Unlike Microsoft Word, Adobe InDesign has a large, non-printing workspace upon which you may place elements that are not yet ready for use, called the "pasteboard." This name comes from when graphic artists used an actual pasteboard to lay out elements on paper. The only area that will print is surrounded by blue/red lines, which indicate the margins that were set in the Document Setup dialog box.
Another highly useful feature of InDesign are "guidelines," which can be pulled out of both the top and side rulers to assist you in lining up elements exactly. Guidelines are bright teal in color, and can be removed by clicking on them and dragging them back into the rulers.
Navigating The Workspace
The pasteboard is large, especially for those who have lower-resolution monitors. At times, it is possible to lose track of where your work is after, for example, bumping a scroll bar.
The Hand tool is the fastest and easiest way of navigating the pasteboard. Do the following to access the tool, and then drag the tool to move to thhe part of the page or the pasteboard that you want to view.:
- Press the spacebar on your keyboard.
- Select the Hand tool in the toolbox.
You can also use the scroll bars to the right and bottom when navigating large distances.
The zoom tools can also be helpful when hopelessly lost. To zoom in and out quickly, use the key combination (+ or -) (Windows) or (+ or -) (Mac OS). You can also use the Zoom tool, and hold down the (Windows), (Mac OS) key to zoom in and out.
The most important part of learning a program is to become comfortable with the tools that help you move through the program with ease. InDesign's tools are located in a toolbox, divided into four sections, each with tools that are related to each other. The Control palette, usually located at the bottom of the screen, holds the extra controls associated with each tool.
- Selecting: Selecting is done with the Selection tool in the top left of the toolbox.
- Inserting Text: Text is laid down with the Text tool near the top right of the toolbox . This tool is also used to select pre-existing text to alter its properties. Single-click in your document to insert a cursor, double-click to select a word, and triple-click to select a paragraph.
- Rotating: Rotating an object is done with the Rotate tool . When the Rotate tool is selected, an input box in the control palette can be used to enter in a specific degree value.
- Cropping: Cropping is done with the Crop tool .
- Drawing Constrained Lines: Use the Line tool to draw straight vertical or horizontal lines.
- Drawing Shapes: Draw squares, circles, and polygons with the Shapes drawing tool.
- Inserting Placeholders: Use the Frame tools to set placeholders for images .
- Navigating: The Hand tool allows quick navigation of the document by clicking and dragging across the pasteboard.
- Zooming: Use the Zoom tool to zoom in and out.
Now we will take a tour of InDesign's palettes. First, to the upper right, are the Colors, Styles, Master Pages, Layers, and Hyperlinks palettes. All palettes have an "arrow menu" button , which provides access to further dialogs and tools associated with that palette. All of InDesign's palettes should show up when you first open InDesign, although that may change depending on the settings determined by the program, the computer's administrator, or the person who last used the program. For our purposes, close the Layers and Hyperlinks palettes.
First off, we will simplify the desktop so as to make learning a complex program easier. All Abobe programs have the option of mixing folder tabs of palettes together into one or more floating palettes on the workspace. The most used palettes are Styles, Colors, and Master Pages, so let's merge them together.
To combine palettes, click on the palette's tab and hold the mouse button down while dragging the tab into the desired existing palette, or out of a palette to create a new one. Close remaining palettes so that only one palette is showing at a time.
Move the toolbox to the left side of the screen, and the Control palette to the bottom of the screen. Be sure that you have most of the central monitor space clear.
The Stroke, Color, Gradient, and Transparency Palettes
- The Stroke palette provides control over the appearance of the edge, or stroke, of selected paths or text characters.
- The Color palette is where colors may be made and applied to objects. To create or edit a new color, use the upper right-hand Color menu to select New Color or select a color and use Color Options... to edit it. In the upper left-hand corner, the Line, Box, and Lined Box buttons allow you to apply a selected color as a line around a shape, as a fill color for a shape, or as both the line and fill of a shape. You may also colorize text by selecting the text with the Text tool and clicking on the desired color in the Color palette.
- Although the Swatches palette is the recommended palette for creating and storing gradients, you can also work with gradients by using the Gradient palette, with which you may be familiar if you also use Adobe Illustrator. You can add the current gradient to the Swatches palette at any time, but the Gradient palette is useful for creating an unnamed gradient that won't be used again.
- In InDesign, you can add transparency to your document in a variety of ways using the controls in the Transparency palette. You can vary the degree of transparency of an object, or a group of objects, from 100% opacity (completely solid) to 0% opacity (completely transparent). When you decrease an object's opacity, the underlying objects become visible through the surface of the object.
The Paragraph Styles, Character, Styles, and Swatches Palettes
A character style is a collection of character formatting attributes that can be applied to a selected range of text. A paragraph style includes both character and paragraph formatting attributes, and can be applied to a selected paragraph or range of paragraphs.
In general, change Styles feature settings in the Styles dialog box, and then save the settings. Styles are stored in the document in which they are created.
Styles can save time when you apply and revise text formatting, and they give your documents a consistent look. When you change the formatting of a style, all text to which the style has been applied will be updated with the new format.
The Styles palette is one of the most important parts of InDesign. They're particularly handy when dealing with a multiple page document, because if you decide to change one element of your body text, headings, or captions, you can apply the change to the entire document without having to manually redo each one.
To change the preset styles, click the upper right-hand arrow menu to reveal the Style Options... menu. You will notice the style attributes listed below the drop-down menus, and four buttons named Char, Para, Tabs and Hyph for Character, Paragraph, Tab, and Hyphenation settings. Character settings include font family, font style (bold, italic, etc.), color, leading, kerning, and tracking, as well as other special type settings. Paragraph settings change indents, spacing, and alignment. Tab settings set tab markers similar to Microsoft Word's, and Hyphenation settings control hyphenation manually (or turn it off completely).
It is important to name your styles appropriately, as you'll be using them often throughout a large document. It helps to have a hierarchy plan written out beforehand, especially if your project is book-sized. Determine your heading steps (i.e., H1 = 24 point font, H2 = 18 point font, etc.) and paragraph preferences before creating your document, if possible.
You can control all document colors and gradients in the Swatches palette alone. Use it to create, name, and store colors and gradients for instant access. When the fill or stroke of selected text or an object contains a color or gradient applied from the Swatches palette, the applied "swatch" is highlighted in the palette. Six CMYK-defined colors appear in the default Swatches palette: cyan, magenta, yellow, red, green, and blue.
The Pages, Layers, and Navigator Palettes
The Pages palette provides information about, and control over, pages, spreads (sets of pages seen together), and masters (pages or spreads that automatically format other pages or spreads).
Master pages are templates for the main document. Anything in the master pages will automatically show up in the body pages of the document. Sometimes it is helpful to have more than one master page. For example, one section of your document may lend well to three columns, while another section looks better with two. Creating master pages to apply to specific body pages later saves a lot of time. To create a new master page, go to the click the upper right-hand arrow menu on the Pages palette and choose New Master Page. One of the best reasons to use master pages is for page numbering. Create a text box on the master page to insert page numbers. Then choose Type > Insert Special Character > Auto Page Number. Alternately, you can right-click on the text box and access the special characters that way. They will appear as the letter of the master page (A or B, for example), but will show the page number in the body of the document.
Layers in InDesign are similar to those in Photoshop. You may use the Layers palette to hide elements that may not need to be seen at certain times, such as type in a different language, but which need to be called up quickly when needed.
- The Navigator palette contains a thumbnail of the selected spread that you can use to quickly change the view of a document.
The Transform, Character, and Paragraph Palettes
In InDesign CS2, options for both Character and Paragraph are displaed in the toolbar directly underneat the file menus.
The transform, character and paragraph Palettes can be accessed by going to the Type file menu and choosing either Character or Paragraph.
Use the Transform palette to view or specify geometric information for any selected object, including values for position, size, rotation, and shearing. Controls in the Transform palette menu provide additional options and quick ways to rotate or reflect.
Use the Character palette to control basic options for formatting individual characters in your documents. Values you enter are precise to 0.001 of a point.
Use the Paragraph palette for attributes that apply to an entire paragraph.
To apply any kind of paragraph formatting, you don't need to select an entire paragraph—selecting any word or character, or placing the insertion point within a paragraph will do.