Working on my first InDesign interior book layout job. Still wondering why Adobe makes their software quite so complex. I know that the idea may be to provide a rich palette of tools and options, but for a beginner, it’s always a bit intimidating. I’ve worked with Photoshop a little before, so I know that Adobe loves “tools” and “layers,” which they apply to all their software. I think part of the difficulty is just that we get so used to the flatter, simpler systems in Microsoft’s document management software that it’s really like going from amateur to pro with Adobe. On the other hand, Microsoft’s Office software has great power, but most folks don’t even begin to scratch the surface with most of their programs.
Word, though, is not a great document layout program. The thing I’m having to get used to in InDesign, like I did with FrameMaker, is the concept of design first, content later. With Word, you can write in whatever font and with whatever default layout exists, and then add styles or whatever later (although you can only do so much with it). Now I have to make sure I set up the look and feel of my book ahead of time, and pour the content in after (which I’ve done several times already in my misguided attempts to work around the text). Patience!
Lightbulb moments, though, include searching for tutorials on questions I’ve had and finding lots of good basic info right at Adobe. I like following instructions (that’s always how I built LEGO sets—not into freestyle), so a checklist of steps appeals to me. Sometimes I know I should go find a video lesson, but I do figure out from text steps in my own way.
Master pages! I discovered master pages! It’s like PowerPoint presentations. Now I get it. Your template is your master page; set that up the way you want, add pages, then fill them with imported or typed-in text. Great. Patience. Design the master pages first. Do you know how hard it is to wait to design the master pages and then put the content into see what it looks like? ;(
But, it’s a good thing, master pages. I’ve now gotten the basic text of my client’s book flowing properly through the text frames (yes, there are frames for different document parts; it’s not already set up like in Word). And I have running headers and footers! Yay! Next, I need to make special master page for the “sidebar” inserts for the little narratives from my client’s children that end each chapter of this travel book. Onward!
This Week’s Favs
I am indebted to Adobe for their little step procedures for all their software’s processes and features. The one on master pages is here.
I’ve been enjoying Louise Harnby’s Proofreader’s Parlour blog. Always great info located here.