Back when Fiona started Book Design Made Simple, she decided that writing in InDesign would be easiest. (After all, it was her native habitat.) And now one of our readers has admitted to doing the same. So we thought we’d explore the various reasons why anyone would want to write in a layout program. For us it worked perfectly. How about you? [Read more…]
Get started with Part I of Book Design Made Simple, where you’ll learn how to lease and install Adobe InDesign, create a document, and import your manuscript from Word. Download Part I for free by subscribing to our blog—simply use the form below.
Excerpts from Book Design Made Simple
- Word vs InDesign: good reasons to switch
- Hyphenation and justification: make your text look fabulous
- Baseline grid: align your text and images consistently
- Stroke panel: creating lines, arrows, and more
- Layers: how to use them with text and shapes
- Object styles: how and why to use them
- Color gradients: tips for best results
- New updates to CC2017
- Basics: navigating, selecting, and layers
- Layout and typesetting tricks
- Styles and organization
- Inserting images into shapes
- Drawing shapes and using color
- Effects: transparency, shadows, etc.
Below are all the blog posts in the InDesign category, starting with the most recent post.
Book typesetting and layout tips are usually about the small stuff—fixing awkward hyphenation, using special characters for symbols, and so on—but most of the questions we get are about the BIG issues. How can I balance the number of text lines on facing pages? What if the last page of my chapter only has two lines? If my chapter has to end on a right-hand page, can I leave it blank? These issues arise all the time during book typesetting. We’ll explain the best ways to resolve them. [Read more…]
Combining serif and sans serif fonts successfully can be a challenge, but it’s much easier once you know a few simple rules. It’s worth learning, as combining two fonts can really make your book design look professional. So don’t be daunted by the thousands of fonts available! The font-combining basics explained here will help to get you going quickly and easily. [Read more…]
You can save a lot of time using InDesign keyboard shortcuts. Many users find that they work faster on their keyboard than with their mouse or trackpad. Does that sound like you? Read on to learn how to use this very handy function for applying styles in InDesign. [Read more…]
If you’re importing a Word index into InDesign, chances are good that the index will import just fine. But what if you get the dreaded “index entries contain invalid characters” error? This happened to one of our readers recently. It’s a tricky issue to resolve since InDesign doesn’t specify which characters are invalid. With a Word index containing hundreds (or thousands!) of entries, how can you find the specific characters causing the issue? [Read more…]
What the heck is a text variable, anyway? It’s copy that you can add anywhere in your document—but it varies depending on the context. For instance, you could set up your document to automatically insert the current date in a header. Or if you need to send readers to the last page, a text variable will automatically update the page number reference if you add or delete pages later.
Now think how useful text variables could be as navigational tools (i.e., running heads) in a nonfiction book. They can make the current chapter number and chapter title appear—presto!—on verso pages and the most recent internal heading appear on recto pages. And that’s exactly what I’m going to demonstrate in this article. Adobe’s official user guide instructions on the topic of text variables are a bit sketchy, so I’ve developed a detailed lesson for you. [Read more…]
The InDesign Book feature provides a great way to combine smaller InDesign files into one larger Book file. It’s easy to use, and you’ll find our step-by-step guide to using the Book feature here. But, after using the InDesign Book feature for Book Design Made Simple and numerous other book projects, we’ve discovered that it’s not perfect—so forewarned is forearmed! [Read more…]
Adobe’s 2018 update for InDesign includes a great new feature for book designers—live InDesign endnotes. Until now, footnotes and endnotes could be imported from Word to InDesign, but only footnotes continued to be live and linked, allowing us to insert and delete them without messing up the numbering system. Now we have the same flexibility with endnotes! [Read more…]
If your book has footnotes, you’re probably using automatic InDesign footnotes in your layout. And that’s great! But what if you compiled your footnotes in a separate Word document or didn’t use the automatic footnote feature in Word or InDesign?
Before Word and InDesign added their automatic footnote features, and well before Fiona and I met each other, we both invented a way—interestingly, the same way—to lay out InDesign footnotes manually for print books. In this blog post, I’ll explain the layout method that we both used—it still works perfectly.
My chair creaks. Start over. I sneeze. Start over. The phone rings. Move it out of the room and start over. “Ummm.” Start over. Someone comes in the room and rustles around. Start over. If I had a dog it would definitely be barking about now. Start over, start over, start over!
Such are the interruptions when I sit down to make a five-minute video about using InDesign. [Read more…]