My Ultimate Guide to Adobe InDesign

It’s no secret I love InDesign! If you’ve seen my website or follow any of my social media pages, you can probably see that.

Design is not just what it looks and feels like. Design is how it works. ~ Steve Jobs

You’re either reading this blog post because you’re a designer and an avid Adobe user who is looking for some new tips n’ tricks OR you’re a newbie wanting to learn the latest and greatest of, what I deem, literally the best layout/design program there is out there.

This industry-standard publishing application lets you design and publish high-quality documents across a full spectrum of digital and print media. It can be used to create works such as posters, flyers, brochures, magazines, newspapers, presentations, books and eBooks. InDesign can also publish content suitable for tablet devices in conjunction with Adobe Digital Publishing Suite. 

So, what do you need to know that you may not already?

Let me show you …

  1. Flowing Text Boxes:
    This first trick is my secret weapon and an absolute favourite! If the amount of text in the text box is greater than the size of the box itself (also known as “overflow”), a tiny red plus sign will appear in the bottom right corner of your text box. If you want your text to overflow into a new text box, perhaps on a different page, click the plus sign, then start drawing a new text box and your text will automatically spill into the new box you just created. If you’re an InDesign pro, that trick is probably not that new to you, but here is truly my favourite part … If you have a bunch of pages, simply hold the Shift and click once in the top left corner of your margins and a new box will appear on that page AND every single other page after that to the exact size of your margins until you have no more text left. Now this trick it truly a life saver!

  2. Eyedropper Colour Theme:
    This tool, the eyedropper, is found in all Adobe programs, but InDesign has an extra special feature which lets you select an entire colour palette rather than a single colour. This can be helpful if you are having a hard time picking our colour to use but have a specific image you’ve been drawing inspiration from. All you need to do is select the colour theme tool from the eyedropper icon in the toolbar then click anywhere on your document. The tool with automatically recognize other nearby colours and will create a new palette of 5 colour choices for you. One word …. BONUS!

  3. Custom Corner Options:
    This tool has been a staple in my design life. What I’m about to share with you is truly a great way to quickly edit the corners of any shape you create. You get the option to create beveled edges, rounded corners and a handful of other fun options with just a few simple clicks. To make this happen all you need to do is make sure your object is selected then open Objects > Corner Options. Click the Preview checkmark to see live changes while you create custom corner options on your shape.

  4. Linked File Placement:
    This tip is great if you want to implement outside files (such as images) to your InDesign layout while keeping the file independent. To insert a file into your layout with just one simple click, use the shortcut command (my favourite – love keyboard shortcuts) Command + D. This will open a file explorer window where you will be able to find the file on your computer. Once you’ve found your file, click Open then click anywhere on your artboard and it will drop the image onto your page. This truly makes editing and updating your layout quick and easy with no fuse. Plus, it keeps your file size down by keeping the file independent. Double bonus!

  5. Character/Paragraph Go Between:
    Another handy trick when you’re working quickly is the ability to toggle between Character and Paragraph formatting controls (both located in the Control panel of InDesign). All you need to do is press Ctrl + Alt + 7 on your keyboard and you’ll be able to easily toggle between both and save yourself a ton of time.

  6. Copying Object Effects:
    Let’s say you just spend a whack of time creating the perfect effect on an object then decided you want that exact same effect on a different object. If this is just a one-time thing then I would suggest the easy way. Which is selecting the object you want to copy, then open the Effects panel (Window > Effects) and click-and-drag the Object effects icon onto your new object. Release your mouse cursor and both of your objects will now have the exact same effect. Yay! However, if you want the same effect on multiple objects (or feel you might later) then my second tip would be to create and “Object Style” (Window > Object Style).

  7. Automatic Page Numbering:
    This is a truly handy feature, especially if your document has a ginormous number of pages. You can easily ad this into your master page, so the page number appears in the exact same place on every page in your document. Wow, right?! Huge time saver as opposed to manually placing – by eye or ruler – each individual page number. Especially if you’re working on a novel or eBook which tend to have more then 80+ pages. To add this in, have your text cursor ready in the place you want your page number to appear on the master page. Then go to Type > Insert Special Character > Markers > Current Page Number. Since your master pages aren’t part of your actual document, the page number shows up there as a placeholder. To see it live, click over to your actual live document pages and you’ll see the page numbers populated throughout your entire document. Yay!

There are a ton of great tools available in InDesign. This is just the tip of the iceberg really. So, if you are looking to find out more about what Adobe InDesign can really do beyond what I’ve shared today, here? Well, I can tell you that InDesign is always getting better with a ton of new features rolling out on a regular basis. Here are some of the latest updates/features.

InDesign is always getting better with a ton of new features rolling out on a regular basis. Which makes our jobs way easier by having the tools we need at our finger tips at all times.

Are you more of a tutorial-based learner?

Then dive right in to Adobe’s step-by-step tutorials and get inspired by their creative community.
If you’re experienced or beginners, you’ll learn the basics with their tutorials that are designed to inspire!

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Crystal Kordalchuk

Crystal Kordalchuk

Crystal is an artist, a writer, an organizer, a dreamer, a doer, and down-right proud of it NERD!.

Struck with a love for #AllThings creative at a very young age, Crystal dreamed of a life fueled by her passion for creating and bringing the stories and images in her mind into reality.

As she worked toward her dreams, she earned a diploma as a Computer Applications Specialist then another in Graphic Design and from there began to develop her extensive background in multimedia and the arts. She began her worked in the magazine industry as a layout designer and had a succession of design jobs thereafter. It was her role as a graphic/web designer that gave her the first real glimpse of her future. Soon she began a side job as a freelance designer while keeping one foot in the corporate world. A spark was lit! She turned her freelance gig into a full-time business combining design work with her other passion: creating organization from virtual chaos.

Crystal is one of the most organized individuals on the planet. She is by all means a Zen master of her crafts. She excels at helping others become “untangled” and provides her clients with tools to run their businesses smoothly while she takes care of the details behind the scenes. Thus Virtually Untangled was born. A successful business where her work as a top notch creative in graphic and web — with a twist of virtual assistant — married into one amazing place where clients can come with their virtual messes and become magically untangled. Crystal can always make sense of even the most unorganized chaos and offers a virtual detox of order and peace, so her clients can get busy doing the work that they love the most.

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