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…]
This is a test introduction to the Typesetting archive, where you'll find links to all the information about typesetting on the Book Design Made Simple website, book, videos, and blog.
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…]
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…]
Some InDesign functions have names that you would never be able to guess, and that makes them really tough to discover and learn. One of these is Optical Margin Alignment (I’m calling it OMA), which is InDesign’s formal name for hanging punctuation. I used to see this effect in other people’s work and then try to imitate it, but I couldn’t because I had no idea what it was called. So this article explains what it is and how to do it. [Read more…]
Ask any book designer about their collection of reference books and you’ll get a long list of the usual suspects: books about design, typography, layout, and grids; dictionaries and style guides; software manuals; and lots of books and magazines kept for inspiration. But which books are indispensable to a book designer?
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.
In early November, we all woke up to find Adobe Creative Cloud waiting to be updated. What—again? Well, it turns out that this update, CC 2017, does provide some InDesign enhancements that might help you work more effectively and improve your design. We’ll discuss the significant ones here. [Read more…]
There are lots of features you can add to your tables in InDesign to make them more appealing and easier to follow for your readers. Three of the most useful features are explained below: (1) creating two header rows that repeat at the top of every page of a multi-page table; (2) adding images to your table; and (3) aligning columns of numbers.
Recently we’ve been asked how to import an Excel spreadsheet into InDesign. In Book Design Made Simple we walk you through importing tables from Word, but importing a spreadsheet from Excel is a bit different so we’ll walk you through it here. And, because spreadsheets and tables rarely import into InDesign looking like they did in Excel and Word, we’ll give you a few tips on the easiest way to get started. [Read more…]
Have you ever tried to typeset any kind of math and driven yourself almost mad? And have you ended up setting each part of the equation in a different type frame, then piecing it all together and grouping it? I confess that I have done both. But with a little perseverance I figured out a way to do it properly in InDesign, and I’m hoping that this article will prevent you from suffering as long and as hard as I did. [Read more…]