layer discussion is in Chapter 10 of his CS5 version of the course as well.)
2. Paragraph styles
Sometimes it’s tempting to intentionally avoid the creation of paragraph styles and simply let everything in your document default to the Basic Paragraph style. But if you give yourself actual working, aptly named styles, you can not only save yourself manual labor each time you want to apply the same set of formatting options, but you also have a handy mechanism for changing those options all at once if you change your mind. Alter the style, and every instance where that style is applied will update automatically. You can learn more about creating, applying, and benefiting from paragraph styles in the first four chapters of our InDesign Styles in Depth course with Michael Murphy.
3. Character styles
Creating a character-level style that you can apply and reapply (as well as update) is particularly helpful for character-level treatments like bold and italic. As with paragraph styles, this feature is covered extensively in InDesign Styles in Depth.
4. Object styles
Crafting an object style not only lets you apply strokes, insets, and other settings to graphic and text frames, it also means you can set default text or graphic frame features that are automatically applied every time you create such an object. To learn more about character styles, check out chapter five of InDesign Styles in Depth for an entire hour dedicated to creating and employing object styles.
5. Master pages
For those elements and features you want to apply to every page in your document (or just recurring types of specialty pages, like a chapter opener), master pages are very useful. If you’re interested in more information on how to use master pages, check out our Using InDesign master pages Featured Five blog collection for five free Master page tutorials.
For members of lynda.com, there’s also an exclusive InDesign Secrets movie this week from David’s partner in InDesign secrecy, Anne-Marie Concepción, called Forcing EPUB page breaks with invisible objects.